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MacQuest released by Wireless System Research Group

MacQuest is an APP developed by the Wireless System Research Group (WiSeR) from the Department of Computing and Software, McMaster University. It provides on-campus navigation and other campus-related services to visitors to McMaster University, McMaster students, staff and faculty. Its main features include but not limited to:

Comprehensive McMaster campus map and building floor plan visualization
– Outdoor: buildings, path ways, parking lots
– Indoor: rooms, bathrooms, elevators, stairs, and hallways

Building index
– Easily find a target building and display its location on the map

– Any pairs between rooms, buildings, arbitrary on-campus locations

Hot spot search
– Nearest bathroom, stairs, elevators

– Mainly for outdoor

Next bus
– Check last, next and following bus arrival time near campus by bus stop and route number

MacQuest is also a research platform for location-based services and mobile participatory sensing. To better serve you, please help us improve the quality of maps and contribute location data by clicking the button “I am here” in the popup box of your current room or location.




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McMaster Software Outreach looking to visit local schools



McMaster Computing and Software (@MacCASOutreach) is running Software: Tool for Change workshops for local schools in May and June. Workshop lengths range from all-day workshops to 20 minute workshops.

Contact if you would like your school to participate, or would like to arrange a school visit.


Example workshop

Our first workshop was held at Parkway Public School on May 5th with Grade 7 and 8 students in the Enrichment Program! They were introduced to the functional programming language ELM where they created shapes with colours and eventually animations of a heart and beyond. The students also beta tested our teaching apps; Image 2 Bits, which was developed to teach the concept of binary bits using simple user created images, a graph based text adventure game designer, as well as a coconut cracking game, designed to introduce students to the most efficient search strategy.


Image 2 Bits

Our first outreach iPad app, Image 2 Bits, is also available for download:

Image 2 Bits teaches binary encoding using black and white images.

Coded images are shared with classmates wirelessly even if you do not have access to a network, and after decoding images, children can like them and then keep them in their picture gallery. Likes appear on the creator’s screen while they are decoding others’ images.

Basic help screens explain how everything in our digital world depends on binary encoding, and interactively demonstrates one method of decoding.

Bonus screens demonstrate addition and multiplication of binary numbers.

If you share iPads in your class, there is a restart button to enable a second child to create and share their own picture.

Troubleshooting: To enable sharing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi should be turned on, but, for the unlikely case that an iPad will not talk to its peers, there are a few coded images built in.

Privacy: names, titles and images are transmitted to neighbouring iPads and may be intercepted by other network users. Quit the app to erase all stored information.














Nix Sensor talk at McMaster on February 25th

McMaster Alumni Matthew Sheridan and Zachary Strong of Nix Sensor will speak on starting up a hardware tech company, and their experience running a successful Kickstarter campaign.
About the company:

Nix Sensor Ltd. designs and manufactures color measurement tools for designers, creators, corporations, and color professionals in over 30 countries.

The first version of their consumer product, the Nix Sensor, raised $70,000 on Kickstarter and has been featured at the Consumer Electronics Show (Las Vegas), at The Next Web Europe Conference, and on the Discovery Channel.

When: Wednesday February 25th @ 6pm

Where: TwelvEighty @ McMaster University (1280 Main Street West)






Land a co-op job in 30 minutes with Beam

Editor’s Note: The below message is from the creators of Beam.

Finally a networking tool that gives you the ability to find recruiters in a room and more. Beam is the solution and all the questions will be answered Jan 22 at 5:30pm DSB 122A.

Beam is an Apple iOS application that make any event worth your time, it’s like Linkedin for Events. We make it super easy for people to exchange contact information instantly and show that its much for fun to talk about interests, as opposed of “What do you do”. Imagine being able to give your phone number or email to a new acquaintance without typing anything, that’s what Beam can do. All of this and much more will be revealed at the event. Did we mention that Beam is free, it really is.

