Last weekend I attended Intel’s Hackathon, held at the Austin TechShop. If I’m going to give up my weekend time it had better be good, and this event did not disappoint. Just finding the venue was an experience. Next to a Lowes, I spotted a hand-drawn sidewalk sign, complete with an artist’s free-hand rendering of the Intel logo.
I walked from the Texas midday sun into a cave of a room filled with nothing but rows of participants bent over their projects. I was welcomed with my very own Galileo 2 and an Internet of Things (IoT) Devkit. Most of the attendees were already in board “bring-up” mode by the time I got there.
Stewart Christie, Intel’s IoT Developer Program Community Manager, and a number of others played host and offered tech support, adding some levity to the mix with some Twitter fun. It went something like this:
Complete this sentence: “When I am coding, I …”
The winning tweet was, “…wear an adult diaper so I don’t have to take a bathroom break.” Naturally when the author’s name was called and he was invited to come up and collect his award, he was (you guessed it) in the bathroom. To see some of the finished projects, search for #intelmaker on Twitter.
A blurb from the TechShop’s FAQs sums up this enormous public workshop, saying that TechShop “provide[s] our members access to just about every machine, tool, and process that you can imagine, including milling machines and lathes, Epilog laser cutters, sheet metal equipment, welding equipment, an indoor automotive work bay, woodworking equipment including a 4′ x 8′ CNC ShopBot router, plastics working equipment, hand tools, a 3D printer, computer-controlled vinyl cutter, sewing machines, design software, and lots more.”
Sounds like a place you want to visit, doesn’t it? No project is too big or too small. In fact, TechShop Events Coordinator Casey Janowski showed me around while sporting the earrings she made on the laser machine.