SuperCon Presenters Revealed

When we announced the Hackaday SuperConference earlier this week we weren’t able to mention any presenters; the call for proposals to this epic hardware conference was still open. Now that the proposals are in we have been poring over them and starting to send acceptance notifications. Just a few of the notable presenters who have already confirmed are listed below. This is more than enough to get the excitement started but we will of course announce more in the coming days.

Check out the amazing space we’ve booked at Dogpatch Studios. It is perfect for the non-stop, high-throughput schedule that has been assembled. There will be one speaking track for talks that spans the entire weekend, while multiple concurrent workshops are held on the other floor of the venue. The evening party will kick off with the announcement of the 2015 Hackaday Prize winner, and the winner of Best Product.

Head over and apply now to attend the two-day SuperCon in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th. This list of amazing people and topics is just a taste of over thirty talks and workshops going on at the hardware conference you’ve been waiting for.

Shanni R. Prutchi  | Construction of an Entangled Photon Source for Experimenting with Quantum Technologies

Sprite_TM | Implementing the Tamagotchi Singularity

Michael Ossmann | Simple RF Circuit Design Workshop

Fran Blanche | Fun and Relevance of Antiquated Technology

Paul Stoffregen | Advanced Microcontroller-Based Audio Workshop

Noah Feehan | Making in Public

Sarah Petkus | NoodleFeet: Building a Robot as Art

Minas Liarokapis | OpenBionics

Luke Iseman | Starting a Hardware Startup

Dozens more to come.

Download the SuperCon poster and hang it everywhere. Share the @hackaday #SuperCon.  Do it now.

Thor’s Hammer Build Recognizes Its Master’s Hand

electromagnetic-thors-hammerOnly those who have completely insulated themselves from modern pop culture will miss the meaning of a Mjolnir build. It is, of course, the mythical hammer wielded by Thor, and only Thor. It’s a question of being worthy; a question solved perfectly by this electromagnetic Mjolnir build.

Using an electromagnet is smart, right? Just plunk the thing down on something metal (that is itself super-heavy or well-anchored) and nobody will be able to pick it up. It starts to get more interesting when you add a fingerprint reader, allowing only Mjolnir’s Master to retrieve it from atop a manhole cover.

But for us the real genius in the build is that the hammer isn’t burning power from the four 12V batteries most of the time. All of the people in the video below could have picked up the hammer had they first nudged it off the metal plate with their foot. The build uses a capacitive touch-sensor to enable and disable the microwave over transformer used as the electromagnet. An engineering trick like this really separates the gods from the posers.

We hate to admit it, but this is probably a cooler build than the Telsa-Coil powered Mjolin that [Caleb] built a few years back. Still, his held up as the best for many years, and if you’re going to be displaced this really is a build worthy of the new title: coolest Mjolnir hack.

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Hand-Cranked Cyclotron

Okay, not actually a cyclotron… but this ball cyclotron is a good model for what a cyclotron does and the concepts behind it feel kooky and magical. A pair of Ping Pong balls scream around a glass bowl thanks the repulsive forces of static electricity.

It’s no surprise that this comes from Rimstar, a source we’ve grown to equate with enthralling home lab experiments like the Ion Wind powered Star Trek Enterprise. Those following closely will know that most of [Steven Dufresne’s] experiments involve high voltage and this one is no different. The same Wimshurst Machine he used in the Tea Laser demo is brought in again for this one.

A glass bowl is used for its shape and properties as an insulator. A set of electrodes are added in the form of aluminum strips. These are given opposite charges using the Wimshurst machine. Ping Pong balls coated in conductive paint are light enough to be moved by the static fields, and a good crank gets them travelling in a very fast circuit around the bowl.

When you move a crank the thought of being connected to something with a chain pops into your mind. This feels very much the same, but there is no intuitive connection between the movement of the balls and your hand on the crank. Anyone need a prop for their Halloween party?

If you don’t want to buy or build a Wimshurst machine you can use a Van De Graaff generator. Can anyone suggest other HV sources that would work well here?

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Electronic Ruler Works Out Logic Truth Tables

Like [Brad], we’ve seen a number of PCB rulers out there. [Brad] was looking to take the idea and run with it. His DigiRule is a ruler with a logic gate simulator. What he built is a mash-up between PCB rulers, and the concept of electronic business cards.

All told it simulates seven logic gates, four flip-flops, and includes a four-bit counter. On one end of the ruler a CR1220 battery feeds the 18F43K20 which is performing the logic operations using buttons and LEDs. Of course the truth tables are printed on the back silk-screen, but playing with the lights is a lot more fun. We do find it fairly amusing that the centimeters on the bottom of the ruler are notated in binary.

