Creating your own Subnode: Networking with the Raspberry Pi + Node.js

September 21, 2013 At Eyebeam


Created during the Fall 2012 Residency season at Eyebeam, Subnodes ( is an open source initiative designed to streamline the process of setting up a Raspberry Pi as a wireless access point for distributing content and taking part in shared digital experiences. The device behaves as a web server, creating its own local area network, and does not connect with the internet. This is key for the sake of offering a space where people can communicate anonymously and freely, as well as maximizing the portability of the network (no dependability on an internet connection means the device can be taken and remain active anywhere).

This course will show you how to set up your Raspberry Pi as a web server and wireless access point. We will also cover how to create a local area network with a captive portal for directing users to your web app.

– Configure the Raspberry Pi with a wireless adapter as an Access Point
– Configure a web server running Node.js
– Create a simple chat application with Node
– Create a startup script that automatically boots up your network and node app on power up.

Sarah Grant is a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and programmer. She is interested in building networks of data between machines and living creatures in addition to electrical engineering with organic and living materials. She has experimented with creating textile-based interfaces for audio hardware, working with sound as a tangible material, and more recently, creating conductive circuit traces out of slime molds. Embedded sensor networks and the idea of aware and responsive natural environments that cross the senses and freely transport information are key inspirations.

Sarah has given talks, taught workshops, and shown her work locally and internationally at events such as the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference, Maker Faire San Mateo and New York, Dorkbot and Eyebeam. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art (printmaking and sculpture) from the University of California at Davis, and a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She currently works at The Barbarian Group as a Senior Design Technologist.

1. Raspberry Pi Model B (with Node.js pre-installed and 4GB SD Card)
2. USB WiFi dongle (with RALink RT5370 chipset)
3. 700 mA 5V microusb power supply
4. Laptop (with Ethernet Port) (Please email if you cannot provide this)
Items 1-3 can be purchased as a kit for an additional $75

– Comfort working in the command line
– Experience programming with javascript


Saturday September 21, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Workshop: $75
Workshop + Optional Kit: $150
**$25 OFF Workshop Fee for Students. 
Enter password “STUDENT” to receive special discount price of $50. 
Enter password “STUKIT” to receive special discount and purchase the kit.
Projects: subnodes
People: Sarah GrantErica Kermani
Research: Education, Open Culture
Tags: LAN, anonymous, access point, wireless, web server, subnodes, Raspberry Pi, open wireless, node.js, local area network