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Hackaday Superconference 2019

Mihir Shah

We had an incredible time at the 2019 Hackaday Superconference - "the greatest gathering of hardware hackers, builders, engineers and enthusiasts in the world"

We left with a lot of great memories, product feedback, new users, and best of all - great work to do :)

(Mihir giving a demo of inspectAR on the main stage!)

inspectAR went down to Pasadena to attend Supercon and were graciously given time to present a live demo of our technology to the thousands of Engineers, Hackers, Makers, and Hobbyists on-site and online. If you haven’t seen it already, head over to Youtube and watch the entire demo! Our experience at Supercon revolved around immersing ourselves in the amazing atmosphere - badge hacking, SMD challenges, talks ranging from PCB Art to FPGA design (and everything in between), and more - we can’t wait to come back next year.

Badge Hacking is a tradition at nearly every major hardware event, and Supercon is no exception. Badge hacking is an obsession, and in many ways, a lifestyle. At Supercon, badge hacking is practically the main event. People get really into it, building amazing things like a radio controlled flying shark, music hacks, blinky hacks, and many more. Check out Hackaday’s awesome badge hacking competition ceremony video

(Some of the badge hacking setup at LACM)

The incredibly fun activity has even gone so far as to have it’s own “Shitty Add-On” community-derived standard for adding little bits of electronic bling to conference badges. If an electronic conference badge supports the Shitty Add-On standard, it will be possible to add small PCBs to add more lights, LEDs, blinky, and Blockchain to badges. This is amazing.

(Shitty Add-On wall at Supercon!)

This year’s hackaday badge was nothing short of incredible, robust, and endlessly entertaining. The badge features an “ECP5 FPGA running a RISC-V core in a Game Boy form factor complete with cartridge slot that is incredibly open-sourced. Multiple open-source CPU designs were embedded in an open system, developed using the cutting-edge in open-source FPGA tools, and running open-source software on top” (Hackaday). 

(inspectAR being used on the Hackaday Supercon 2019 Badge!)

As part of the launch of the inspectAR “Free version”, we pre-loaded the Hackaday badge, so Supercon attendees could download inspectAR and use the tool to help them hack their badges. It was a huge success. We had over 100+ downloads in the first few hours, and it was great being able to walk people through the tool and help them hack their badges! 


(inspectAR highlighting several nets and components on the 2019 Hackaday Supercon badge)

In the very near future, we are going to be adding a lot of different evaluation and development boards from places like Crowd Supply, Digikey, Toradex, and more. If you have any boards you would absolutely like to see on the platform, please sign up and send us your thoughts! If you’d like to use inspectAR on your own custom boards, you can purchase an individual account and get you and your team set up in minutes.

The People!

The main reason Supercon was such an incredible experience - the people! I got to hang out, hack, compete in the SMD challenge, and talk shop with a lot of really smart and interesting people. Here are just a few of them. I loved talking with everyone at the conference, and if we didn’t get a chance to chat, please send me a note at mihir@inspectar.com.

(Drew from OSHPark!)
(Josh Lifton, CEO @ Crowd Supply)
(Gerrit Coetzee, co-founder @ Stealth Machine Co and fellow Autodesk resident!)
(Daniel Bogdanoff @ Keysight - look out for his Supercon recap coming soon!)
(Chris Gammell @ Analog Life, Contextual Electronics, Amp Hour podcast… the list goes on!)


(Odd Jayy, his Robot Companion, and me!)


Thanks for planning and hosting an incredible conference, Hackaday! Thanks to all of the staff for being so welcoming, and to all of the attendees for making it so great. We’ll be back next year.


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