Hackaday Interview: [Grant Imahara]

We had a chance to interview [Grant Imahara] at the 2014 Electronica conference in Munich, Germany. If you don’t recognize [Grant’s] name you’ll probably recognize his face. He’s been on the cast of the television show Mythbusters for about 10 years now. We heard recently that he was leaving the show and that’s how we crossed paths with him.

[Grant] has signed on with Mouser Electronics to promote their Empowering Innovation Together program. They hosted him on a press junket at their booth and since we have a good relationship with Mouser they offered Hackaday an interview slot.

We had a lot of fun talking to [Grant]. Unfortunately the wireless microphones the Mouser videographer was using were picking up a lot of interference. This didn’t directly affect our recording setup as we were using a handheld voice recorder, but we kept getting interrupted as they tried to figure out the problem. Still, as you can see from the video below, we managed to get all the way through a few questions about [Grant’s] introduction to electronics at a young age, his first job out of school working for Industrial Light and Magic, and his advice to others who want to get into electronics and specifically robots. He mentions his early learning was guided by the books of Forrest Mims and that these days learning about electronics is no more than a keyword search away.

Electronica 2014 Wrap-Up

Make no mistake about it, Electronica is a real trade show, with suits everywhere, meeting rooms packed to the gills, and €4 bottles of soda. If you dig around long enough, you will find some interesting things, as I did on my excursions to the Messe with [Chris Gammell] and [Sprite_TM].

Actual cool booths

This isn’t a show and tell. The purpose of the booths are for sales people to meet with other sales people, and people who have the letter ‘C’ somewhere in their title to be concerned about things you’ll never understand. Booth displays are a plastic case with a few components in them. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some units running on a table somewhere.

This isn’t the case for all booths, though. The Linear booth wanted to demo some custom sensors, so they built the most primitive thermocouple in existence. It’s a piece of copper pipe and some barbed wire, brazed together. It won’t be an accurate thermocouple when the torch is still hot, but by calibrating it against a known temperatures and values, they can get pretty reliable temperature readings. Oh, the displays are Nixies.

Raspberries

raspberrypi_logo No, Raspberry Pi didn’t have a booth, but RS Components did, and this is where you could find Raspberries and Raspberry-related projects. I hun around the booth after [Eben] gave a talk, and this is what the future of the Raspberry Pi ecosystem will look like:

  • There will be no more form factor changes. Until the next hardware update, we’ll have the B+ and A+ form factor.
  • When is the next hardware update? Some time in 2017 or 2018. They don’t have a chip selected yet.
  • Four million units shipped. I told [Eben] the Commodore 64 shipped 25 Million, [Eben] told me [Jack Tramiel] was running his mouth when he said that. German tank problem with serial numbers and all that.
  • Lots of industrial applications. There are real, legitimate uses of a Pi in controlling million dollar machines.
  • No one has built a cluster of Pi compute modules. I believe the problem is finding vertical SO-DIMM connectors.

The latest from the FTDI display case

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Free Stuff

Show up at the end of Electronica, and you’ll quickly figure out the people at booths don’t want to ship their stuff home. This was the Hammond Enclosures booth:

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What did I grab? Just some Raspi cases, and one of the wooden Hammond enclosures used for tube amps. Also picked up a sample of unreleased Kailh switches for mechanical keyboards. Data coming sometime.

If someone is at the Munich airport in a few days, I might have a wooden Hammond enclosure for you.

Get Ready for Hackaday Munich by Attending Make Munich

Need something to get you revved up for the Hackaday get-together in Munich next month? Don’t miss out on this year’s Make Munich.

The two-day festival will be held in Munich on November 1st and 2nd. Last year there were about 2500 in attendance and this year is shaping up to be even bigger! Wander through the exhibits to see what others have been building during their spare time. You’ll see everything from 3D printing, to custom electronics, crafts, art pieces, talks, and more. What a wonderful way to draw inspiration for the projects you want to pull off this winter!

What’s that you say? You have something to show off at Make Munich? You could always just carry it around with you but maybe it’s better to apply for a booth or to give a talk.

Seeing all that Make Munich has to offer should get you excited about doing some hands on hacking and you’ll have the chance just a couple of weeks later. The Hackaday crew is hard at work planning our own afternoon hackathon and evening party. Block out your calendar on Thursday, November 13th. We’re not quite ready to give away free tickets but watch the front page for an announcement soon!

We’re lucky to have a lot of people in the Munich area helping get the word out. A special thanks to [Nils Hitze] who is organizing Make Munich and has already connected us with a lot of interesting parts of the hacker community in the area.

Munich: Help Plan Hackaday’s First European Event

On Thursday, November 13th we’ve rented a huge hall in Munich, Germany and plan to host a hacking event followed by a celebration.

You need to take the day off of work and join us. Better yet, convince your boss that this is professional development and that attending is good for the company!

We’re not taking the space shuttle across the pond, this illustration reflects the connection with The Hackaday Prize. This trip will mark the end of the contest and the unveiling of the Grand Prize winner.

 

What do *you* want to hack?

The big question we have right now, is what kind of hands-on hardware hacking do you want to do? We published a page over on Hackaday.io to discuss the possibilities. Let your imagination run wild and we’ll do our best to make it all happen. We know from James’ hackerspace tour last year that there are a ton of Hackaday community members within reasonable travel distance from Munich. Here’s our chance to get everyone together for an Epic day of building and night of partying.

Hackaday’s Guide to Shanghai

We happened to be in Shanghai for Electronica trade fair this year and had a great time exploring heavy industrial gear and fantasizing about all the things we could do with it. However, we simply couldn’t ignore the fact that there was a whole city out there that we’re completely missing out on. So after less than a day of being surrounded by businesspeople and Miss Universe-dressed promoters, we decided to pack our bags and hit the streets.

The question was, where should we go? Finding interesting things in a city that keeps shapeshifting (the whole Shanghai skyline did not exist 20 years ago) can be a challenge. Fortunately, our friend [David Li] gave us a list:

  1. Xin Che Jian
  2. Jiu Xing market
  3. Beijing Lu electronic market
  4. Qiujiang Lu CNC/lasercut market
  5. DFRobot.com

…and off we were.

 

Continue reading “Hackaday’s Guide to Shanghai”

Hackaday in Shanghai: Electronica and a Gathering

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Whether you live in Shanghai, are at Electronics China representing your company, or by dumb luck just happen to be in town this week you can meet some of the Hackaday crew and score yourself some sweet swag.

Anyone in town on Thursday night will want to get a ticket to Hackaday: The Gathering. Right now it’s all sold out, but we hope anyone with a ticket who is unable to use it will cancel so that another may take your place. Free food, drink, t-shirts, stickers, and other swag await… no wonder the tickets are already gone!

The Electronica China conference started Tuesday at Shanghai New International Expo Centre, but it runs through Wednesday and Thursday as well. We’re attending, but we don’t actually have a dedicated booth. Hackaday is piggybacking with EEFocus, the Chinese contingent of our parent company. Both [Matt] and [Alek] will be hanging around the EEFocus booth (#W3.3686) shucking out hackaday T-shirts if you ask for one. Before he left, [Matt] mentioned that he’s excited to attend lectures on connected medical devices, the Automotive and EV boards, as well as the embedded systems forum.