Superconference Speakers Revealed

You’ll find the best hardware talks at the Hackaday Superconference. This year, we received over 140 proposals for a few dozen speaking slots. Although we’re still working through the proposals, today we can announce a few of the accepted and confirmed speakers so far. Below you’ll find about a third of the total slate of speakers.

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  • AND!XOR // Applied Engineering for More Than Just Fun and Bling

    The AND!XOR crew has made a name for themselves over the last several years by producing unofficial hardware badges that are beyond compare. The team are experts at hardware design and manufacture, puzzle design and implementation, and building a community (some would say mythos) around the #badgelife culture.

  • Danielle Applestone // How to Beckon a Robotic Workforce

    Danielle Applestone is CEO of Bantam Tools (formerly known as Other Machine Co.), a Berkeley-based, manufacturer of desktop CNC milling machines. Danielle’s team took technology developed for DARPA and launched that company, which was then acquired by former MakerBot CEO and co-founder, Bre Pettis. Danielle has a B.S. in chemical engineering from MIT and a PhD in materials science and engineering from the UT Austin. She is a member of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows. Her talk of Founding a Hardware Startup was a hit at the 2015 Supercon and this year she discussing making it easier for non-technical people to learn how to design, build, and run robots, without formal education.

  • Erika Earl // Manufacturing Hacks: Mistakes Will Move You Forward

    Erika is a self-taught Audio Engineer with a decade of experience in designing, servicing, and maintaining audio electronics for professional recording studios. Her career highlights include Director of Hardware Engineering at Slate Digital, Head of Technology / Sr. Technical Engineer at LA’s legendary The Village Recording Studios, a position on The Advisory Council for the Producers & Engineering Wing of The Recording Academy, and a volunteer Hardware Engineer for the Mind Makers Project.

  • Bradley Gawthrop // Wiring Boot Camp

    Bradley Gawthrop is a general purpose electronics geek and tinker who spent the last decade designing, building and installing electric pipe organs, and the control systems which make them work. He eventually came to his senses. Benefit from his ten years of experience wiring large and elaborate installations by learning the tools, materials, and skills you need to do cables right (even for prototypes!).

  • Mike Harrison // Flying Liquid Crystal Displays

    Also known as mikeselectricstuff, Mike Harrison is best known for epic tear downs of insane equipment on YouTube. His day job is designing custom electronics for art and architectural installations. This work is often under time constraints impossible for mere mortals and calls for solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. His talk will dive into one such example from his recent adventures. Mike stunned the audience at the Hackaday | Belgrade conference with his Eidophor live projection technology which has been all but lost to history.

  • Ara Kourchians & Steve Collins // Extraterrestrial Autonomous Landing Systems

    Ara Kourchians is a Robotics Engineer at JPL with an extensive background in high altitude ballooning, DeLorean time machines, self-balancing robots, omnidirectional drive systems, flight controllers, UAV’s, and Mars watches. Steve Collins is an Attitude Control Engineer at JPL who drives spacecraft around the solar system and last year shared some of what can go wrong. The two will cover what goes into building smart and robust landing systems capable of localizing and avoiding hazards including various lander technologies, specifically JPL’s COBALT project and the many adventures of field-testing with VTOL rockets.

  • Syd Mead // Keynote

    Syd Mead is an American “visual futurist”, industrial designer and a neo-futuristic concept artist. You know his work well if you’ve even loosely followed Sci-Fi movies over the past several decades like Blade RunnerAlienTronElysium, and many more. Syd’s work is especially interesting to us because it is future technology that actually gets build in the sets and practical effects that went into each and every film.

  • Rose Meyers // Internet of Robots

    Rose is a robotics enthusiast and software engineer who would love to have as many robots on the web as there are webpages. She finds the easiest path to this goal is to combine the use of ubiquitous tools: Raspberry Pi, Johny-five,, Node, Javascript, and HTML.

  • Sarah Petkus // The Imperfect Probe: Personally Expressive Machines and Why Nonsense Matters

    A kinetic artist, roboticist, writer, and illustrator from Las Vegas, Sarah Petkus produces mechanical sculptures that execute nonsensical functions inspired by human qualities. She also illustrates a web comic about a post-human world, in which the machines and technology humans have created are left speculating about what “art” was. Sarah was an artist in residence at European Space Agency’s technical facility this summer where she produced appendages which are caricatures of the scientific instruments used in space exploration.

