Hackery in the UK, part 1: EMF Camp!

Sound begins at 1:45, when I pick up the mic…

From August 30 to September 3, we talked about bees, quadcopters, cyborgs, memes, why programming jobs suck, security, yurts, and the camp where we talked about all the other things. We slept in a cold and spidery field, drank booze under the M-1, and watched sound waves play out in fire. It was Electromagnetic Field, the UK’s first hacker camp.

Our event badge, the TiLDA, is a modified Arduino Leonardo designed by solexious. While the organizers worked feverishly to complete a game they’d devised, a couple of enterprising attendees developed a breathalyzer and a TiLDA that turns off others’ LEDs.

My own efforts (to make it blink my name in Morse code) were not so effective, partly because I had to abandon the project to put together my presentation. Though I’d long planned to propose a talk, it took me until Saturday to choose a theme (current and future trends in wearable/implantable technology). Jonty graciously gave me an Alpha Stage slot on Sunday, and I was regrettably rewarded for my stubbornness in holding out for more than a lightning talk. This was a lot of fun; I talked for about twenty minutes and then held a discussion with some brilliant humans, until Amran reclaimed the stage for the camp retrospective. We covered a few more technologies that I’d forgotten to mention, like magnetic finger implants and transcranial direct-current stimulation (TDCS).

The retrospective and camp wrap-up were thorough, honest, and poignant. I think they did an amazing job in their first year. There was a great variety of fascinating people, including the hackers from Bermuda with their tasty canned dark-and-stormys, the Hackeriet team from Oslo, and of course, my fellow traveler and captivating host, Fergus. (Jonty and Russ sponsored a tasty pint for the person who’d come furthest, which I ended up splitting with Toorcamp David of Seattle.)

David’s projection-hemisphere tent

Fergus and the Hackeriet crew

[Coming soon: people-sketches from lightning talks and general debauchery!]

After we’d recuperated somewhat, I spent a few nights at the London Hackspace working on my own TiLDA project: the Ardulele! More on this later, since I need to have its body shipped back to me from England…

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