Pre-order this Graphically Stunning Print Edition of Hackaday

Now is your chance to hold a piece of Hackaday in your hands. Last year we announced our first ever print edition. We continue that tradition with a much bigger offering. Hackaday Omnibus vol #02 gathers the best content from Hackaday over the last year. This includes in-depth original content, incredible art, the events that mattered over the last 12 months, and a few cryptic easter eggs.

omnibus-vol2-on-your-coffee-table[Joe Kim], Hackaday’s Art Direct, really outdid himself with the cover this year. Inspired by an epic movie, the illustration includes a shoutout to almost every article found within. Of course there is a lot more of his work inside, along with the efforts of dozens of writers, artists, editors, and more.

All 128 pages of Omnibus vol #02 were painstakingly laid out by [Aleksandar Bradic] who enlisted the help of a dedicated core of members to help pore over the final drafts, ensuring the presentation is immaculate. Along the way some of them teamed up to roll in those easter eggs that I previously mentioned. We don’t even know what all of it means, you should be the first to solve the mystery.

Most of the 31 articles that grace these pages have run past the front page of Hackaday. But there are a few that were written specifically for the print edition. These will be published on our front page starting in 90 minutes and continuing for a few weeks. It is important to us to share these great works without the need to purchase anything. But the Omnibus is truly one of the coolest pieces of tech literature that you can own. It deserves a place on your coffee table, reception area at work, and as a gift for all who love to know how things work, how things were built, and the legacy of knowledge that has come from generations of hacking.

We’re only running a single printing of this gorgeous volume. Make sure you get one of your own by placing a pre-order now. Be one of the first 500 using coupon code OMNIBUS2015 and get it for just $10! Show that you support great content and help make future projects like this possible. Podcast Live from SuperCon

Everyone here at Hackaday is a big fan of, the weekly podcast for people who love making gadgets, hosted by [Elecia White]. We’re honored that this week she has dedicating an entire episode to live interviews at the Hackaday SuperConference.

The set of seven interviews are with some of the people who were working the SuperCon. These were recorded on the second day of the conference, after the Hackaday Prize had been awarded. It was also the morning after [Sprite_TM] presented an amazing talk which almost everyone interviewed mentions (don’t worry, video of that talk is coming soon).

[Elecia] has a gift for interviewing and guides the conversation in many interesting directions: what the SuperCon is all about, background on the people who work on Hackaday, Supplyframe, and, looks back at the 2015 Hackaday Prize, and what the future might bring.

If you’ve ever wanted a candid behind-the-scenes look at the events and initiatives that go on around here, this is it. It’s told from the perspective of people who love devoting way too much time to Hackaday. We think [Elecia] is counted among them.

Main Image: In true hacker fashion, [Elecia White] prepares to launch her LED throwie up to the second floor ductwork at the Hackaday SuperConference.

The Story of the 2015 Hackaday Prize

This week we’ve covered the Grand Prize and Best Product winners of the 2015 Hackaday prize: Eyedrivomatic and Vinduino. These are both amazing and worthy projects, but the real story of the Hackaday Prize isn’t about the prizes: it’s about nine months during which talented people worked toward a common good.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend the Hackaday SuperConference, here is the video of the ceremony. Take a look at the presentation which was made in front of a packed house of about 300 attendees. Then join us after the break for a look back on the last nine amazing months.

Continue reading “The Story of the 2015 Hackaday Prize”

The Gaze-Controlled Wheelchair that Won the Hackaday Prize

The 2015 Hackaday Prize challenged people to build something that matters. Specifically, to solve a problem faced by a lot of people and to make the solution as open as possible. If the average hacker can build it, it puts the power to vastly improve someone’s life in their hands. This is a perfect example of how powerful Open Design can be.

Patrick Joyce, Steve Evans, and David Hopkinson, developed a way to control an electric wheelchair using eye movements. The project, called Eyedrivomatic, is a set of non-invasive hardware modules that connect the wheelchair joystick with existing Eyegaze technology.

You’re probably already familiar with Eyegaze, which allows people suffering from diseases like MND/ALS to speak through a computer using nothing but their eyes. Eyedrivomatic extends this gaze control to drive a wheelchair. The catch is that the wheelchair’s user may not actually own the chair, and so permanent modifications cannot be made.

Thus Eyedrivomatic connects a wheelchair to the existing Eyegaze hardware without permanently altering either. This has never been done before, and the high level to which the team executed this project netted them the Grand Prize of the 2015 Hackaday Prize. The team will receive their choice of a Trip into Space or $196,883.

Check out their acceptance video, then join us after the break to learn what went into this amazing undertaking.

Continue reading “The Gaze-Controlled Wheelchair that Won the Hackaday Prize”

Hackaday SuperCon Marks the Dawn of Something New

Best. Conference. Ever. And believe it or not, I don’t think this is a biased opinion.

I am of course talking about the Hackaday SuperConference – the first full-blown hardware conference we’ve ever put together. I had very high hopes going into this and was still utterly astounded by how the two-day event turned out. Let me give you three reasons why it was spectacular: The people, the people, the people.

The Presenters

[Shanni Prutchi] presenting her talk about Quantum Entanglement
[Shanni Prutchi] presenting her talk about Quantum Entanglement
Our call for proposals didn’t go out months ahead of time, instead it was mere weeks, yet we were flooded with around 160 proposals. It was a tough proposition to whittle this down to 30+ talks and workshops, but we had to because of time and space limits. Every presenter made it count. We are honored by this diverse set of people who laid down an enthralling collection of talks about hardware creation.

