NAME: Brian Hoskins
I am an electronics engineer, computer programmer and member of the IET. I write C# and perl for Windows/Linux operating systems and I write C and Assembly (but not so much assembly these days) for embedded systems (mainly PIC architecture).
I work full time in the electronics engineering trade and I work on my own projects in my spare time. Most of my projects involve a mixture of hardware and software. I am also a retro-computer fan. I started on the Sinclair Spectrum so I own a number of these models, but my "real" passion was the Commodore computers and particularly the Amiga. I own lots of Amiga models in various states of build, expansion and modification.
At home I'm lucky enough to have my own mini-lab with various electronics test equipment, soldering equipment and PCB production equipment.
I am interested in studying to become a radio HAM as I have a number of electronics projects in mind which would require a proper license. If any Swansea Hackspace members have a HAM license I would be very interested to meet up for a chat about how I can go about getting on the bandwagon!
Between August 2013 - December 2015 I was fortunate to live in 'Laugharne', which is a small village in the countryside of Carmarthenshire. The centre of Laugharne is located adjacent to a large estuary. The estuary experiences huge tides throughout the year, to the extent that at high tide all you can see is sand all the way to the horizon. Then, at low tides, the sand gets completely swallowed up and all you can see is water stretching out to the horizon!
At certain times of the year peak tides develop. It has to do with the alignment of the sun and the moon, among other things. When these events happen the tide even encroaches on the village of Laugharne itself! Typically it swallows up the main village car park. There are warning signs, dotted around the car park, which try to inform visitors of the danger. But these have proven to be insufficient. During my 2 years in Laugharne I witnessed several of these peak tide events, and most of them involved at least one unfortunate visitor whose car became submerged in sea water.
After witnessing these events over a 2 year period, the "Peak Tide Early Warning System" project was born. I am currently working with the Laugharne Community Council on a project to create an active warning sign at the entrance to the car park itself. The sign will have an embedded controller built into it, which will be programmed with the dates and times of peak tides for the foreseeable future. The sign will lay dormant on most days. But on days where a peak tide is predicted it will burst into life via a bright LED dot matrix display. The LED display will warn entrants to the car park of an impending FLOOD prediction. Potentially it may also display the flood risk times. A set of flashing LED lamps, mounted above and below the display, will draw further attention to the warning.
The sign shall have the ability to be reprogrammed with new flood dates and times using wireless technology, so that it can be maintained going forwards by community members.
The project is being developed on a "not for profit" basis, for the community good.