Livestream the Hackaday Superconference

The Hackaday Superconference is happening right now and you can join in on the Livestream. Talks begin at 10 am Pacific time on Saturday and Sunday.

The live stream covers one of two stages at the ultimate hardware conference. Topics focus on hardware creation, ranging from silicon chip fabrication, drop-in circuit designs, firmware frameworks, and 3D printing orbital rockets, to abusing printer cartridges, placing circuits on odd substrates, lighter-than-air electronics, and better techniques for building tech in garments, jewelry, props, and other wearables. Saturday evening you can watch as the Hackaday Prize is awarded live on stage, and Sunday afternoon’s festivities show off hardware and software skills with the badge hacking presentations.

There is so much more going on at Supercon besides the talks. The hacker village began Friday morning and continues through the weekend as badge hacking, the SMD soldering challenge, and other shenanigans continue. Get the inside scoop on those happenings by joining the live chat and following Hackaday on social media with #Supercon.

Supercon is Sold Out, Join Us On the Live Streams and Chat Rooms

Over the weekend, the last available tickets to the Hackaday Superconference vanished. This will be the fullest, most exciting, hack-packed Supercon ever.

We’ve always had a stunning slate of speakers. It’s hard to objectively say we will top previous years, but yes this collection of talks is an insane concentration of hardware speakers that tops anything we’ve seen before. You can’t look at the schedule without feeling an electric jolt of excitement. The good news is you can still get in on those talks. Bookmark this Hackaday Superconference Live-Stream which begins at 10 am PDT on Saturday, November 3rd.

Of course, talks are only one component of Supercon. The secret sauce has always been the people at the con. If you’re not joining us, we still need you to take part. There is a conference chat on Hackaday.io and all are welcome. Pop in and visit with people at the con, and others around the globe who wish they could have made it in person.

Make sure you’re on the live stream Saturday evening to watch as the Grand Prize is presented on stage during the Hackaday Prize Ceremony. Follow along throughout the weekend on social media with the #Supercon tag. Pop into the chat and ask for updates on badge hacking, the SMD Soldering Challenge, and all of the other shenanigans that make Supercon super. We look forward to seeing hundreds of you in Pasadena starting this Friday, and thousands of you online through out the weekend!

What the Hack Is This Thing?

Let’s play a guessing game. Shown here is a sneak peek at the rear view of a hardware demo being built specifically for the Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena this November 2-4. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser when finished, but if you’re anything like us, studying what’s behind the finished face of a project like this is even more satisfying than seeing the final product.

If you think you know what it is, you can score yourself a free hardware badge from the conference! Leave a comment below with your best guess about what this is — we’ll pick whoever is closest to win the badge.

Want a closer look? Click here to embiggen.

Update: We have a winner!

It didn’t take long at all for Zardam to realize this a replicate of the console for the Hal 9000 computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Congrats!

Some comments on the build from Voja Antonic:

The red round board at the bottom is the PIR motion sensor, the part of another project which is not related neither to HAL nor to the badge. There is a clearly visible 915 MHz module, which is disconnected and has no function in this project.

It is connected to the lower left Raspberry just because it has to be supplied with about 3V and it uses Raspberry’s LDO. It also generates Reset signal for all four Raspis, as it turned out that the 5V supply (bottom right) delivers the slow-rise voltage when turned on, so Raspis won’t boot at all without the external Reset.

When someone walks in front of HAL, motion sensor randomly triggers one of 30 HAL’s sentences from the movie. That’s why the lower left Raspberry is connected to the amplifier and has an extra wire from the motion sensor board to GPIO 24.

And the demo video:

The Prize for Guessing Correctly:

Voja Antonics builds beautiful hardware. The Hackaday Superconference badge is a piece of art, as is the Hal 9000 console. Voja will be at Supercon along with hundreds of other awesome hackers. Come join us for a weekend you’ll never forget!

The Supercon Badge is a Freakin’ Computer

It hangs around your neck, comes with the cost of admission, and would blow away a desktop computer from the 1980’s. This is the Hackaday Superconference badge and you can get your hands on one for the price of admission to the ultimate hardware conference.

Everyone through the door gets one of these badges featuring a 320 x 240 color display, a full qwerty keyboard, and limitless hacking potential! The stock firmware runs a BASIC interpreter, the CP/M operating system, and includes games and Easter Eggs. It’s a giant playground, and we want to see what you can do with this custom hardware during the three days of Supercon. Get your ticket now, then join me after the break for a demo video and plenty more info.

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Retrotechtacular: Robots and Bowling Pins

On a recent bowling excursion it occurred to us that this is one of the most advanced robotics systems most Americans will directly interact with. That’s a bold claim today, but certainly one that was correct decades ago. Let’s take a stroll back to 1963 for a look at the state of the art in bowling at the time, the AMF automatic pinspotter.

With their basis in industrial automation, bowling was a perfect problem for the American Machine and Foundry company (AMF) to take on. Their business began at the turn of the 20th century with automated cigarette manufacturing before turning their sights on bowling pins after the second world war. The challenge involves more than you might think as pinspotters are confined to a narrow area and need to work with oddly-shaped pins, the bowling ball itself, and deal with setting up fresh frames but also clearing out the field after the first roll.

Separating the ball from the pins is handled by gravity and an oscillating plunger that pushes errant pins back onto a conveyor. That conveyor stretches the width of the lane and moves pins back to a pin elevator — a wheel moving perpendicular to the ground with orients and raises them to a swiveling conveyor belt that can drop them into the setting jig waiting for the next full frame setup.

Everything in this promo video has jargon which is just delightful. We especially enjoyed the non-mechanical mention of how the machine “clears dead wood from the pin deck”. We could watch this kind of automation all day, and in fact found some other gems while searching about. Here’s a more recent look a the AMF 82-70 (the same model as in the promo video). We also wondered about manual pinspotting and found this manual-with-mechanical-assist setup to be interesting despite the audio.

Much to our surprise we’ve featured AMF in a Retrotectacular article before. Once their bowling automation started to take off, they set their sights on restaurant automation. Looks like Brian Benchoff’s visit to the robo-hamburger joint was actually a retro experience!

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Ken Shirriff Chats About a Whole World of Chip Decapping

Reverse engineering silicon is a dark art, and when you’re just starting off it’s best to stick to the lesser incantations, curses, and hexes. Hackaday caught up with Ken Shirriff at last year’s Supercon for a chat about the chip decapping and reverse engineering scene. His suggestion is to start with an old friend: the 555 timer.

Ken is well-known for his work photographing the silicon die at the heart of an Integrated Circuit (IC) and mapping out the structures to create a schematic of the circuit. We’re looking forward to Ken’s talk in just a few weeks at the Hackaday Superconference. Get a taste of it in the interview video below.

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