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The Future Doesn’t Need Another Internet-Connected Teddybear – Hackaday at SXSW Create

Hackaday happened to be at South by Southwest this year and visited SXSW Create – part of the festival dedicated to hackers, makers and DIY scene. While modest in size, this event serves as a great contrast to the internet-hype machine omnipresent everywhere else in the city during this time. So we thought we should drop by and show them some love.

sxsw-launchpad-croppedTrey German showed us a couple of great real-time power control demos using his C2000 Launch Pad as well as his Bluetooth Cooler which, for whatever reason, decided to fail on him just in time for the big show. The demo we have been looking forward to the most was a thermocouple-controlled barbecue using Energia framework but were disappointed to learn that The Man has banned grilling hotdogs in the tent. The universe was telling us we’re not here to party.

atx_hackerspace_TARDISATX Hackerspace had a large booth featuring the full-size replica of Doctor Who’s TARDIS (who wouldn’t like to have a picture taken in one ?) and a fully-functional 1930-es vacuum tube radio with a mandatory iPad dock. We have also learned that a massive collection of working vintage vacuum tubes has been donated to the hackerspace, so if you’re in need you know who to call.

The event has also featured a long list of industry participants. The product launch we were most impressed with was Easel by Inventables, an in-browser app that enables easy control of their Shapeoko CNC milling machine and definitely has the potential of bringing the joys of design and fabrication to much larger masses.

e_coli_ut_austin_experiment1However, the most interesting things we saw were the ones a bit outside of the current tech mainstream. [Dennis] from UT Austin iGEM team showed some of the crazy work the synthetic biologists are doing out there. They have engineered Escherichia coli so that it is addicted to caffeine, used cell growth as a measure of caffeine content in particular drinks, and used that to rank local Austin coffee shops! We have also talked with several guys working on automated gardens and soil sensors who were educating attendees about the huge potential that increased environmental data aggregation can have on the ways we grow food.

To quote the Growerbot guys : “We definitely have enough Internet-connected teddy bears. We need more Internet-connected tomato plants”.

Stick with us after the jump to see a gallery with all our adventures at 2014 SXSW.

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Hackaday Scouts For Hacks at SXSW

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It seems like everyone is going to South by Southwest this year. We even heard about it on The Today Show this week. But we still have hope that there’s awesomeness to be found. A few of our crew will be there this year and they’re on the lookout for something special. The festival starts on Friday and runs more than a week to the following Sunday but our guys will be on the ground Sunday, March 9th through Tuesday the 11th.

Sure, we’ll take a gander at the interactive hardware areas, but preliminary research tells us these may be watered down to the lowest common denominator. What we really want to see is if a Burning-Man-like culture is beginning to coalesce around SXSW. Are you carrying around your own hacked hardware at this year’s event? Do you roll up in a custom party-mobile and spend the week trying to keep the 24-hour tailgate alive with your fold out pig roaster and awning-based entertainment system? We’d like to check that out.

[Eren], [Alek], and [Ivan] are handling coverage of the event. They’ve been killing themselves making Hackaday Projects an awesome place to share and interact. What they wanted was a bit of down time, but handing out T-shirts and Stickers in exchange for a look at your hacks doesn’t get in the way of that. Connect with them on Twitter using the hash tag #HaD_SXSW. They’ll be using it to tweet their activities but of course it works both ways. Your best bet of just crashing into these guys is to check out [Alek's] talk on StageTwo.

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