Hackaday serves up Fresh Hacks Every Day from around the Internet. Our playful posts are the gold-standard in entertainment for engineers and engineering enthusiasts.
We are taking back the term “Hacking” which has been soured in the public mind. Hacking is an art form that uses something in a way in which it was not originally intended. This highly creative activity can be highly technical, simply clever, or both. Hackers bask in the glory of building it instead of buying it, repairing it rather than trashing it, and raiding their junk bins for new projects every time they can steal a few moments away.
Our front page is a mix of hacks from around the community as well as our own original content. We strive to promote the free and open exchange of ideas and information. We educate those just learning the art of Hack, and provide inspiration for the seasoned veterans. Don’t be shy; if you want to show off your project, or have found something cool of someone else’s that deserves sharing, send us a link!
But don’t just read Hackaday — you should delve deeper into the community. Document your work on our hosting site at Hackaday.io. Tell the world about your interests and show off the stuff you’ve already built. Start a build log for that project you’ve been dreaming of recently. Make some friends and collaborate with them on a project. Get lost digging through mountains of gnarly hacks.
[Mike Szczys]: Managing Editor
Mike is an Orchestra Musician by night and a writer by day. His entrance into electronics started with BEAM robot builds but quickly moved into the realm of embedded systems. He spends his waking hours chasing down new tricks performed through clever application of existing hardware. This has suited him well since joining Hackaday.com in 2009. He has an unquenchable thirst for seeing future technology become reality before his eyes — a drive perfectly suited for the hardware hacking universe.
[Brian Benchoff]: Contributing Editor
Writes for hackaday.
[Adam Fabio]: Community Editor
Adam has a degree in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Stony Brook. While at school, he was a founding member of the Stony Brook robot design team. He helped design David and Rogue, six legged robots that competed in the SAE walking machine decathlon.It’s often said that Adam has been taking things apart since he was old enough to hold a screwdriver. Sometimes he even gets them back together. Adam’s day job is designing embedded software for Radar and Air Traffic Control systems. He also spends time working on the hardware for these systems. It was this merging of hardware and software that lead to his personal site – The Renaissance Engineer. When he’s not at work, Adam can often be found in his basement lab working on anything from 3D printers to quadcopters to pulse oximeters. Some of his current projects have taken him back to his robotic roots, designing robots for students and education.
[Elliot Williams]: Contributing Editor
Let me tell you a little bit about Elliot Williams. He’s the kind of guy who uses a 1990’s 5″ hard drive platter as a scroll wheel. The kind of guy whose oscilloscope cost just a tiny bit less than his last two cars combined. He’s the kind of guy who stays up late debugging home-brew PCBs for random synthesizer modules or figuring out why that interrupt routine isn’t firing. He loves to see projects that are either ultra-minimalist — cleverly squeezing every ounce of performance out of some cheap silicon — or so insanely over the top that they dazzle you with overkill. In short, Elliot’s one of us.
After spending eight great years in Washington DC teaching econometrics and working on inflation by day and running a hackerspace by night, Elliot handed in his badge, moved to Munich and started writing as a hacker. Writing his first book — Make: AVR Programming — took a lot longer than you’d think. Now he’s pleased as punch to be writing as much possible for Hackaday.
[Joe Kim]: Art Director
Joe is an artist/designer from all over California. Since graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena he’s created images for Disney, McDonalds, Sony, and many more. He is now pushing pixels full time for Supplyframe and the Hackaday team.
- Personal site: Transitory Obsession
[Al Williams]: Staff Writer
Al was in love with computers and ham radio before the Altair 8800 arrived. In the intervening years he’s designed hardware and software systems ranging from tiny embedded sensors to mainframe build systems. He’s been an editor or columnist for several magazines including Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written numerous books on hardware and software topics. He has a strong passion for digital design, especially implementing CPUs on FPGAs. When he isn’t soldering or programming, you might find Al at a local high school teaching kids about engineering or riding his Can Am Spyder in the sweltering summer heat.
[Jenny List]: Staff Writer
Jenny List trained as an electronic engineer but spent twenty years in the publishing industry working on everything from computer games to
dictionaries before breaking out and returning to her roots.
She grew up around her parents’ small farm and blacksmith business in rural England, so making (and breaking) things is in her blood. Countless projects have crossed her bench over the years, though these days you’ll find her working with electronics and in particular radio, textiles for clothing and costume, decrepit classic cars, and real
cider from first principles.
When she’s not writing for Hackaday she works on language corpus analysis software, designs and sells amateur radio kits, sits on the board of Oxford Hackspace, and is a freelance electronic design engineer and programmer.
