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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Kipp Bradford on the Importance of Boring Projects, Medical Tech, and Sci Fi Novels

If someone suggests you spend time working on boring projects, would you take that advice? In this case, I think Kipp Bradford is spot on. We sat down together at the Hackaday Superconference last fall and talked about medical device engineering, the infrastructure in your home, applying Sci-Fi to engineering, and yes, we spoke about boring projects.

Kipp presented a talk on Devices for Controlling Climates at Supercon last year. It could be argued that this is one of those boring topics, but very quickly you begin to grasp how vitally important it is. Think about how many buildings on your street have a heating or cooling system in them. Now zoom out in your mind several times to neighborhood, city, state, and country level. How much impact will a small leap forward have when multiplied up?

The next Hackaday Superconference is just around the corner. Before you join us below for the interview with Kipp, make sure you grab your 2018 Hackaday Superconference ticket to be there for great talks like Kipp’s!

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Convince Your Boss to Send You To Supercon

The Hackaday Superconference is rapidly approaching and you need to be there. The good news is, if you play your cards right you can get your boss to sign off on sending you to Supercon as part of your professional development.

This is the Ultimate Hardware Conference. This is your chance to recharge your batteries and come back energized for an amazing year ahead. You’ll be among hundreds of people who love to push the boundaries of what is possible. Dozens of talks and workshops take place over the backdrop of three days worth of a Hacker Village atmosphere focusing on a badge hacking demoscene.

We’re here to help you get to yes with the powers that be in your company. If you have a tight set of requirements that dictate what counts as professional development, we have a template to use in formulating your ask. Fill in this letter with the details that work for you and head over to the corner office with this in hand.

If you already have a supervisor who understands the hacker lifestyle, the best route is to show off the best Supercon has to offer. Share the playlist of talks from 2017 with them and you’re a shoe-in for your company’s conference attendance budget. And while you’re at it, try to convince your boss to come along for the fun!

See you in November!

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Katherine Scott: Earth’s Daily Photo Through 200 Cubesat Cameras

Every year at Supercon there is a critical mass of awesome people, and last year Sophi Kravitz was able to sneak away from the festivities for this interview with Katherine Scott. Kat was a judge for the 2017 Hackaday Prize. She specializes in computer vision, robotics, and manufacturing and was the image analytics team lead at Planet Labs when this interview was filmed.

You’re going to chuckle at the beginning of the video as Kat and Sophi recount the kind of highjinks going on at the con. In the hardware hacking area there were impromptu experiments in melting aluminum with gallium, and one of the afternoon’s organized workshop combined wood and high voltage to create lichtenberg figures. Does anyone else smell burning? Don’t forget to grab your 2018 Hackaday Superconference tickets and join in the fun this year!

Below you’ll find the interview which dives into Kat’s work with satellite imaging.

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Call For Proposals: Hackaday Superconference

It’s time to submit your proposal for a talk or workshop at the 2018 Hackaday Superconference!

Yep, it’s easy to procrastinate with the late days of summer upon us, but don’t miss out on your chance to present at the Ultimate Hardware Conference. We’re hungry for great stories about hardware creation. Before you have the chance to ask “should I submit a proposal?” — YES! We’re talking to you!

Some of the general topics that have been really popular in the past include:

  • Hardware custom built for research labs
  • Clever methods for prototyping
  • Engineering heroics that met a deadline, kept on budget, or just made the thing work
  • Ins and outs of product development
  • Stories of elite hacks that deserve to be shared and preserved

This is your time. Send in your proposal now and get ready to have an incredible weekend at the Hackaday Superconference!

Hackaday Superconference: Tickets and Proposals

Get your tickets now for the 2018 Hackaday Superconference. Join us November 2nd-4th in Pasadena, California!

This is the ultimate hardware conference. Hackers, designers, and engineers from all over the world converge — from the greenest beginners to those who have made history with their designs. This is the Hackaday community, these are your people, and you need to be here. Supercon is your chance to experience all things involved in hardware creation — the weekend is filled with unparalleled talks and workshops — but the experience of Supercon transcends the organized event. We call it a conference but it’s truly a hacker village with a who’s-who of hackerdom in attendance.

Call for Proposals

We want you to present a talk (or a workshop) at this year’s Supercon! Please submit your proposal using this form.

The number one question we get about CFP is “I’m excited about X, should I submit a proposal?” The answer is yes. Don’t self-eliminate — if you have an idea for a talk we want to hear from you. Supercon is a flat conference, your proposal will be judged on the idea and how you plan to present it, not on how many other amazing speaking slots you’ve secured.

To help get your mind moving about topics, we suggest that you consider this list of themes your talk might fit into: Engineering Heroics, Prototyping, Research, Product Development, Full-Stack Fabrication, and of course Wildcard.

Tickets! Get Your Tickets Here!

Are you a true believer? We’ve just opened up the Call for Proposal today, so we can’t tell you who’s speaking or what workshops will take place. However, we suspect there are many of you ready to take the plunge right now. Those first 96 true believers get an incredibly low ticket price of $128.

Standing room only during a 2017 Hackaday Supercon talk

Even at full price, the admission fee is an incredible value (see for yourself). Each ticket comes with admission for all three days, a custom hardware badge to hack on, admission to the Friday kick-off party and Saturday Hackaday Prize party, food and beverage throughout the conference, and much more.

This is the fourth year we’ve hosted the Hackaday Superconference. You can check out all of the talk videos from last year, there’s a slew of articles on the event, and of course an incredible hardware hacking scene throughout. In large part, the packed and jovial community atmosphere is why we’ve added Friday as a full day of workshops and badge hacking!

Get your ticket and book your travel. We look forward to hanging out with a huge chunk of the Hackaday community at Supercon!

The Hacker Village of Supercon

I’m utterly exhausted and still in a state of awe. The Hackaday Superconference has grown in so many ways, but one thing remains the same: the spirit of the Hacker Village — an intangible feeling that grows up around all who attend — is bliss to take part in.

There’s really no substitute for having been there in person. I’ll go into detail below and try to share the experience as best I can. But the gist of the atmosphere is this: everyone at Supercon is the type of person you’d want to be stuck in a rowboat with, or partnered with on an engineering project, or to have next to you while trying to save the world. There are no looky-loos at Supercon. It turns out we are all stuck in a rowboat together, we are all working on engineering projects, and we are all trying to save the world. And when we all get together it feels like a drug our pragmatic minds never knew existed. This is the recharge for that sense of urgency that keeps you going all year long.

So yes, you really missed it. But start now. Become friends with all of these people over the next year. Begin building your Supercon community now and it’ll feel like a reunion when it rolls around again next November.

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