Latest Dose Of Hardware Talks Headed To Supercon

The tickets have sold out even as the list of incredible speakers grows. Today we bring you the third dose of talks you’ll see at the Hackaday Superconference in November — whether you were lucky enough to grab a ticket, or will be watching the livestream, these eight will be speaking on topics from algorithmically-augmented live music performance to the hardware that captures the real world for display in VR and from leveraging the power of lookup tables to harnessing our engineering talent in a way that truly enriches humanity.

If you missed the two speaker announcements that have already come out, go back and take a look at those as well as the workshops being held during Supercon.

The Talks (Part Three of Many)


  • Mitch Altman

    The Pros and Cons of Tech. Can We Design Tech that Serves Humanity

    Technology is truly awesome! It is also a lot of fun. With the tools we, as humans, have made through the eons, we’ve become top-dog on our planet. But, at a great cost. It is mostly accepted that we have only 5 years to reverse climate change. How long till we no longer have any privacy. We have little time for anything but work because of all of our addictive and alienating “time-saving” devices we voluntarily choose to have in our lives. People report being less happy each decade. Soon, only 2% of the world’s wealth will be concentrated in only 0.1% of the population. The military uses anything and everything we create to spy, destroy, and kill for profit. This is not a pretty picture. What can we do? Is it possible to create technology to improve our lives? In this inspirational talk I will use personal experience to explore aspects of this important discussion.


  • Sara Adkins

    Creating with the Machine: Algorithmic Composition for Live Performances

    In a live concert setting, the movement and energy of performers add an important emotional element to the audience’s listening experience. Computer-generated music can achieve unique sounds and precise technique not possible by human musicians, yet it can feel alienating and impersonal due to a lack of human connection and spontaneity. “Creating with the Machine” is a set of compositions that combine algorithmic and traditional methods of music composition into live performances to explore how interactive generative algorithms can influence creativity in musical improvisation, and create a compelling listening experience for the audience. In this talk, I will introduce techniques for creating a meaningful data representation of a musician’s performance, and methods for using this input data to control a closed loop algorithmic composition.


  • Kate Morris

    Beyond Blinky – Retro-Game Development for Conference Badges

    So, you’ve done some badge coding, maybe using Arduino, and are looking for the next step to write interactive games using a TFT screen and some buttons and sensors? Using the open-source for the Lunar Lander badge (built for DEF CON 27) I will explain how we created the framework and how you can adapt it to write your own games for this badge or for your own conference badge. We’ll step through the process for developing a new game, and discuss some of the challenges we had in creating the Lunar Lander game.


  • Dave Young

    Scrounging, Sipping, and Seeing Power

    Powering low power and ultra-low power systems is more about system design than circuit design. Selecting the right power source, using the power effectively, and then validating that the power numbers are as expected is critical at an early stage since changes may trigger a system redesign (or product failure). I will review some of the typical design decisions to make, some general back-of-the-envelope figures, and some techniques on how to plan the power use and validate a prototype. We’ll discuss questions like: How can I decide if I should be on a primary battery, solar, or kinetic energy system? How can I estimate the total usable energy from a solar panel given real-world conditions? Do I need MPPT? And how can I estimate my total energy consumption?


  • Ruth Grace Wong

    How to become a manufacturing engineer in your spare time

    It’s one thing to prototype something for yourself, and entirely another to productionize a product for manufacturing. This talk is about my quest to become a manufacturing engineer. In the summer of 2016, I decided that I would do software at scale at my full time job, and hardware and objects at scale in my spare time. Since then, I’ve worked on many personal projects to get the intuitive physical feel for how things are made while documenting what I’ve learned, started writing about manufacturing for Supplyframe Hardware allowing me to tour factories and interview manufacturers, and started working part-time as a manufacturing engineer.


  • Kim Pimmel

    Beyond the Rectangle: Building Cameras for the Immersive Future

    Ever since the earliest days of photography, we’ve tried to capture and play back the world around us. Today, immersive technologies like AR and VR are pushing beyond the 2D image, seeking to replicate more and more of the human experience. This is driving growth in new imaging, sensory, and display technologies.

