Wow. It’s our 7th annual Science Hack Day SF and it’s as strong, amazing and geeky as ever. We gathered 150 attendees this year at General Assembly. Among them were linguists, particle physicists, UX designers, roboticists, biohackers, anthropologists, marketers, programmers, artists, and many many more. 38% of attendees this year were women. Some of our attendees flew in from New York, DC, and also we welcomed Shanshan from Shanghai, the organizer of Science Hack Day Shanghai, who had flown in specially just to attend our SF event. Science Hack Day’s mission is simply to get excited and make things with science, and that’s just what everyone did. One of the remarks I made at the start of this year’s event was about how building community is one of the best things to be involved in right now after the election, and especially connecting different communities together as Science Hack Day does. Exploration is not a solo endeavor and thus it’s less about what you explore and more about the act of exploring. In community exploration, we build strength, support, and safe spaces.
You can browse through all 27 hacks that were created over the weekend (the page also notes who received the coveted SCIENCE medals!). The Best In Show went to Hack-a-HULA, a hula-hooping robot. The People’s Choice award this year was tied(!) between Hack-a-HULA and Augmented Reality Sandbox, a physical sandbox that was built from scratch using Xbox Kinect and 200 pounds of sand.
Our first year holding the event at General Assembly was great! With every new venue, comes new ways to be creative in how we use it. Plethora did an amazing job decking out an entire conference room as a “Hardware Library” with saws, CNC machines and plenty of materials for hacking things together. Since we didn’t have access to a roof this year, we decided to turn our evening stargazing from years past to “bacteria gazing” through Jun encouraging attendees to swab surfaces to see who could grow the most disgusting petri dishes overnight. Sunday morning we watched The Martian while enjoying the delights of an on-site waffle bar to help wake us up.
Photos + Videos
As always, Matt Biddulph created a great set of photos on Flickr for your browsing pleasure, released under a Creative Commons license. You can also search for #sciencehackday on Twitter, Instagram or Flickr to find many more taken by some of the attendees. Here’s just a small sampling of some of the photos that I love from Matt’s collection:
Thank you to all the sponsors (listed on the right side of this site)! We absolutely would not be able to have events like this exist without their support. They help make awesome things happen in the world and you should take a minute to click on their names to see what they’re up to.
Hugs and many thanks to the Science Hack Day SF team: Jun Axup, Matt Biddulph, Rose Broome, Chris Martin, along with epic help from Drew Woods and Nick Pinkston. Creating this event is a huge team effort and many of us are balancing it while running startups and other large endeavors. Our team of on-the-day volunteers are truly wonderful – giving up some of their personal time to help make the event run smoothly – thanks to Cosmo Mielke, Tantek Çelik, Karen Nguyen, Paul Mison, AK, Matt Hancher, Simon Batistoni, Bryn Wolf, and Alex Campbell this year for your donations of time to support SCIENCE!
Thanks also to all who gave lightning talks, donated cool hardware, offered inspiration and provided amazing activities for everyone to enjoy! And THANK YOU to everyone who attended for making Science Hack Day what it is – truly, you all give me life.
I hope to see many of you again next year. Yay, science!
– Ariel Waldman, lead organizer of Science Hack Day SF