  • Natalya Staritskaya // Applying Acceptance Tests to Hardware

    Natalya Staritskaya is a Product Manager with five years of experience specializing in the intersection of hardware and software. In the software realm acceptance tests are well established, but not to the same extent when it comes to hardware. Learning how to design to the test in hardware, and how to create better partnerships between hardware and software teams is a clear path to a more reliable development method.

  • Christine Sunu // Biomimicry and the Machine: Using Psych and Bio to Bring Robots to Life

    Christine Sunu is a tech mercenary who left medicine to work at the intersection of life and machine. She builds rapid prototypes, aligns tech strategies, and creates trending content for companies. She has a partial medical degree, a writing degree, a GE fellowship, and a lot of experience building evocative, effective interfaces. Christine lives in a castle in Los Angeles, where she works on internet connected things, odd storytelling interfaces, and biomimicry by machine.

  • Ashwin K Whitchurch // Are We Ready for Open Source Healthcare and Medical Devices?

    Ashwin K Whitchurch is a hacker at heart. Since the beginning of his research in college, Ashwin realized how medical devices can benefit from open source and has continued that passion ever since. He holds an M.Sc. in Software Engineering from Bharathiar University, India and an M.S. in Microelectronic-Photonics from University of Arkansas. His research while at Penn State and Arkansas included nanotech, biotech and medical devices. Ashwin is currently involved with building open source medical devices at ProtoCentral, a small company based in India.

  • Alan Yates // Getting Started with Vacuum Technology

    Alan Yates’ day job is making VR tracking systems, but he tries to put aside a bit of time on the weekends for other geeky projects. At the 2016 Hackaday Superconference he wowed the audience with the complexity of both the problems and solutions used by Valve’s Lighthouse tracking technology. This year he returns to discuss the lesson he learned while teaching himself some basic glass blowing and experimenting with vacuum electrical devices. Gas discharge tubes, incandescent light bulbs, vacuum diodes and triodes are all accessible to the maker with only some basic equipment.

We’re still reaching out to accepted talk presenters so if you submitted a proposal and haven’t heard from us please sit tight. We’ll be announcing more talks next week, as well as workshops. Make sure to get your tickets today, they will sell out!

Superconference goes far beyond these excellent talks; it’s a hardware village! We’re once again hard at work on an electronic badge for all attendees. Mike Harrison is hard at work on designing the badge this year, and we have plans to start a steady, addictive, drip of badge details as the Superconference draws near. New in 2017, we’re adding some Friday activities that will include early badge pickup and hacking — and a party if you can tear yourself away from this delightful custom hardware.

7 thoughts on “Superconference Speakers Revealed

    1. I’d also like to see more details about the schedule–not just Friday, but Saturday/Sunday too.

      I hate to admit it but until today’s marketing email I didn’t even realize this event was going on.

      I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the cost of flights, tickets and lodging since I’m on the other side of the country–

      Is this a bit like a PAX, or a boat show, but geared for the hackaday audience–Meaning you mostly will wander a show floor seeing cool stuff and can duck in and out of side rooms and halls for some lectures/presentations? Or is it more like a traditional conference where the true value and meat of the content is in attending specific talks and workshops, but there’s less focus on free form wandering?

      1. I’ve never been to PAX or a boat show, but last year’s Supercon was packed with presentations and workshops so there wasn’t much time to wander around or get bored.

        Workshops cost extra but the sponsors make them a good way to get your hands on some Cheap Cool Stuff(TM).

        I was a bit disappointed that some presentations that I would have liked to see were scheduled at the same time, and there were also a few workshops that I didn’t get to do because there was another workshop at the same time. But I wasn’t bored for a minute.

        There was catering so all meals were taken care off (nobody had to wander off to eat) and there were plenty of opportunities to meet others that you may or may not have heard of, and to get together and hack something like the conference badge.

        Is it worth the $256? That’s up to you. I understand if you have to add a hotel and a cross-country flight, it gets to be a little less exciting than if you, say, win a free ticket in a contest and live in driving distance (like I did). But even before I got the free ticket, I had a paid ticket (which I returned; I spent the money on workshops instead). And I thought it was money well spent. I have great memories, got a great deal of inspiration, learned a thing or two and I still have the Cool Stuff that I referred to earlier.


        1. Hi Jac,

          Thanks for sharing your experiences–

          I didn’t realize that certain parts of the show required add’l payments (workshops), about how much did those run each?

          The frustrating thing for me is lack of understanding about what is being offered, aside from the current list of speakers.

          In general it all sounds pretty interesting, and I’d buy a ticket on speculation of a good time if I were local, but until I get an idea of the schedules and workshop costs I probably won’t commit to go, and by then it may be too late.

          Hopefully HaD will release some of these add’l details soon.


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