Come down on Jan 22 to get the app on your iPhone, if you can’t make the meeting, don’t sweat it. Email us at to get a copy of the app sent to your phone. If you’re an Android lover, don’t worry we have a surprise for you in the pipeline. Reach us at @webeam, or request an invite on





Free public lecture on live coding



When: Saturday January 10th 2015 @ 8 pm

Where: MUMC (McMaster hospital) Ewart Angus Centre, Rm. 1A1 @ 1200 Main St W, Hamilton



Computer languages have always been intended for programmers and computers. However live coding often adds an audience. In live coding, individuals Cyber Orchestra players or groups create music (or other forms of artistic expres­sion) by programming, often sharing their code with an audience as it unfolds. McMaster University’s laptop orchestra, the Cybernetic Orchestra, has been exploring live coding since 2010, rehearsing weekly and performing at venues ranging from gal­ler­ies on James St North to international music festivals, as well as in online performances with musicians around the world. Live coding offers a dynamic environment for exploring music, computer languages, and new forms of human-computer interaction.

Dr. Ogborn, Cybernetic Orchestra director and McMaster professor in Communica­tion Studies and Multimedia, demonstrates musical live coding and talks about the applications of live coding to diverse problems beyond music

Creative Exchange at McMaster LiveLab December 9th


Originally posted on


We are very excited to announce that the McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind will be hosting the Creative Exchange in December! This Creative Exchange cannot be missed. The LiveLab is a one-of-a-kind research and recording facility on the McMaster University campus. The LiveLab is located in the Psychology Building (#34 on the following campus map), very close to the hospital, if you are coming in from the Main West entrance to the campus. For directions to the campus:

Mark December 9th in your calendars, 5 to 7 p.m.

The LIVE (Large Interactive Virtual Environment) Lab located in the Psychology Building at McMaster University is a unique 96-seat Research Performance Hall designed to investigate the experience of music, dance, multimedia presentations, and human interaction.

The space includes Active Acoustic Control; Sound Recording Equipment; and measurement of behavioural responses (96 tablets), Movement (motion capture), Brain Responses (EEG), Muscle Tension (EMG), Heart Rate, Breathing Rate, and Sweating Responses (GSR) in up to 96 people at a time.

The Creative Exchange is a casual networking event for professionals and entrepreneurs from the Film, Digital & Design Media and Music communities. Join us to reconnect with people or meet new contacts from this community.



McMaster teams finish 3rd and 8th at YHacks



A couple weeks ago I posted a story about a group of McMaster students participating in YHacks. It turns out several teams from McMaster made the trip, and two of them placed 3rd and 8th. Incredible!

Check out the details and videos of what they produced below:


Virtual Theremin Machine (VTM) – 3rd place

“We originally wanted to make a piano but the Kinect didn’t offer precise finger tracking services so we decided to adapt a more feasible instrument such as the Theremin. The Theremin offers a novel taste to our hack because it is a unique instrument and doesn’t require precise fingering.” [link]



Maestro – 8th place

“Maestro puts you in control of your own orchestra. Using your arm’s movements, you control a variety of instruments in a grand orchestral piece. Depending on the direction of your arm’s movements, a different note is played. All of this information is gathered using Thalmic Lab’s Myo armband. As you compose, you are able to switch instruments between a strings section, horns section, and the vocal section of the orchestra.

Each section has a range of 24 notes, played in the key of C. Due to a carefully crafted musical algorithm, everything you play sounds good- it is impossible to play a discordant note. In addition to the code, all of the sound involved in Maestro was recorded during YHack using Apple’s Logic Pro.

Maestro was written in C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio. To connect with the Myo, we used the Myo SDK developed by Thalmic Labs. The SFML library is used to control everything in the background.” [link]





Introduction to Android Workshop



When: Wednesday November 26th from 7pm – 9pm

Where: McMaster University room ITB A113


This workshop will cover the basics of starting to develop apps for Android, and will be held on Wednesday Nov 26th at 7 pm – 9 pm in ITB A113. We will be continuing the curriculum next semester with weekly workshops!

Please contact if you have experience with Android Development and would like to be a mentor.

Event hosted by MacGDA, SEC, CSS and HackItMac.