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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.