  • Learn about some cameras I’ve made, trends in camera technology, and how building the Matrix is hard.

  • Scott Shawcroft

    Supercharge Your Hardware (Old and New) with CircuitPython

    CircuitPython makes programming hardware easier than ever by bringing the popular Python language to modern, inexpensive 32-bit microcontrollers. This doesn’t need to be limited to modern hardware though. By pairing a modern microcontroller running CircuitPython and a vintage computer, such as a GameBoy or Yamaha piano keyboard, you can unlock the unique characteristics of these vintage devices. In this talk, you’ll learn the basics of how CircuitPython makes coding easy, how it works under the hood, and how to extend CircuitPython with C. As an example, we’ll supercharge a Nintendo’s GameBoy with CircuitPython. By the end of the talk, you’ll be able to supercharge your own hardware project with CircuitPython.


  • Charles Lohr

    Accomplishing the Impossible with LUTs.

  • I’ve done some very bizarre and extreme things with microcontrollers over the last several years. From bit-banging (Tx and Rx) Ethernet on an ATtiny85 broadcasting video from an ESP8266 GPIO pin to writing USB stacks for chips that don’t have them, the most insane and counter-intuitive projects that have been successes have all had one thing in common. At the heart of the project is one or more lookup tables (LUTs). In computer science classes, we study algorithms like Dynamic Programming and we hear about LUTs, but we rarely discuss the true power of this game-changing tool. In this talk I will explore how to reform complicated problems in such a way to do processing faster and on smaller processors than you ever thought possible.

 

See You at Supercon!

We’re so excited to see everyone at Supercon this year. As mentioned above, tickets are sold out so if something comes up and you can’t make it, please request a ticket refund so we can make your spot available to people on the waitlist.

Hackaday Podcast 039: Elliot <3 Lightning Detectors, Ikea Dark Mode, The Smartest Watch, Solar Sailing The Sky, And VAWT Controversy

Hackaday Editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys recap a week full of hacks from the solar sailing RC plane that has zero power storage, to geeking out about lightning detectors and hacking Ikea LED controllers to unlock real dimming to building backyard wind turbines. We look up an IoT egg tray with appreciation not for the concept but certainly for the engineering, and scratch our heads on why one-hacker-smartwatch-to-rule-them-all seems like something that should happen but so far has only been a fleeting concept.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (68 MB)

Places to follow Hackaday podcasts:

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Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day By Catching Up On Stories Of Science And Technology

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate and encourage women in the fields of science and technology.

It’s a perfect time to look back and catch up on biographies of some incredible people whose stories have been featured over the past year. You’ll find a ton of those below, but while we have your attention we wanted to make an appeal to help shine some light onto those stories we have yet to feature in our Profiles in Science series. Let us know about women whose stories you’d like to see on Hackaday in the coming year by leaving a comment below. Of course, it’s not just today, we’re always looking for suggestions and the tips line is always open.

Getting a rocket engine off of the launch pad is itself a tricky proposition, but reaching an orbital velocity is an entirely different story. During the space race, the US was on the lookout for a fuel that could do the trick, and the answers came from a chemist who grew up in a small town in North Dakota then started a college degree before for a job at Plumb Brook Ordnance Works. Mary Sherman Morgan came through with the formulation for Hydyne that powered the Redstone Rocket project.

Continue reading “Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day By Catching Up On Stories Of Science And Technology”

More Supercon Talks Taking The Hardware World By Storm

You’re going to love the talks at the Hackaday Superconference this November. The ultimate hardware conference is all about hardware creation. The ten speakers below join the talks we announced last week and that’s still not even half of what you’ll see on the stages of Supercon. Add to that the superb workshops we announced early this week and you begin to ask yourself just how much awesome can really fit into a single weekend. Well, it’s three full days and we’d recommend arriving the day before for the unofficial festivities too!

Of course, you’ll need a ticket to ride. At the time of writing there were some available (we’ve left the teens and are headed for single digits), but no guarantee there will be any left when this article is published. We’ll be maintaining a waiting list though, so if you’re sitting on a ticket you just can’t use, please return it so someone else can take your spot.

