The Last HOPE

This past weekend, I attended The Last HOPE at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC.  The con was awesome and I had a great time.  This was my first HOPE, and I noticed a few strong themes this year, including:

  • Hardware hacking is getting a lot of attention and there is a lot of interest in microcontrollers including new design and reverse engineering off the shelf hardware like RFID.
  • Local community based physical spaces for hacking are booming.  Hackerspaces like NYC Resistor and the Hacktory are becoming a very big part of the scene, and new hackerspaces are popping up all over the world.  Each space has their own unique interests, but common themes seem to be microcontroller hacking (especially Arduino), fabrication (like Reprap and Fab@Home) and other more physical projects instead of just writing code.  There was even a new wiki announced at the show that is devoted to tracking hackerspaces and helping start new ones at hackerspaces.org.
  • There was an awesome talk about Biohacking by Chris Seidel (I wish I could find a link) that makes me wonder if we will see more of this in the future as Bioengineering becomes more accessible to the masses.  The parallels Chris identified between biological processes and electrical circuits were spooky.

It was announced during the closing ceremonies that the Hotel Pennsylvania will not be demolished as was previously announced, and that there will indeed be another HOPE in 2010.

NYC Resistor has some info about the 3D Wiremap demo, one of my favorite exhibits, shown below.

3D Volume Renderer

2 thoughts on “The Last HOPE”

  1. It turns out that you can make logic gates and flip flops out of genes and proteins that turn them on and off. One of the most popular genes to play with is the fluorescent green gene, which has been used as an indicator for chemical pollution in bacteria and also to make green glowing bunnies and fish.

  2. I remember in my senior year of high school when I took AP biology how there were so many similarities between the structure and function of biological systems and electrical ones. Think of ion pumps in cells and charge carriers in semiconductors. Or think about the mecahnism of a neuron. Its all electronics, but with lots of little batteries and other biochemical potential mechanisms.

    Just the other day at work on our forum someone was asking if there was a place where people could work on building stuff/soldering stuff. Turns out there may be some cooperation with the ham club which has a station/shack. So maybe there is hope for a future of ham radio after all! It will just be used for a new kind of experimentation/learning/developing.

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