[Dan Maloney]: Staff Writer
Dan has been a tinkerer since the days when Radio Shack still issued an annual paper catalog. Scientist by training but developer by necessity, Dan left his Ph.D. program with a Master’s in biology when he realized that automating his experiments and data capture was far more interesting that the ribosomal whooziewhatsis he was supposed to be studying. His day job now is to keep the R&D pipeline filled at a Major Pharmaceutical Company by automating experiments and data capture. What goes around comes around.
The remainder of Dan’s time is spent homesteading and trying to pry enough productivity out of 10 acres of New England glacial till and forest to sustain his family. While not remotely close to it yet, his goal is to free himself from the systems of support and build regenerative systems that require as few inputs as possible, which tweaks his hacker instincts as he searches for ways to automate his homestead as much as possible. He also enjoys cosplaying with his children, although we doubt he’ll ever admit to it.
[Bil Herd]: Video Producer
Bil Herd is a self-taught engineer who started as a licensed TV/CB Repairman in his teens. By the age of 24 he was working as a senior design engineer for Commodore Business Machines in the mid 1980’s where he is best known for home computers including the Commodore C128 and Plus4/264 series of home computers. Bil continued to design hardware until the mid-1990’s having co-authored a high speed/machine vision patent, when he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and has since founded several networking and software design companies.
Bil attributes his design style and his intuitive understanding of electronics to having come up through the ranks of troubleshooting. He loves the part of engineering that can be scary: analog circuits, ground loops, RFI/EMI, RF and high speed digital/FPGA. Having designed complex products that had production runs in the millions Bil tends to see a design as a living ecosystem and believes that a good designer needs to be both meticulous and artistic.
Bils’s upcoming website is Herdware.com (referring to an Easter Egg embedded in the C128), where he hopes to figure out and join the Open Source Hardware community as an active member.
[Eric Evenchick]: Contributor
Eric is finishing up a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. During his time at Waterloo, he’s been involved with the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (www.uwaft.com), developing electronics and controls systems for hybrid vehicle powertrains. He has also had some fun making things go boom, and occasionally upwards, with the Waterloo Rocketry Team (uwrocketry.blogspot.ca).His co-op placements have given him the chance to develop production hardware and firmware. He designed a vehicle data logger while at CrossChasm Technologies, and worked on the first ever over-the-air firmware upgrade for a car at Tesla Motors.
[James Hobson]: Contributor
James has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering with a focus on Mechanical Systems and Automation. He works by day as a Mechanical Designer for a company that designs and builds plastic injection molding machines in Toronto, Ontario. While he has been breaking making things all his life, his first major foray into the world of hacking was when he and a friend converted a 1993 Honda Del Sol to electric using the guts of an electric forklift. He’s an avid YouTube producer and loves to make real, working prototypes of movie props and other fictional items. You might know him as the Hacksmith; a jack-of-all trades maker/tinkerer, armed with a 3D printer and the tools of a machinist.
[Kristina Panos]: Contributor
Kristina has an Electronics Technology degree and 15 years of experience in Telecommunications Engineering. She relishes the power to order high-bandwidth circuitry and to add domestic and international dialing capability to all the DIDs on a given PRI. In an attempt to satisfy her right brain, she likes to make things out of various materials.She has never, ever built a blue box, but managed to overcome astigmatism in her left eye without even trying.
[Aleksandar Bradic]: Contributor-at-Large
Alek is still figuring it all out, but has been around for a while. Started out as Linux systems/embedded engineer, he spent most of his career so far playing with challenges at the intersection of infrastructure (large-scale/high-performance stuff), algorithms (search, crypto) and data (signal processing, machine learning). He holds Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, MSc in Computer Science and MSc in Statistics. He’s obsessed with computation, art and building unnecessary complex things. Also noise. In his real life, he’s the CTO and overlord-in-residence at Supplyframe.
[Will Sweatman]: Contributor
Will is very lucky to have a day job that fits into his hobby of hacking. He travels all over the country to some of the most prestigious universities and largest corporations to repair scientific instruments. He brings back faulty parts and uses them in all kinds of neat projects. Will has been hacking since 2008, and mostly enjoys reverse engineering hardware and firmware. One of his favorite hacks is to take animatronic toys and make them say things they were never supposed to. He has done two high altitude balloon projects, and he really wants to push this area further. You can do some cool stuff up there.