Enough delay, let’s see what talks await us at 2019 Supercon!

The Talks (Part Two of Many)


  • Shelley Green

    Pressure connections: crimping isn’t as simple as you thought.

    Crimping is generally defined as the joining of two conductors by mechanical forces. At first, the process appears to be rather simple. However, deeper investigations reveal complex dynamics that operate at macroscopic, microscopic, and nanoscales. I will cover the basic theory for pressure connections, examine the role of mechanical properties for both conductivity and tensile strength, look at oxides and surface films, and consider the design challenges for tooling, testing, and validation of crimp quality.


  • Mike Harrison

    Everything I’ve Learnt About LEDs.

    LEDs are not all created alike. I will cover a wide range of practical techniques involved in using LEDs, in particular in the context of large-scale installations, hower much of it will be equally applicable to smaller projects. Topics include suitable LED types, drive circuitry, dimming techniques, gamma correction. There will be live demonstrations illustrating many of the areas covered.


  • Kerry Scharfglass

    Basic Device Security for Basic Needs

    It feels like every day we hear about an unbelievable new security vulnerability that allows an attacker to spy on your dog through a connected light bulb or program your toaster oven remotely. Some of these are quite elaborate, requiring researchers years to track down. But others are total no-brainers; “why didn’t the manufacturer just do X!”. In our IoT-ified world device security is more important than ever, but not every hardware product needs to be secured like an ATM inside a missile. I will discuss basic design practices and implementation tricks which are easy to incorporate into your product and provide a solid baseline of security against casual adversaries.


  • Sophy Wong

    Made With Machines: 3D Printing & Laser Cutting for Wearable Electronics

    Building tech for the human body is tricky! Whether it’s a fitness tracker or a costume, making hardware comfortable and durable enough to wear is a fascinating design challenge. I like to tackle this challenge with the help of machines! In this talk, I’ll share my recent projects that use 3D printing and laser cutting to create wearable tech with precision and high impact. I’ll talk about the design process and build techniques for using 3D printing and laser cutting to create custom parts that are comfortable and perfect for wearables.


  • Jen Costillo

    The Future is Us: Why the Open Source And Hobbyist Community Will Drive Hi-Tech Consumer Products

    Where did we the OSHW and hobbyist community come from and what have we accomplished? The truth is we are driving modern consumer electronics industry. From prototyping, to tools to media and training, we have changed it all. I’ll talk about the reasons why, our impact and our future, as well as how to avoid becoming what the older industry is: obsolete.


  • Timothy Ansell

    Xilinx Series 7 FPGAs Now Have a Fully Open Source Toolchain!

    You should be super excited about FPGAs and how they allow open source projects to do hardware development. In this talk I will cover a basic introduction into what an FPGA is and can do, what an FPGA toolchain is, and how much things sucked when the only option was to use proprietary toolchains. The SymbiFlow project changed this and I’ll discuss what is currently supported including a demo of Linux on a RISC-V core with a cheap Xilinx FPGA development board.


  • Chris Gammell

    Gaining RF Knowledge: An Analog Engineer Dives into RF Circuits

    Starting my engineering career working on low level analog measurement, anything above 1kHz kind of felt like “high frequency”. This is very obviously not the case. I’ll go over the journey of discovering and rediscovering higher frequency techniques and squaring them with the low level measurement basics that I learned at the beginning my career. This will include a discussion of Maxwell’s equations and some of the assumptions that we make when we’re working on different types of circuits. You will find this information useful in the context of RF calculations around cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth and other commonly available communication methods.


  • Shanni Prutchi and Jeff Woods

    Adventures in Building Secure Networks from Blockchain Transactions

    In our talk, we will show how we designed and built a message authentication system operating on ADANA (Automated Detection of Anomalous Network Activity) and Hyperledger (a “smart contract” form of Blockchain) all hosted on just two servers that were no longer being used by Rowan College. The system was built using Docker, syslog-ng, Hyperledger Fabric and Composer, and a beta version of Splunk. This system is accessible by nodes wired into the network which interact with the hyperledger through a web browser. We’ll present the infrastructure of the network, details of the hyperledger, an explanation of all the tools used by the system, a walkthrough of how the system works, reflections on the particular challenges of this project, and what we see in the future of this technology.


