Dublin Unconference Roundup: The Topics That are Hot Right Now

On Saturday, the Hackaday Community from across Ireland and other parts of Europe poured into the performance hall at Dublin’s Project Arts Centre for a massive collection of talks. From rediscovering century’s old technology, to cutting edge research projects, we heard talks from dozens of attendees on the technology that is interesting them most right now.

Choosing what to share about last weekend’s Uncon has been a particularly taxing process. So many and varied were the projects presented, and such was their high standard, that a writer faces a significant challenge to fit them into a single report. But we’ll give it a try. Read on for highlights of what was a weekend we will remember forever.

[Rachel]'s about to lull us into a false sense of security with talk of fashion, then go for the eyeballs!
[Rachel]’s about to lull us into a false sense of security with talk of fashion, then go for the eyeballs!

From Wearables to Lab-Grown Eyeballs

Dublin by early April has lost some of winter’s chill, but the sun hadn’t regained control enough for the populace to have shed their coats and boots. It was in a slightly damp Temple Bar then that the Hackaday faithful convened at the Project Arts Centre, temporarily forsaking for us its role as one of Ireland’s most cutting-edge contemporary performing arts venues. We’d spent the previous day rounding up what seemed like Ireland’s entire stock of snack food to keep everyone happy, so it was into the upstairs performance hall for the day’s festivities. After putting in a talk topic and stopping by the swag table for goodies from our sponsor, DesignSpark, we all packed into the hall and began the Uncon.

First to brave the floor was [Rachel “Konichiwakitty” Wong], who started by talking about her interest in and flair for wearable electronics applied to fashion. This is not however what she does for a living, and she soon switched from the kawaii to the everyday work of a stem cell research scientist. This section of her talk was entitled “The Future Of Medicine, stem cells, tissue engineering, off-the-shelf pick-n-mix organs”.  Because of the work being done by people like her our hospitals may one day be able to prescribe custom 3D-printed organs for their patients, and her talk was a fascinating overview of that field for those of us who can not grow eyeball tissue on our benches.

There followed the exciting Unconference format, in which attendees were scheduled on-the-fly in four talk sessions throughout the day. Each deliver a seven-minute presentation and although it’s not compulsory to give an Unconference talk, there were definitely more than enough people wanting to give it a go. It’s impossible to mention them all in a single Hackaday piece, but here follows a selection of the many that caught our eye.

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Hackaday Dublin Unconference: Grab Your Tickets!

Hackaday comes together in Ireland on April 7th and we want you to be there. Get your free ticket right now for the Hackaday Dublin Unconference!

An Unconference is the best way to put your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the hardware world right now. Everyone who attends should be ready to stand and deliver a seven-minute talk on something that excites them right now — this means you. The easiest thing to do is grab your latest hack off the shelf and talk about that.

Talks may be about a prototype, project, or product currently in progress at your home, work, or university. It could also be an idea, concept, or skill that you’re now exploring. The point is to channel your excitement and pass it on to others in a friendly presentation environment where everyone will cheer as your story unfolds.

Hackaday hosted an excellent Unconference in London back in September to a packed house for dozens of amazing presentations on a huge range of topics. We heard about bicycle turn signals, laser enhancing NES zappers, telepresence robots with IKEA origin stories, tiny-pitch LED matrix design, driving flip-dot displays, not trusting hardware 2-factor, and much more.

All the tickets for that event were scooped up in a few hours, and a huge waitlist followed. Don’t wait to grab your ticket!

We’re so happy to partner with DesignSpark, the exclusive sponsor of the Hackaday Dublin Unconference. DesignSpark is the innovation arm of RS Components and will have some staff on hand at the Unconference. They share our excitement in bringing together the Hackaday community throughout Europe. It is with their support that we are able to book an incredible venue and offer admission at no cost to all attendees. Hackaday events fill to capacity quickly, so get your ticket now before they are gone.

This Unconference is being held at Project Arts Centre, right at the heart of the Temple Bar area in central Dublin. The performing arts space has comfortable seating and is perfect for our presentation format. We’ll get started at 13:00. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be served throughout the afternoon and we’ll provide dinner as well. Anyone who is still standing when we close the doors at 21:00 is invited to join us at the pub afterward (we’ll get the first round).

As always, Hackaday’s success is based on the community of hackers, designers, and engineers that make it up. Please share the link to tickets on your social media and pester your friends to attend. Most importantly, don’t shy away from this speaking opportunity. We want to hear your story and this is the place to tell it. See you in Dublin in just a few short weeks!

London Calling: The Hackaday UK Unconference Roundup

A trip to London, for provincial Brits, is something of an undertaking from which you invariably emerge tired and slightly grimy following your encounter with the cramped mobile sauna of the Central Line, its meandering international sightseers, and stampede of besuited commuters heading for the City. Often your fatigue after such an expedition will be that following the completion of a Herculean labour, but just sometimes it will instead be the contented tiredness of a fulfilling and busy time well spent.

Such will be the state of the happy band of the Hackaday community who made it to London this weekend for our UK unconference held in association with our sponsor, DesignSpark. A Friday night bring-a-hack social in a comfortable Bloomsbury pub, followed by Saturday in an auditorium next to one of the former Surrey Commercial Docks for a day of back-to-back seven-minute talks laying out the varied and interesting work our readers are involved in.