[Jasmine Brackett]: Hackaday.io Community Manager
Before moving to sunny SoCal from the UK, Jasmine managed charity and museum websites while studying Theatrical Costume Making. She hates to see things go to waste and loves reuse and re-purpose items that normally go to landfill. When she is not looking after the Hackaday.io Community, she likes to combine her historical costume construction skills with electronics, and helps out with collaborative art projects.
[Gregory Charvat]: Contributor-at-Large
Gregory L. Charvat, Ph.D is author of Small and Short-Range Radar Systems, visiting research scientist at Camera Culture Group Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, co-founder of Hyperfine Research Inc. and Butterfly Network Inc., editor of the Gregory L. Charvat Series on Practical Approaches to Electrical Engineering, and guest commentator on CNN, CBS, Sky News, and others. He was a technical staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory from September 2007 to November 2011, where his work on through-wall radar won best paper at the 2010 MSS Tri-Services Radar Symposium and is an MIT Office of the Provost 2011 research highlight. He has taught short radar courses at MIT, where his Build a Small Radar course was the top-ranked MIT professional education course in 2011 and has become widely adopted by other universities, laboratories, and private organizations. Starting at an early age, Greg developed numerous radar systems, rail SAR imaging sensors, phased array radar systems; holds several patents; and has developed many other sensors and radio and audio equipment. He has authored numerous publications and received a great deal of press for his work. Greg earned a Ph.D in electrical engineering in 2007, MSEE in 2003, and BSEE in 2002 from Michigan State University, and is a senior member of the IEEE, where he served on the steering committee for the 2010, 2013, and 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology and chaired the IEEE AP-S Boston Chapter from 2010-2011.
[Bryan Cockfield]: Contributor
Bryan is an electrical engineer by trade, working on high voltage systems in the electric power industry. Outside of work, you can find him tinkering with a variety of projects from solar panels to old Volkswagens. You might also see him surfing if you happen to be on a beach in south Florida.
[Joshua Vasquez]: Contributor
Joshua picked up his engineering degree from Harvey Mudd College and currently keeps busy writing software for a bio-lab-automation company. Back in the day, he co-founded Mudd’s FabStudio Maker Club and gave life to GameCube-Bot in the underground machine shops. By night, he’s probably either etching circuit boards or happily banging his head against FPGAs.
[Sophi Kravitz]: Technical Marketing Director
Sophi is equal parts electronics engineer and tech-artist. She designs electronics for both creative projects and pure science applications. Formerly a special FX and bloody severed props designer for movies, she eventually got a degree in Electrical Engineering. Most recently on the art side of things she has been working with creating experiences in Virtual Reality, and on the science side of things, working with soft robotics. Her earliest projects include a 12-foot diameter foam cake for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and animatronic puppets.
[Anool Mahidharia]: Contributor
Anool is an Electrical Engineer, working in the field of Test & Measurement at Lumetronics. When not working at his day job, he dabbles in Astronomy, Origami, Photography, Tinkering, Hacking, and Cycling. His choice for the daily commute in Mumbai are his bicycles. He is one of the founders duo of WyoLum Emergents – a global group of Open Hardware enthusiasts. Between all of his hobbies and cycling, he manages to discuss and create original Open Source circuit boards and projects. As a master of digital design, Anool is the driving force behind WyoLum projects. He is also the co-founder of Makers’ Asylum – one of India’s first community driven Maker Spaces. Anool lives in Mumbai with his wife – Samata (who is also an avid Maker) and son – Hearsh.
[Voja Antonic]: Contributor-at-Large
Voja Antonic works as a freelance microcontroller engineer in Belgrade. His first microprocessor projects, based on Z80, date back to 1977, just a few years after the appearance of the first Intel’s 4004. He assembled the firmware manually, by pen and paper. In 1983, he published his original DIY microcomputer project called Galaksija, which was built by around 8000 enthusiasts in the former Yugoslavia. To date he has published more than 50 projects, mostly based on microcontrollers, and released all of them in the public domain.
[Nava Whiteford]: Contributor
Nava can broadly be defined as “a breaker of things”. He has previously been occupied in breaking algorithms for use in DNA sequence analysis, breaking various aspects of DNA sequencer development, and most recently managing a team breaking things as CTO of a Japanese solid-state nanopore DNA sequencing company. Currently Nava works as a consultant for the Biotech industry, where he continues to apply his extensive experience in breaking things, before fixing them (sometimes with beneficial results). On the side he runs a small shop selling electronics kits (www.whitefordresearch.com). He particularly enjoys science based hacks, and is always keen to hear about your projects.