  • John McMaster

    Replicating a Secure Telephone Key

    The STU-III secure telephone was originally developed by the NSA for defense use in the 1980’s but also saw use in unclassified commercial products like the Motorola Sectel 9600\. However, they require difficult to find electromechanical keys. I will describe the process of creating a compatible key for the Sectel 9600 by reverse engineering the mechanical and electrical design and subsequently fabricating it. Along the way I’ll discuss low volume manufacturing issues and strategies to overcome.

 

We Want You!

Don’t miss out. One weekend as one of so many amazing people will inspire you and recharge your creative batteries for the coming year of hardware hacking. See you at Supercon!

Hackaday Podcast 038: Cyberdecks Taking Over, Resin 3D-Printing Vs FDM, Silicone Injection Molding, And The Pickle Fork Fiasco

Hackaday Editors Tom Nardi and Mike Szczys comb through their favorite hacks from the past week. We loved Donald Papp’s article on considerations before making the leap from FDM 3D Printers to a resin-based process, and we solidify our thoughts on curing cement in low-gravity. Tom’s working on a Cyberdeck build, and he also found an ancient episode of an earlier and much different version of the Hackaday podcast. We’re impressed with a mostly 3D-printed useless machine, a thermal-insert press that’s also 3D-printed, and the Raspberry-Pi based Sidekick clone that popped up this week. A DIY wire-bending robot is an incredible build, as is the gorgeous wire-routing in a mechanical keyboard, and the filigree work on this playing card press. Plus you need to spend some time getting lost in this one hydrogen-line telescope project.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (53.5 MB)

Places to follow Hackaday podcasts:

Continue reading “Hackaday Podcast 038: Cyberdecks Taking Over, Resin 3D-Printing Vs FDM, Silicone Injection Molding, And The Pickle Fork Fiasco”

Get Hands-On At Supercon: Workshop Tickets Now Available

Build something cool and pick up new skills from the workshops at the Hackaday Superconference. But decide right now, workshops will sell out and tickets to the conference itself are nearly gone.

You must have a Superconference ticket in order to purchase a workshop ticket; buy one right now if you haven’t already. We think this is “The Year of the FPGA” and we hope you do too — the badge is based on an FPGA running a RISC-V core and using Open Source tools. Try your hand at FPGA for the first time, hone your skills in the advanced course, or design synthesizer circuits using all of those gates in workshops using the badge itself.

But of course it’s not all about the badge. Jump into quantum computing, learn how to use living hinges in your 3D printed designs, sharpen your low-level C, and sit down at the Scanning Electron Microscope. You can brush up on capacitive touch design, learn about rolling-your-own USB devices, hack together a malicious hardware implant, and get your projects connected to the cloud.

Space in these workshops is limited so make sure to sign up before all the seats are taken. The base price for workshops is $15 (basically a “skin in the game” price to encourage those who register to show up). Any tickets priced above that base is meant to cover the material expense of the workshop. Here’s what we have planned:

Introduction to FPGA Hacking on the Supercon Badge

Piotr Esden-Tempski, Sylvain Munaut, Mike Walters, Sophi Kravitz

In this basic FPGA badge workshop you will get a quick introduction on how to add and program new virtual hardware on your Supercon badge. While a microcontroller always has a fixed set of hardware, the badge has an FPGA that can be reprogrammed and the RISC-V microcontroller inside the FPGA can be changed. In this workshop you will learn how to synthesize an existing IP core to your RISC-V core on the badge and how to use that new added hardware.

(To include as many people as possible, this workshop will be held in a least four identical sessions, please choose one.)

Introduction to Quantum Computing

Kitty Yeung

You’ll learn the basic physics and math concepts needed to get started with quantum computing. There will also be coding so please bring your computers. Instructions on installing Quantum Development Kit will be provided prior to the workshop.

USB Reverse Engineering: Ultra-Low-Cost Edition

Kate Temkin & Mikaela Szekely

Interested in learning more about the inner workings of USB? In this workshop we’ll cover some of the basic, low-level details of USB, then go into detail on how you can interact with (and create!) USB devices as a hobbyist, engineer, or hacker.

