Keynote Speakers

Whurley
Meet Whurley

He's been called a visionary systems theorist, a mad scientist, and an evil genius (International Genius). What he is, is innovative. Over his 20-year career, whurley has demonstrated a talent for innovation and a passion for open source software. In 2010 he co-founded Chaotic Moon, a leading mobile development and strategy company, and quickly built a portfolio of A-list clients. Names like Microsoft, CBS Sports, Sanrio, Pizza Hutt, and News Corp, for whom Chaotic Moon developed the first iPad-only digital newspaper.

In 2011 he could have stood put. Instead he doubled down, helping launch Chaotic Moon Labs to focus on "innovation on demand." As General Manager of the lab in 2012, he created what Wired Magazine described as "the best of CES," an all-terrain skateboard controlled by hand motions. Powered by an Xbox Kinect™ and a Samsung tablet, the board achieved an exhilarating top speed of 32 mph. For dessert, he built a mind-controlled version that Jason Bradbury, host of the Europe's The Gadget Show, said was "...like something out of a science fiction movie" and "comic book crazy."

He then created a rapid prototype of the shopping cart of the future. The Smarter Cart™ not only guided customers to items at Whole Foods' flagship store, it also scanned their food to help manage their dietary needs, notify them of FDA food recalls, and accelerate their check-out.

Today whurley keeps the world's top brands decades ahead of the curve, predicting not only the next iteration, but delivering on the demands of the next generation.

Sylvia Todd
Meet Sylvia

"Super-Awesome” Sylvia Todd started making and tinkering with things when she was 7, and always loved to try out new things. One year after visiting Maker Faire, she and her dad were inspired to create a web-show about making things called “Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show”, where she shows kids and adults that making things can be fun, easy, and more rewarding than just buying something purpose built. Now 12 years old and millions of views later, she’s covered everything from hobby rocketry, to sewable soft circuits, to Arduino. The show has garnered attention from parents and educators the world over, finding that something about the show gets students interested in making things and learning something along the way. In July 2013, she successfully launched her very first educational robotic kit on Kickstarter, the WaterColorBot. Check out news, episodes and lots more at sylviashow.com.

James Todd
Meet Todd

Though James Todd has always been a tinkerer, he started his family early and somehow figured that it wasn't something he could continue with his young children. After a visit to Maker Faire, it was clear that family life and electronics, programming and making this wasn't just possible, but should be encouraged at every step. Eventually working with his oldest daughter Sylvia at the age of 8, they decided to create a youtube video in the style of a show about building a kit, and take it back to maker faire. The video became an overnight success, and after only a year had blossomed into a second life, sending his family across the country to talk about the wonders of making. Though he's never been to college, and didn't even finish high school, he writes code for fun and profit, and tries his best to share as much as he has time for at github.com/techninja.

Kawandeep Virdee
Relational Computing: Making art we can do together
Meet Kawandeep

Kawandeep Virdee uses technology and art to explore ways we can create meaning and joy collectively. Currently, he is at Embedly, working on the product, growth, and helping people make awesome things. He is co-founder of the public art group New American Public Art, which has installed interactive work around Boston and the US. Formerly a research scientist, he completed a fellowship researching community formation and communication on the internet at the New England Complex Systems Institute. Tech art talks and workshops include the Art Institute of Boston, MIT, Betascape 2012, and the Newcastle Connected Communities Symposium. He blogs at www.whichlight.com and actively works to grow the tech art scene around Boston through Boston Creative Coders.

Marc Goodner
Start a Movement
Meet Marc

I thrive on complexity.

I got involved outside of work in 3D printing in early 2011. I found a lot of help in this from other people I knew at work who had been involved in it longer. The higher in person bandwidth communication was much more useful than internet resources. Lacking a place to get together after work I made one, the Maker Garage Chapter. As such its scope is broader than just 3D printing. The Maker Garage is a place where employees can work on their hardware projects, related to work or not. It’s a place to share knowledge, tools and inspiration. We’ve grown a lot over the past two years and opened a Maker Space at work this year. Outside of work I’ve also been involved in alpha build verification for a successful 3D printer Kickstarter, the Kossel Pro. I also love woodworking and audio synthesis. Someday I’ll bring those together and build that modular synthesizer.

