Happening Week – Storing Heat, AI Face Blurring, Revived Arcade – Oh My!

After a lot of clean up, the space is ready to see some actions. And we did just this past week! Iulian Arcus, our member who just moved from the UK, gave a very interesting talk on storing energy using heat batteries. Our friends at Open Source HK gave a talk on computer vision using SoC computers – Rasperry Pi 5 & Nvidia Jetson. And we managed to get the arcade machine going too!

Heat Battries

Did you know other than lithium-ion batteries, we can store energy from the sun as heat in sand? Iulian shared what he learned on this topic adapted to the Hong Kong climate on Tuesday June 18th, our regular Hackjam night. Store energy from the sun in sand, instead of a Tesla Megapack in a Hong Kong village house!

The most interesting thing he introduced and had us thinking about long after is the concept of phase change materials (PCM). Since it takes a lot of energy for a material to change phase – from solid (ice) to liquid (water), for example, we can use it to keep warm or cool, reducing energy loss say in buildings. For humans, water is not the right temperature because of its freezing point – 0C. Coconut oil is more suitable, at 25C. A YouTuber also had the same idea. Sounds like something we can hack on in the space! We need it – as we only have one A/C unit left after the building renovation, and these days Hong Kong is HOT.

Hackjam Arcade

After the talk, folks stuck around to hang out, this being Hackjam night. We even got the arcade machine working and had a few intense sessions.

Computer Vision

Calvin Tsang from Open Source HK hosted their monthly meetup in Dim Sum Labs on Thursday June 20th to a full house – which we haven’t had for a while (top image). We even had guests all the way from Shenzhen. Apparently, it isn’t a common thing for engineers to share knowledge publicly. We hope here in DSL we can help the community do more sharing in the future

The Raspberry Pi 5 possibly fanned the flames of all the interest in tiny form factor AI edge computing. The just-announced AI Kit had our hacking enthusiasm dialed way up. Calvin shared how he got a Pi 5 working with object detection with live code and a demo.

Following Calvin, Ethan Lee from Sebit Hong Kong showed a few fun AI demos using an Nvidia Jetson Orin Nano. One of them had our faces blurred in real time. Folks had a great time playing with it and discussing how it all worked – looking at the code.

“Starting to Thrive”

It’s been a great week here at Dim Sum Labs. One member said – “The place is starting to thrive!” That’s what a hackerspace in Hong Kong is about – we want to thriving, bottom-up technology community here.

As always, we welcome new members. Come join a friendly, unique tech, art and maker community in Hong Kong. Visit us Tuesdays for Hackjam. If you need a space to host your tech event, reach out to us too! We are on IRC and Telegram – see the sidebar. Join our Meetup group to receive notifications of future public events.