[Richard Baguley]: Contributor
Richard Baguley is a veteran technology writer who has been covering how technology affects peoples lives since before the Internet was cool. His writing has appeared in places such as Amiga Format, Internet Magazine, PC World, Toms Guide and Wired.
[Rud Merriam]: Contributor
Rud is a retired software engineer with decades of experience with embedded systems including the management of projects and supervision of development teams. This work utilized his hobby electronics experience – vacuum tubes to contemporary microsystems – in debugging hardware (!) and software. He began programming with FORTRAN in 1968 modeling the water flow in river basins. Since then he developed a system to measure the power cross-section of a high-power laser beam, led the software team for a programmable pipeline flow computer, and served as the Engineering Manager on the executive team for a startup that provided satellite communications for pipeline measurement and control. He’s also participated in creating an international standard for controlling server and desktop systems.
In 2011 he used his personal web site to document an analysis of NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge and in 2013 competed in the challenge with 3 rovers. One rover traveled further on the field than any rover in the previous two runnings of the competition. NASA and the judge’s recognized his efforts by citing it for technological innovation.
He continues to work with robots large and small. He is working on integrating Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and PC systems in his larger robots.
In addition, he is an Amateur Radio Operator to provide communications during emergency incidents and local public service events. Rud has written for numerous magazines such as Software Development, Embedded Systems Programming and PC Magazine.
[Gerrit Coetzee]: Contributor
Gerrit is a design engineer specializing in product design and prototyping. He studied mechanical and electrical engineering before moving into industry where he worked in the chemical industry and then renewables. Now he lives in Bellingham, WA and hacks full time.
[Bob Baddeley]: Contributor
Bob is a computer engineer who has been involved in the hardware startup community since 2011. When he’s not building the next greatest IoT products, he’s actively involved in his local hackerspace Sector67 in Madison, WI.
[Moritz Walter]: Contributor
Moritz is a media technology engineer who helps startups to build amazing products beyond the backlog. After years of bringing startups, from IoT over wearable technology to 3D printing, over the finishing line, he has somewhat become an all-in-one mechanical/computer/electronics engineer plus jack of all trades. Moritz loves code, electronics, and heavy machinery and is an active member of the Attraktor Makerspace Hamburg.
[Donald Papp]: Contributor
Donald specializes in electronic design and hardware for startups, entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists through his company AE Innovations. He has always been interested in not only making new things, but also in sharing what he learned. He has a special interest in automation and desktop fabrication, the budding technologies that close the vast gap between making dozens versus thousands of something.
[Steven Dufresne]: Contributor
Steve is a lifelong maker, amateur scientist and teaching addict, getting his start with his own workbench beside his father’s in the basement making spaceship miniatures and movie props from scratch. Originally a self-taught programmer of BASIC and assembler on a TRS-80, he has a Computer Science degree from the University of Ottawa. Career-wise, in addition to programming, he’s traveled the world teaching engineers how to write applications with QNX, been a solar installer, and now spends much of the time making stuff and publishing it through his RimstarOrg YouTube channel and rimstar.org website.
Cameron Coward is an author, blogger, mechanical designer, web developer, 3D printing enthusiast, geek, Bear Grylls wannabe, and diehard fan of lists. When he’s not rambling online, he can be found building robots, tinkering with cars and motorcycles, or exploring the mountains of Colorado.
Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker, and journalist. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.
[Manuel Rodriguez-Achach]: Contributor
Manuel’s interest in science is due to his grandfather who worked in electronics, but for Manuel it has remained more of a hobby. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, and a PhD in physics and works as a University Professor. Manuel’s spare time is spent working in his shop building all kind of contraptions: mechanical, electrical and simple circuits. Some of them are just for fun, but he also uses them in his teaching and on his YouTube channel, “Ludic Science”.
[Rich Hawkes]: Contributor
Rich has been writing software since he got his first computer and decided to make it into a career. He’s now a software developer who works in the video game industry. He got into electronics by building guitar pedals, tweaking and modding them as he went. From there he got into Arduino and microcontrollers. Using these, he learned he could control things with a combination of hardware and software. He’s been very interested in the intersection of DIY electronics, games, and music for years and has several projects on the go. Currently, his dining room table is littered with various development boards, sensors, motors and flashing LEDs, much to the chagrin of those in his house who’d like to have dinner.
Where’s everyone else?
There has been a long list of great Editors and Contributors to Hackaday. It was simply a huge pain in the butt to try to gather them all up. Some people only wrote a couple of hacks, and some return every couple of years. Only our current staff is listed above.
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