Wei Lau
US STEM: Robotics as a platform for inspiring students and making learning FUN
Meet Wei

Wei Lau works as a Senior Software Engineer for Data Tactics on Big Data solutions. He has been a mentor for the past nine years with the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization and has been a leading mentor for USSTEM since its inception. Through the FIRST Robotics program, Mr. Lau mentors high school level students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by designing and building a new robot every year that is programmed to play a different game. He provides opportunities for each student to become engaged and eager about programming, no matter what their knowledge and skill level is, from teaching them to program robots, develop visual controls in Java and C++, and using their newly gained programming skills in combination with their Algebra and Physics courses. He also works with USSTEM to further expand on the successful areas of the program to grow the volunteer efforts to reach the broader community by helping to organize, setup and run local robotic competitions to provide additional opportunities for students to work, play, and compete with their FIRST robots in the offseason.


Domain Experts

On-hand Python Experts

Randall Hunt
Expertise: BreakfastSerial
Meet Randall

Randall Hunt is a software engineer and hacker from the NYC tech scene. Currently working on some next generation database technology at MongoDB Randall works primarily in Python and C++. Previously Randall worked at Ames and Langley research centers where he worked for the Intelligent Robotics Group. Randall also dedicates the remainder of his time to the hackNY fellowship and hackathon programs to federate the next generation of student hackers and engineers in NYC.

On-hand Ruby Experts

Ron Evans
Author: Artoo
Meet Ron

Ron Evans is a well-known software developer who has been very active in the free and open source community for over 20 years. As ringleader of The Hybrid Group, he has been helping clients solve some of their most difficult technical and business problems. Ron has been a very active speaker, presenting at conferences such as RubyConf, FutureRuby, RubyKaigi, Golden Gate Ruby Conference, Los Angeles Ruby Conference, Conferencia Rails, and MagmaConf. He was featured in Computerworld Magazine in the article "Rock Star Coders" for his popular blog post "I'd Rather Be A Jazz Programmer", as well as having written articles for MSNBC, BYTE Magazine, and the Direct Marketing Association, Ron is an active code contributor to many open source projects, including being the creator of the award-winning KidsRuby, free software to help teach Ruby programming to kids.

On-hand Node.js Experts

Rick Waldron
Author: Johnny-Five
Meet Rick

Rick Waldron is an open source software engineer at Bocoup and creator of Johnny-Five, the JavaScript Arduino programming framework for Node.js. In addition to being a core committer to jQuery, Rick sits on the jQuery Foundation's Board of Directors and serves as a representative to ECMA/TC39, forging the future of the JavaScript programming language. Though sometimes abrasive, Rick is actually a nice guy.

On-hand Robot Experts

Raquel Vélez
Author: Vektor
Meet Raquel

Raquel Vélez is a Software Developer in the Mobile/R&D group at Sauce Labs in San Francisco, integrating her node.js and front-end web development skills with more than a decade of robotics experience. She has previously worked at institutions such as Caltech, NASA JPL, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and various universities in Europe. In her off time, you can find her baking, teaching NodeBots not to fall off of tables, and speaking. Also, hanging out with her hilarious husband and two cats dressed in dog suits.

Jason Huggins
Author: Tapster
Meet Jason

Jason is the co-founder & CTO of Sauce Labs, a software test infrastructure company. He's also the creator of a popular open source web testing tool called Selenium. Jason created Tapster, a mobile testing robot, as a fun project to merge his two interests of robotics and test automation. For that project, he also created Bitbeam as an open source and 3D printable alternative to LEGO Technic for building robots.

Emily Rose
Author: RickRollio
Meet Emily

Robot inventor, Copter wrangler, IRC lion tamer.


Workshop Guides

Jonathan Beri
Workshop: Robotics
Meet Jonathan

Jonathan is a Developer Advocate at Google where he plays with APIs all day. Sometimes that means slapping a tablet & Google Hangout on a Roomba. Other times that means adding a cloud-based scoreboard to a laser-powered Foosball table. When he's not at work, he's busy hacking away on Node.js, building Nodebots that roll and/or fly.

Sara Chipps
Workshop: Wearables
Meet Sara

I discovered hardware hacking 6 months ago when my team won the Node Knockout innovation award with our LED covered christmas sweater. It's been love ever since, I'm obsessed with hacking on hardware.

Chris Continanza
Workshop: Microcontrollers and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Meet Chris

I am a software developer by day, hardware hacker by night. Over the last two years I've shipped production systems, installed two internet-enabled arduino projects in the Heroku office (where I work), and built a Websockets-based demo of the Internet of Things at scale.

