Mastering Memory For Microcontrollers: Elecia White To Deliver Remoticon Keynote

I’m excited to share the news that Elecia White will deliver a keynote talk at the Hackaday Remoticon in just a few short weeks. Get your free ticket now!

Elecia is well-known throughout the embedded engineering world. She literally wrote the book on it — or at least a book on it, one I have had in my bedside table for reference for years: O’Reilly’s Making Embedded Systems: Design Patterns for Great Software. She hosts the weekly Embedded podcast which has published 390 episodes thus far. And of course Elecia is a principal embedded software engineer at Logical Elegance, Inc working on large autonomous off-road vehicles and deep sea science platforms.

Map of a mythical land used as a metaphor for microcontroller memory
Map metaphor used to help visualize microcontroller memory. [Source: embedded.fm]
For her keynote, Elecia plans to unwrap the secrets often overlooked in the memory map file generated when compiling a program for a microcontroller. Anyone who has written code for these mighty little chips has seen the .map files, but how many of us have dared to really dive in?

Elecia will use a nifty metaphor for turning the wall of text and numbers into a true map of the code. That metaphor makes the topic approachable for everyone with at least a rudimentary knowledge of how embedded systems work, and even the grizzliest veteran will walk away with tips that help when optimizing for RAM usage and/or code space, updating firmware (with or without a bootloader), and debugging difficult crash bugs.

This autumn is a busy time for Elecia. She’s been hard at work turning her book into a ten-part massive open online course (MOOC). Over the years she’s been a strong supporter of Hackaday, more than once as a judge for the Hackaday prize (here’s her tell-all following the final round judging of the 2014 Prize). She even took Hackaday on a tour of Xerox Parc.

Final Talk Announcements This Week and Next!

The Call for Proposals closed a few days ago. So far we’ve made two announcements about the accepted talks and we’ll make two more, this Thursday and next. But there’s no reason to wait. With Elecia White, Jeremy Fielding, and Keith Thorne presenting keynotes, and some superb social activities soon to be unveiled, this is an event not to be missed!

Remoticon is free to all, just head over and grab a ticket! If you want something tangible to remember the weekend by you can grab one of the $25 tickets that scores you a shirt, but either option gets you all the info you need to be at every virtual minute of the conference.

Making Your Projects Move: Jeremy Fielding To Deliver Remoticon Keynote

We’re really excited to announce that Jeremy Fielding will give a keynote address at Hackaday Remoticon in November! Get your free ticket now!

The projects we in this community choose to tackle often take a lot to see to completion. Parts, tools, expertise, time; all are critical to getting projects from concept to reality. But how deep your parts bin is or how well-equipped your shop may be matters not a whit unless you’ve got the one thing that makes it all go: passion. Passion is what keeps a project rolling ahead paste the inevitable roadblocks and diversions; it’s what keeps us going back to the bench to try something new when we think we’ve tried it all.

Jeremy Fielding showing off his robot arm back in April

The passion to understand, to create, to innovate, is something that Jeremy Fielding clearly has. Anyone who has watched even a few of his YouTube videos knows how much he loves to make things move. His current project is a seven-axis industrial robot arm, and it’s a seriously impressive build that could easily be mistaken for a commercial product. What’s perhaps most impressive about this is that many of the skills needed to pull it off, like welding aluminum and machining, are skills that Jeremy has been teaching himself on the fly. Talk about passion!

For his keynote, Jeremy is going to focus on building hardware that moves. Most of us are reasonably good at putting together projects that flash a few lights or perhaps move a few small steppers or servos. But scaling that up, as Jeremy has done for his robot arm as well as other projects, introduces new challenges: what type of electric motor do I choose? How do I figure out the trade-offs between torque and speed? Do I even want to use electric motors — maybe pneumatics will be better? What are my control options? These questions can be just as daunting to the old hands as they are to beginners, and Jeremy is going to focus on how to handle these and other mechatronic challenges that crop up in our projects.

Aside from the (literal) nuts and bolts of mechanical engineering, there’s another place where Jeremy’s passion shines through: his passion for communicating what he has learned. His presentation style and enthusiasm are infectious, and we’re sure that’s going to come across in his keynote. Jeremy fancies himself a “contraption engineer,” which is both an apt and engaging way to look at what he does. Fellow contraption builders take note — you’re going to want to make sure you don’t miss this one!

Call for Proposals is Still Open!

We’re still on the hunt for great talks about hardware creation, so the Call for Proposals has been extended to October 20. And remember, get your tickets early — knowing how many people to expect really helps us with infrastructure planning so we can give everyone a quality experience.

Keith Thorne, Engineer At LIGO, To Deliver Remoticon Keynote

It is my pleasure to announce that Keith Thorne has graciously agreed to deliver a keynote take at Hackaday Remoticon 2. Get your ticket now!

Keith is an astrophysicist and has worked on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) since 2008, literally looking for ripples in space-time that you know as gravitational waves. The effects of the phenomena are so subtle that detecting an event requires planet-scale sensors in the form of 4 km long interferometers placed in different parts of the United States whose readings can be compared against one another. A laser beam inside these interferometers bounces back and forth 300 times for a total travel distance of 1,200 km in which any interaction with gravitational waves will ever-so-slightly alter how the photons from the beam register.