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Hackaday UK Unconference Needs You

Hackaday’s first ever conference in the United Kingdom will take place on September 16th. Get your free ticket right now for the Hackaday UK Unconference!

An Unconference is the best way to put your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the hardware world right now. Everyone who attends should be ready to stand and deliver a seven-minute talk on something that excites them right now — this mean you. The easiest thing to do is grab your latest hack off the shelf and talk about that.

Talks may be about a prototype, project, or product currently in progress at your home, work, or university. It could also be an idea, concept, or skill that you’re now exploring. The point is to channel your excitement and pass it on to others in a friendly presentation environment where everyone will cheer as your story unfolds.

Hackaday doesn’t often have the opportunity to organize live events in Europe which is why we’re so happy to partner with DesignSpark, the exclusive sponsor of the Hackaday UK Unconference. DesignSpark is the innovation arm of RS Components and will have some staff on hand at the Unconference. They share our excitement in bringing together the Hackaday community throughout the UK. It is with their support that we are able to book an incredible venue and offer admission at no cost to all attendees. Hackaday events fill to capacity quickly, so get your ticket now before they are gone.

We have already asked a few of our friends in the area if they will be there. Seb Lee-Delisle who wowed us in Belgrade with his laser projection wizardry plans to be there. James Larsson is part of the crew that started the Flashing Light Prize and will be on hand. Phoenix Perry is always on the cutting edge of where people and technology meet and we can’t wait to hear her talk. Mike Harrison of Mike’s Electric Stuff will be around and likely teasing some secret Hackaday hardware he’s spearheading. James Bruton of XRobots (and a Hackaday Prize Judge) is coming, as is Saar Drimer who you may know as the person behind the beautiful hardware art of Boldport. Several Hackaday editors will be there; Elliot Williams, Jenny List, and I will all be on hand. All that’s missing is you.

We’ll flood into the Culture Space at Canada Water on the east side of London starting at 13:00. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be served throughout the afternoon and we’ll provide dinner as well. Anyone who is still standing when we close the doors at 21:00 is invited to join us at the pub afterward (we’ll get the first round).

As always, Hackaday’s success is based on the community of hackers, designers, and engineers that make it up. Please share the link to tickets on your social media and pester your friends to attend. Most importantly, don’t shy away from this speaking opportunity. We want to hear your story and this is the place to tell it. See you in London in just a few short weeks!

UPDATE: Wow, that didn’t take long. The tickets are claimed, but make sure you get on the waitlist. A lot can change in the next five week’s and we’ll be pestering all ticket holders to be there or give their seat up for someone on the waitlist.

A Wallflower Jumps into the Los Angeles Unconference

When I was asked to cover the Unconference in Los Angeles last week, I have to admit that I was a more than a little uncomfortable with the idea. I’m not big on traveling, and the idea of meeting a lot of folks was a little intimidating. Surely meeting Hackaday readers in person would be like walking into a real-life version of the comments section of a particularly controversial post. Right?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The LA Unconference, held at the Supplyframe Design Lab in Pasadena, was a far more collegial and engaging conference than any I’ve been to in my professional life. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share the afternoon and evening with, and the quality of the talks was excellent. The Design Lab turned out to be a great space for the event — a large main room for the talks with plenty of little areas to break away for impromptu discussions and networking.

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The Think Tank at the Chicago Unconference

On Saturday the Hackaday community turned out in force to try something new. The first Hackaday Unconference was held in three places at the same time, and I was in Chicago and was amazed at the turnout and variety of presentations. The image above sums up the concept quite well, everyone shows up ready to give an eight minute talk, but as a whole, no one knows what to expect. Well, we should have known to expect awesome and that’s what we got.

As usual, people are excellent… to one another and in adapting to the fluid nature of the day. Pumping Station: One, a renowned Hackerspace in the Avondale neighborhood near downtown Chicago, opened their doors for us. Not knowing how many people to expect we set up two presentation rooms with a third on deck just in case it was needed.

We just barely squeezed everyone in one room for the first track but ended up splitting into two for part of the day. Here you can see that second room filling up. Even so we still had a handful of presentations that didn’t get a chance to shine — we simply must do this again so they can have the chance and because I had such a great time!

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Hackaday Unconference Begins!

This afternoon we are hosting the Hackaday Unconference in three locations at once. Hundreds of creative minds are coming together in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for an amazing day of shared inspiration.

You can get a little taste of what is happening by following along with the pulse of the events. Each will be doing some Facebook Live streams so look for that and regular posts on Hackaday Facebook. We’ll be regularly Tweeting and posting to Instagram. It would be absolutely fantastic if you would like and share those messages. Check out the Hackaday TweetWall for a collection of all the #HackadayUncon updates.

The goal is to break down barriers for sharing great ideas which will become the inspiration for new projects to come. Today’s overarching theme is “Build Something That Matters. Everyone attending is ready to give an eight-minute talk about something that interests them, without the pressure of a strict talk order or expectations of polished decks and eloquent delivery. As the Unconference progresses, new discussion groups and impromptu talks take bloom as everyone in attendance guides the direction of the day.