SEM Scan Electron Microscope

Adam McCombs

Come get hands-on with an Electron Microscope! In this workshop you will get a chance to get on console on a JEOL JSM-840 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) capable of resolving 5nm details. We’ll cover all aspects of running an SEM, be that setup and alignment, sample preparation, or imaging.

Logic Noise: Build Silly Synths in the FPGA Fabric of the Supercon Badge

Elliot Williams

Most FPGA programming classes start off with the basics of logic circuits and how they’re implemented in an FPGA, and then jump 30 years into the present where FPGA design consists of downloading someone else’s IP and ironing out the timing bugs. But not this one! We’re going to stay fully stuck in the past: playing around with the combinatorial logic possibilities inside the Superconference badge’s FPGA fabric to make glitchy musical instruments. If you followed Hackaday’s Logic Noise series, you know how to make crazy noisemakers by abusing silicon on breadboards. In this workshop, we’ll be coding up the silicon and the breadboard. Whoah.

Prototyping Malicious Hardware on the Cheap

Joe FitzPatrick

Alleged multi-million-dollar hardware attacks might catch headlines, but what can we DIY with limited time and budget? We’ll have all the tools you need to prototype, build, and test both the hardware and software of a custom malicious hardware implant.

Advanced FPGA Hacking on the Supercon Badge

Piotr Esden-Tempski

In this advanced FPGA badge workshop you will learn how to develop your own simple FPGA IP core. You already know how to program microcontrollers and how memory-mapped IO works, but you want to go beyond that and develop your own hardware? This class is an introduction on how to write, synthesize and add new hardware periphery on your Supercon badge.

Flexure Lecture: designing springy and bi-stable mechanisms

Amy Qian

Flexures are used all around us to provide simple spring force, constrain degrees-of-freedom of motion, make satisfying clicky sounds, and much more. In this workshop, you’ll learn about basic flexure design, see lots of examples of how you might use them in your future projects, and assemble your very own laser-cut gripper mechanism.

Microcontrollers the Hard Way: Blink Like a Pro

Shawn Hymel (sponsored by Digi-Key)

Registers, timers, and interrupts, oh my! Get those semicolon-punching fingers ready, because we’re writing some C. Arduino, MicroPython, CircuitPython, and MakeCode have been steadily making microcontrollers easier to use and more accessible for a number of years. While ease-of-use is thankfully making embedded systems available to anyone, it means that writing optimized code still remains somewhat of a mystery, buried beneath layers of abstraction. In this workshop, we’ll write a simple fading LED program using registers, timers, and interrupts in an AVR ATtiny microcontroller. This workshop will help you understand some of the low-level, inner workings of microcontrollers and start to write space efficient and computationally quick code.

DK IoT Studio Using the ST NUCLEO-L476RG Sensor Demo

Robert Nelson (sponsored by Digi-Key)

This workshop is about developing an end-to-end solution, from sensor to the cloud. Learn about all the different elements involved in the design, from the sensor, to the processor, to connectivity, cloud storage, and data visualization. Participants will learn to develop an IoT application using the ST NUCLEO-L476RG Development Board. Learn to use Digi-Key IoT Studio design environment to connect easily to the cloud and visualize your data in real time. The new tool has a graphical user interface that allows for easy drag-and-drop functionality. Participants will be able to send data to the cloud thru the development environment and visualize the data.

From Outdated to Outstanding: Easily Add a Touchpad to Your Next Design

TBD (sponsored by Microchip)

What if you could easily make your design more advanced, and let’s face it, cooler? You can, and we can show you how by replacing your old-school pushbuttons with capacitive touch buttons or touchpad! In this workshop, we will practice how to use Microchip’s graphic code generator to produce the code for a simple water-tolerant touchpad. The capacitive touch sensing expert from Microchip will also introduce some tips and tricks of how to lay out a touch button. Come and find out everything you need to know about adding a touch button to your next design!

 

Superconference workshops tend to sell out extremely quickly. Don’t wait to get your ticket.