The challenges of building, operating, and interpreting such a device are manifold. These interferometers are the highest precision devices ever devised, able to detect motion 1/10,000 of the diameter of a proton! To get there, the mirrors need to be cooled to 77 nano-Kelvins. Getting the most out of it is what Keith and the rest of the team specialize in. This has included things like hacking the Linux kernel to achieve a sufficient level of real-time digital control, and using “squeezed light” to improve detection sensitivity in frequencies where quantum mechanics is getting in the way. While the detectors were first run in 2015 & 2016, successfully observing three events, the work to better understand this phenomenon is ongoing and may include a third site in India, and a space-based detector in the future.

In getting to know Keith he mentioned that he is excited to speak to a conference packed with people who want to hear the gory technical details of this fantastic piece of hardware. I’m sure we’re all giddy to learn what he has to say. But if you’re someone who wants to work on a project like this, he tipped us off that there’s an active EE job posting for LIGO right now. Maybe you’ll end up doing the keynote at a future Hackaday conference.

Call for Proposals is Still Open!

We’re still on the hunt for great talks about hardware creation. True creativity is fed by a steady stream of inspiration. Be that inspiration by giving a talk about the kinds of things you’ve been working on!

Alfred Jones Talks About The Challenges Of Designing Fully Self-Driving Vehicles

The leap to self-driving cars could be as game-changing as the one from horse power to engine power. If cars prove able to drive themselves better than humans do, the safety gains could be enormous: auto accidents were the #8 cause of death worldwide in 2016. And who doesn’t want to turn travel time into something either truly restful or alternatively productive?

But getting there is a big challenge, as Alfred Jones knows all too well. The Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lyft’s level-5 self-driving division, his team is building the roof racks and other gear that gives the vehicles their sensors and computational hardware. In his keynote talk at Hackaday Remoticon, Alfred Jones walks us through what each level of self-driving means, how the problem is being approached, and where the sticking points are found between what’s being tested now and a truly steering-wheel-free future.

Check out the video below, and take a deeper dive into the details of his talk.

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Kipp Bradford Discusses The Entanglement Of Politics And Technology

Kipp Bradford wrapped up his keynote talk at the Hackaday Remoticon with a small piece of advice: don’t built bridges in the middle of the ocean. The point is that a bridge must connect two pieces of land to be useful and if technology isn’t useful to humanity, does it matter at all?

In reality we build bridges in the middle of the ocean all the time as each of us finds nonsensical reasons to learn new skills and try things out. But when it comes time to sit down and make an organized end goal, Kipp wisely asks us to consider the impact we’d like that work to have on the world. Equally importantly, how will we make sure completed work actually gets used? This is where the idea of politics in technology comes to play, in the sense that politics is a major mechanism for collective decision-making within a society.

Currently the CTO of Treau, and a Lecturer and Researcher at Yale, Kipp delivered this keynote live on November 7th. Kipp was an expert judge for the Hackaday Prize in 2017 and 2018. The video of his talk, and a deeper look at the topics, are found below.

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Alfred Jones And Kipp Bradford To Deliver Keynotes At Remoticon Next Week

There’s just one week left until Hackaday Remoticon, our online gathering in place of our traditional in-person conference during this time of social distancing. Joining the more than 20 hands-on workshops that make up the bulk of Remoticon, we’re excited to announce the two keynote speakers who will be taking the virtual stage: Alfred Jones and Kipp Bradford.

Tickets to see these keynote talks, to watch the SMD Challenge, to see hardware demos, and to take part in the show and tell are free, so get yours today!

 

Alfred Jones

Alfred Jones

Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lyft’s Self-Driving Division

Alfred Jones is the Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lyft’s level 5 self-driving division. Level 5 means there are no humans involved in operating the vehicle and it is still capable of driving anywhere a human could have. What goes into modifying a vehicle for this level of self-driving? What processes does his team use to deliver safe automation? And will cars in the near future completely get rid of the driver’s seat? Alfred knows and we’ll be hanging on his every word!

Kipp BradfordKipp Bradford

CTO fo Treau

Kipp Bradford is the CTO of Treau, a company bringing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) into the information age. These systems contribute as much as 20% of global emissions each year, so even small efficiency gains stand to have a huge impact. The industry has remained nearly unchanged for decades, and Kipp is at the forefront of evolving the hidden systems found in nearly every building. Will the air conditioner of tomorrow make the one we have today look like a rotary telephone? We look forward to hearing what Kipp has to say about it.

We’re so excited to have these two phenomenal speakers who have also both been involved as expert judges in the Hackaday Prize (Alfred in 2020, Kipp in 2017 and 2018). Help us show our appreciation by packing the virtual lecture halls for their talks on Saturday, November 7th! Get your free ticket now.

Supercon Keynote: Megan Wachs Breaks Down RISC-V

The 2019 Hackaday Superconference kicked off with a marvelous, and marvelously geeky, keynote talk on the subject of RISC-V by Dr. Megan Wachs. She is VP of Engineering at SiFive, a company that makes RISC-V processors in silicon, but the talk is a much more general introduction to the RISC-V open instruction-set architecture (ISA) and why you’d care. The short answer to the latter is the same reason you care about any other open standard: it promotes interoperability, reusable toolchains, and will result in us all having access to better and faster CPUs.

The video is embedded below, and it’s absolutely worth a watch. Unfortunately, The video is missing the first few minutes, you can follow along through her slides (PDF) and read through our brief recap below of what fell down the video hole.

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