USASEF 2014: Report from the field

Splat-shaped, acrylic give-aways engraved with the HacDC logo and domain.

HacDC member, condew, laser cut and engraved 2,042 “splats” of which 1,148 were given away to visitors to our table.

On Friday 25 April, Arte Technica reported:

Thanks to the generosity of Gary Mauler and Robot Fest we really do have an awesome location. Condew’s Arduino LED and hydrometer demo was in fact the highlight of our exhibit today. And the splats he made are going fast. They’re such a hit! Hope you can meet Danish, he is great with the crowds and has also decided to do add his own Arduino demo for our exhibit on Sunday.

The highlight of our day, after the close of Sneak Peek Friday, was a personal demo at our exhibit by the co-Founder of Backyard Brains. Ag4ve, condew, Danish, myself and eventually nearby exhibitors and even passers-by, witnessed an Giant South American Cockroach (Blaberus giganteus) turn right and around, and again, because of a miniature open source neural interface controlled by an iOS app.

FYI—Backyard Brains is looking forward to mirage335′s BioSignal Amplifier demo this weekend, and would enjoy a “Hangout” with other Biohacker enthusiasts at HacDC if there’s interest.

Last but not least, today’s heroes are Lee (N4TCW) and ITechGeek. Lee and his ARRL team literally opened doors for and helped HacDC quickly get to its destination. ITechGeek really busted his hump for us. He setup our very noticeable RasPi server with hacdc.org and wiki.hacdc.org and ALSO went to the space at 05:00, waited, and then helped with multiple transports. Of course, also of note was the staging by condew, Dan B., ag4ve and myself, but ITechGeek and Lee were singularly instrumental in getting us this far.

So even with a couple hours of sleep, all in all a good start.

The festival lasted through Sunday and our table had an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 visitors.

Tinfoil Tuesdays

When: 7pm Every Tuesday Night @ HacDC

A night to talk about security and privacy related things and to teach others about how to protect themselves online. We reference the 7-layer OSI model in the context of security and engage in productively paranoid activities.

Helpful resources:

  • Prism Break: Stop reporting your online activities to the American government with these free alternatives to proprietary software.
  • Tails: A live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity.
  • UnlistMy.Info: Find out which top Online sites store data about you, and tell them to unlist your info.

Red Pills:

Mini Maker Un-faire DIY Fair @ MLKJr Library

MLK Library“The Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library will host a Mini Maker Un-faire DIY (Do It Yourself) Fair in the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Library is accessible from the Gallery Place and Metro Center subway stops.” More…

HacDC will be among the participating organizations at this event.

Admission is free. Register at http://dcdiyfair2012.eventbrite.com/

 

HacDC Rocks SciFest

Last weekend, HacDC hosted a booth in the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the DC Convention Center. HacDC members who volunteered at the booth report that festival participants kept them plenty busy throughout the duration of the festival. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

The HacDC booth demonstrated a variety of gadgets including a 3D Printer, the chassis of Spaceblimp 5 (or, “This lunchbox has been to space!”), a montage of beautiful Spaceblimp photos, a pen plotter writing portraits of people, various LED hacks, and a tank of water with a bubble ring generator.

A picture of our booth at the fest in case you missed it. Not quite the same, but we try.

I asked the volunteers and festival attendees to tell me about things they saw that they found particularly interesting:

  • Baby hacking, or in other words, how babies learn to distinguish speech sounds that are present within the language of their environment.
  • Ever want your own personal submarine? (Only if it comes with a periscope, right? Same here.) The Personal Submersibles Organization has one that is light enough that it can be carried on a trailer and lowered into the water on a ramp.
  • Extracting Banana DNA and wearing it on a necklace was a highlight.
  • As one member said, “There was probably something for every kind of geek.”

It sounds like everyone had a great time and we’re looking forward to attending more festivals in the future!