Here’s Your First Look At The Talks Of The 2019 Hackaday Superconference

The ultimate hardware conference returns this November as the Hackaday Superconference springs to life in Pasadena, California. It is our pleasure to announce the first set of accepted speakers who have confirmed their appearances at Supercon. This reveal is only the tip of the iceberg, so keep your eye on Hackaday as we continue to reveal the rest of the exemplary talks and workshops that make up this year’s conference.

However, don’t wait to get your ticket. Yes, we sell out every year, but the pace of ticket sales has been much faster this year and soon they will all be gone. Don’t miss out, as you can see from the small sample below, Supercon will be packed with amazing people and you need to be one of them!

The Talks (Part One of Many)


  • Matthias Balwierz aka bitluni

    Multimedia Fun with the Esp32

    The ESP32 microcontroller is a beast! Everyone knows that already. Composite video and VGA are common now. But a few years ago these capabilities weren’t obvious. This talk will recap the journey of squeezing out every possible bit of performance to generate audio and video with the least amount of additional components. It’s a detail-packed discussion of the projects I’ve documented on my YouTube channel bitluni’s lab.


  • Sarah Kaiser

    Hacking Quantum Key Distribution Hardware or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Burn Things with Lasers

    Quantum devices are the next big addition to the general computing and technology landscape. However, just like classical hardware, quantum hardware can be hacked. I will share some of my (successful) attempts to break the security of quantum key distribution hardware with the biggest laser I could find!


  • Mohit Bhoite

    Building Free-Formed Circuit Sculptures

    I’ll be talking about building free-formed circuit sculptures, and how anyone with the right tools can get involved in this art form. We’ll explore ways to make these sculptures interact with the environment around them or with the user.


  • Thea Flowers

    Creating a Sega-Inspired Hardware Synthesizer from the Ground Up.

    What makes the Sega Genesis sound chip unique? I’ll share some short history about why the Genesis happened at a very specific moment to have this sort of chip. I’ll talk about designing and building a synthesizer around it and the challenges I encountered by trying to do this as my first hardware project.


  • Helen Leigh

    Sound Hacking and Music Technologies

    I will explore the ways in which music is influenced by making and hacking, including a whistle-stop tour of some key points in music hacking history. This starts with 1940s Musique Concrete and Daphne Oram’s work on early electronic music at the BBC, and blossoms into the strange and wonderful projects coming out of the modern music hacker scenes, including a pipe organ made of Furbies, a sound art marble run, robotic music machines and singing plants.


  • Adam Zeloof

    Thermodynamics for Electrical Engineers: Why Did My Board Melt (And How Can I Prevent It)?

    In this presentation I will provide circuit designers with the foundation they need to consider thermal factors in their designs. Heat transfers through on-board components and knowing how to characterize this means we can choose the right heat sink for any application. Learn about free simulation tools that can be used to perform these analyses and boost your knowledge of thermodynamics and heat transfer (although those who are already familiar with the subject will find some utility in it as well).


  • Samy Kamkar

    FPGA Glitching & Side Channel Attacks

    I will explore some of the incredible work that has been done by researchers, academics, governments, and the nefarious in the realm of side channel analysis. We’ll inspect attacks that were once secret and costly, but now accessible to all of us using low cost hardware such as FPGAs. We’ll learn how to intentionally induce simple yet powerful faults in modern systems such as microcontrollers.


  • Daniel Samarin

    Debugging Electronics: You Can’t Handle the Ground Truth!

    Root-causing quickly is all about having the right tools, having the right infrastructure in place, and knowing how to use them. Is it the firmware, the circuit, a bad crimp, or backlash in the gears? I will outline strategies for finding out what the issue is, so that you can focus on fixing the right thing.

You Miss It, You’ll Miss It

If there’s any way you can make it to Supercon in person, you should. One of the two talk stages will be live-streamed, and the other recorded, but there is no substitute for hanging out with these eight awesome people, plus five hundred of our closest friends. Anyone who’s made it to the conference before can tell you that the intimate atmosphere is packed with opportunities to meet new people, connect with those you’ve only seen on the internet, and learn about the newest developments happening in the world of hardware creation. See you in November!