Just to give you a taste: the first talk, presented by Shanni Prutchi, covered the hardware used in quantum entanglement research. Quantum Entanglement Research! This highly technical subject might seem like a lot for a Saturday morning, but Shanni has a gift for explaining her work. Every person in the room was engaged throughout and stayed this way through the entire weekend.

Packed house during the talks
Packed house during the talks

SuperCon was a hardware conference that was actually about hardware. We could tell something magical was happening when we had to hunt down more chairs (borrowed from an off-site venue) to accommodate all of the people who wanted to hear the presentations. We know that the hardware community yearns for talks that go far beyond being shiny and deliver the details you need to grow your own set of engineering talents. The extra-chair anecdote proves the need for more opportunities to learn and interact with experts of hardware creation.

Don’t worry, we recorded every single one of these fantastic presentations. It will take time to edit the content but it will be freely available soon. If you’re excited about your own work and can speak about it with authority, you need to be at next year’s Hackaday SuperConference. I promise we’ll call for proposals further in advance for the next one, but start your talk prep now. You won’t want to miss it.

[Paul Stoffregen] leading his Advance Microcontroller Based Audio workshop
[Paul Stoffregen] leading his Advance Microcontroller Based Audio workshop
Conspicuously missing from our story so far are the hands-on workshops which ran concurrently with the talk track. Every workshop was sold out, and every extra chair was occupied by those who wanted to audit. Much of the workshop material is already online, and we’ll get a dedicated post out to help link you with that information.

The Attendees

Talk about the most amazing group of people to spend 30 hours with over two days. The 300 people who packed Dogpatch Studios to capacity made it impossible to have anything but a great time at the conference. These are all people with passion for hardware – I was tripping over fascinating conversations at every step.

Badge hackers hard at work as talks continue just to the left

We blocked out a few places in the schedule for lightning talks. Everyone was encouraged to sign up and participate. Since the majority of people at the conference brought hardware to show off, these blocks were as popular as the more formal presentations.

This is also how the badge hacking was presented. Conference badges were PCBs with no components. Off to the side were tables strewn with components and tools so that you could work on your badge and watch the talks at the same time. Those seats were constantly occupied. As the end of the day approached on Sunday, we had around twenty people present what they had created on this blank slate. And yes, we’ll be covering this in-depth soon so stay tuned.

The Workers

Registration did a great job of clearing this line once the doors opened
Registration did a great job of clearing this line once the doors opened

You can have talented presenters and eager attendees, but it takes a lot of hard work to keep everything running smoothly and bring the two groups together.

We had an army of volunteers and a gaggle of staff who worked together like a high-functioning machine. Registration was quick and efficient and transitions between workshops were smooth and calm. The WiFi worked (conferences are notorious for not having connectivity) and the speakers had the A/V resources they needed. There were plenty of beverages, snacks, and meals. The workers of the SuperCon — all of them hardware-lovers too — had a personal stake in pulling this off. Mission accomplished. You all rock!

We Are a Community

The SuperConference felt like home. New acquaintances treated each other like life-long friends. Everyone brought their hardware passion and treated one another as equals. And as has been proven time and again, Hackaday is a community and great things happen when we all get together with purpose. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who made this possible.

Seeking Distinct Hardware Passion

This is it, the Hackaday SuperConference blasts into existence tomorrow. You should be there.

Hardware is passion. Hardware is art. Hardware is creation. Hardware is life. This is your mantra and this weekend is your one chance to connect in person with your community. At this very moment the people presenting 30+ spectacular hardware talks and hands-on workshops are headed to San Francisco to make it happen. They are joined by hundreds of Hackers, Designers, Engineers, Artists, and other Bohemians that make up something unique: a hardware conference that is actually about hardware creation.

You need to be a part of the SuperCon. It runs Saturday and Sunday at Dogpatch Studios. If you can’t make it for both days, block out your Saturday night for the Hackaday Prize Party. Starting at 5:30pm you can catch [Sprite_TM’s] talk, join a fireside chat with MythBusters veteran [Grant Imahara], be there live for the 2015 Hackaday Prize and Best Product award announcements, and then enjoy dinner and the celebration afterward. There is no charge to attend the Prize Party.

There is no better way to spend time than by exercising your passion. Don’t let the Hackaday SuperCon pass you by.

The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Analog Clocks Play Their Own Beat

Play the demo video below and try not to let the rhythm worm its way into your brain. What you’re hearing is the sound of a bunch of clocks, amplified. None of them are keeping wall time, but all of them are playing together.

[Gijs] makes crazy musical instruments. He doesn’t give us much more than a video and a couple schematics for this project, so this one’s still a bit of an enigma, but here’s what we’ve put together.

Klok slave unit schematic
Klok slave unit schematic

The video looks like eight identical version of the same module. The input takes a voltage and converts the rising and falling edges into pulses to drive the coil of an el-cheapo clock. The LEDs pulse as the poles of the clock switch to the incoming beats. The output comes from an amplified piezo sensor stuck on the back of each clock. That is, what you’re hearing is each clock ticking, but amplified. And if you watch the dials spin, it doesn’t look like any of them are telling time.

So far so good, and it matches up with the schematic. But what’s up with that switch on the front? It doesn’t show up anywhere.

And what’s driving the show? [Gijs] tantalizes us with a master clock module (on the same page) that looks like it does keep time, and outputs subdivisions thereof. But that would be too slow to be what’s used in the video. Has he swapped the crystal to make it run faster? It’s a mystery.

Of course, we’d expect no less from the man who mics up a kitchen timer or a gear motor and adds them to his synthesizer rack. We’ve covered a bunch more of [Gijs]’s work in the past, from his video mixers to this hard-drive turned synth oscillator, but this time he’s got us scratching our heads a bit, as well as tapping our feet.

Continue reading “Analog Clocks Play Their Own Beat”