It makes a lot more sense to hand out rulers than business cards; people might actually use them after you leave and you can still include contact info. This form-factor also breaks the mold. You can have a lot more space on a ruler and you’re not constrained by thickness (although [Limpkin] solved that problem). While we’re on the topic of business cards [ch00f’s] USB etch-a-sketch style card and this logic-based information delivery device top our favorites list.

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Hackaday SuperConference — Apply Now to Attend

In the beginning there were simple circuits, and it was good. Our technology has advanced, our hardware prowess must advance in kind. The Hackaday SuperConference is the hardware con you’ve been waiting for. Experience spectacular presentations that move hardware creation forward while being surrounded by inspired hackers, designers, and engineers.

There are numerous serious professionals in the Hackaday Community pulling off amazing things that easily rank as world-class. It’s time to assemble our talent and spread those skills to others looking to grow their own repertoire. This is practical, hands-on learning. Many of the sessions will be workshops where you will manipulate registers and send solder smoke skyward.

Apply to Attend the Hackaday SuperConference

The Hackaday SuperCon is in San Francisco, November 14th and 15th. There is limited capacity. You must apply to be part of something this amazing. Do it now and unlock the early adopter rate of $64. Over the coming days that price will rise to $256. That’s assuming there are any tickets left after today. Those who want to hedge their bets should also apply as a volunteer.

You could procrastinate. You could let this one pass you by. But we know you’re like us and you’ve been disappointed by the lack of real hardware talks and workshops at conferences. The SuperCon is created for hardware. Your wait for something special is over.

We are still accepting proposals to present a talk or workshop at the SuperCon. Submit your proposal by this Wednesday. Travel stipends are available for outstanding proposals.

Download the SuperCon poster and hang it everywhere. Share the @hackaday #SuperCon.  Do it now.

[Bunnie Huang’s] Hardware Talks Top Your Watch List

When [Bunnie] talks, we listen. He is a fount of product engineering knowledge, having seen many of his own products through from concept to market, and frequently helping others do the same. Of course having the knowledge is one thing, but he is also an accomplished speaker who knows what is important and how to share it in a way which is meaningful to others. The latest example of this is a pair of Engineering Talks he gave at Highway 1.

It’ll take you less than twenty minutes to get through the two videos. The first focuses on documentation for manufacturing. What do you need to include on a bill of materials sent to the factory? [Bunnie] has a set of gotchas which illustrate how vital this is. He also discusses how to handle design changes once the manufacturing wheels are already in motion. The second clip covers how Design for Manufacture relates to the actual cost of a production run. We hope there are more of these clips in the publishing pipeline so we’re keeping our eye on this channel.

The two videos are embedded below and at the time of writing had just a couple dozen views each and only one comment between the two of them. It seems sacrilege to say this, but we agree with that YouTube comment; these videos are gold.

Want to check out one of [Bunnie’s] latest projects? It’s a radio-based interactive badge.

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10 Finalist Projects Prove We Can Save the World

People should build something that matters. The ones who actually do so end up shaping the world. We are proud to announce the ten finalists for the 2015 Hackaday Prize.

The problems that these projects tackle come from many different angles. Some improve safety in extreme situations by giving emergency workers the ability to detect the presence of dangerous gases, or by helping to find unexploded munitions in war-torn areas. Others make improvements in transportation by working on transportation where infrastructure is poor, and looking toward the future of electric vehicle transportation. There are projects that tackle pollution through monitoring and also by scrubbing pollutants from indoor air. Improvements in wheelchair mobility and advancements in prosthetics can transform the lives of people living with loss of function. And feeding the world can start with more automated farming options, and becoming more efficient with farming methods. These are the problems the finalists have chosen to solve with their entries.

The Hackaday Prize challenges Hackers, Designers, and Engineers to solve a problem and to build their solution using Open Design. One of these ten will claim the Grand Prize of a trip into space, and four others will claim top prizes worth $5,000-$10,000 each. These distinctions, along with the $100,000 Best Product prize, will be awarded to one of these ten projects at the Hackaday SuperConference in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th.

Thank you to our expert judges who chose these finalists from a slate of 100 semifinalists. The judges will begin making final round decisions on October 26th so keep watching these finalists as they continue to develop their entires.

To all who submitted entries this year, great job! The nature of this contest means not everyone can move to the next round, but that doesn’t diminish the effort and potential for good your project represents. The full slate of entries can be found in this list and all Semifinalists are shown here. Please also check out the Best Product entries and finalists.