Over the last year, Hackaday.io has seen an incredible project. It’s a migratory box of random electronic junk, better known as the Travelling Hackerbox. The idea behind this mobile electronic surplus store is simple: receive the box, take out some cool electronic gizmos, add some of your own, and send it on to the next person on the list. It is the purest expression of the hacker aesthetic, all contained in a cardboard box.
Last week, the Travelling Hackerbox appeared at the Hackaday Superconference where it was torn asunder. Its silicon and plastic innards were spilled for a badge hacking competition. The body of the box is gone from this world but the spirit lives on. Parts were collected, pins straightened, the contents of anti-static bags condensed, and now it’s time for the Travelling Hackerbox to leave the nest. It’s going down to the post office, sending in its passport application, and it’s finally heading out into far-flung lands that are not the United States.
Over the last year, and despite some jerk in Georgia, the Traveling Hackerbox has racked up the miles. From Maine to Flordia, and from Alaska to Hawaii, the Hackerbox has distributed parts to dozens of labs and workstations. If you want to get an idea of the box, the last recipient, Carl Smith, put together a great summary and photo log of what he found in this magical box.
I’ve always promised the Hackerbox would go international after racking up 25,000 miles – the distance around Earth’s equator. Now, it’s finally time. This is happening, and I’m looking for volunteers to take care of the box.
How this is going to go down
Right now, the Travelling Hackerbox is sitting at the Hackaday Overlords office in Pasadena. The next trip will be to Canada, hopefully around Vancouver, where it will eventually make it to the Maritimes. From there, the box will travel to Europe (West to East, possibly ending in Russia). The box will then travel through Africa, ending South Africa, and head over the Indian Ocean to Australia. The rest of Oceania, Southeast Asia, India, and China will be next, possibly followed by South and Central America. With any luck, the Travelling Hackerbox will arrive back at home base by next year.
Of course, this all depends on how many members of the hackaday.io community would like to receive the box and where those people are located. If you want to receive the box,
this is the sign-up form [the sign up form is now closed]. This form will be open for the next week, afterwards I will look at the responses, consider each of them, and plan this epic trip around the world.
The current state of the box
The Travelling Hackerbox was originally based on a US Postal Service flat rate box. Because flat rate boxes are for US destinations only, the physical manifestation of the box must change. At the very least, this gives me an opportunity to laminate a new box in packing tape and reinforce the edges of the cardboard.
The new body for the Travelling Hackerbox is a 12x12x3 inch (about five liters) cardboard box, lovingly protected and reinforced with stickytape. This does reduce the overall volume of the somewhat, which required the disposal of a few parts that weren’t really cool. I assure you, nothing of great value was lost, and I only removed the larger, bulkier components I remember seeing the last time I had it.
All the coming travels will be planned next week when I get a few submissions to the international sign-up form.