My passion specifically for microcontrollers and the Internet of Things stems from work I did in college teaching computer science via Lego Mindstorms. I helped design college-level coursework for the entire CSC cirriculum, from systems labs to AI labs. I believe microcontrollers are the perfect way to demonstrate the practical power of computing to interact with the physical world.

Now that I am a professional engineer, I have been channeling that work into bringing high-level languages and concepts to the newest generation of internet-enabled devices. I've built an HTTP library for Arduino so that I can more easily consume REST endpoints. I've extended libraries on the Arduino and RasPI to add features I've needed for projects.

And while I love to get lost in the details, I have the discipline to step back and try to get others excited in the new world of possibilities afforded by ubiquitous computing.

Alan Davis
Workshop: Interaction Interfaces
Meet Alan

Alan Davis is a software engineer at Leap Motion, where he has worked on gesture recognition research, API design and implementation, and developer documentation. Previously, he performed research in computational linguistics, created intelligent game playing systems, and built least cost call routing services. He earned his BS in Computer Science and MS in Intelligent Systems from the University of Texas at Dallas. Alan enjoys juggling, dancing, poetry, communicating complex ideas in simple ways, and inspiring others to unlock their creativity.

Angelina Fabbro
Workshop: Artificial Intelligence & Ethical Responsibility
Meet Angelina

I completed a degree in Cognitive Science. While doing so I participated in graduate level robotics courses (as an undergrad) and also went on to to compete in the Rochard Tapia Conference for Diversity in Computing Science robotics competition in 2007 - our team came in 2nd overall, as well as won the coveted Technical Achievement award for our collision avoidance algorithm.

Although I transitioned to a full time web developer since graduating (I work at Mozilla now), I am still an avid hobby roboticist in my spare time and I look forward to integrating as much sensor data as I can from the real world as I can possible get away with. My current project is to re-create a smaller, more agile version of the robot our team built years ago and to replicate our collision avoidance algorithm using Javascript for use with Johnny 5

Joe Flasher and Zach Saale
Workshop: Soldering, Wiring, Prototype
Meet Joe and Zach

Zach Saale (Director of Operations) and Joe Flasher (CTO) are with iStrategyLabs. ISL is focused on bridging the digital and physical through various experiences and events. They have built online interactive experiences that lead to physical actions in the real world. One of their recent physical projects was The Redds Apple Launcher, something similar to which they will be talking about. They have worked with clients ranging from Hilton to AT&T to GE to Miller-Coors. We're really excited to show off their brand of digital/physical interaction.

Jon Gottfried
Workshop: Home Automation
Meet Jon

Jon has been hacking on hardware since 2005, where he built competetive autonomous firefighting robots with PIC boards. Lately, he has been working on some home automation projects and phone-controlled robots that he is turning into tutorials for Twilio DIY Home Automation using Twilio and Twilio Robot as well as some Google Glass-controlled robots for fun. He loves hacking and loves teaching.

Susan Hinton
Workshop: 3D Printing
Meet Susan

Susan Hinton is a web developer by day, and hobby enthusiast by night. She's currently heavily immersed in the 3D printing scene, teaching and enabling others in the technology. Her latest weapon of choice is a Printrbot Jr, which has been tricked out with upgrades and experiments. In 2011, she released a 3D printed jewelry range at http://owlposse.com. Her idea of an ideal Friday night is 3D modeling jewelry and robots, accompanied by a glass or two of quality scotch. As a board member of SYN Shop the Las Vegas hackerspace, Susan maintains the rapid prototyping station there. She also runs a newsletter called 3D Print Weekly over at 3dprintweekly.com. She's probably attempting to 3D print a cat right now.

Ari Rizzitano
Workshop: Robotics
Meet Ari

Ari is a software developer at AppNeta in Boston. A hardware tinkerer since grade school, she's always looking for ways to bring her design and programming background into the world of physical computing. When she's not busy speeding up web apps, she's hacking together robots to collaborate with (and annoy) her colleagues.

Mike Skalnik
Workshop: 3D Printing
Meet Mike

Mike is a developer at GitHub. After having good friends playing with hardware for many years, he was inspired to bring some of this to GitHub. Starting with a 3D printer (now controlled by their company chat bot, Hubot), he has slowly worked to reignite the hardware hacking culture and make it easier for the open source hardware community to leverage GitHub for their needs.

Pawel Szymczykowski
Workshop: Robotics
Meet Pawel

Pawel Szymczykowski is a software engineer at Zappos Labs (but his business card says "King of Goblins) and a proud member of the growing #VegasTech community. He is one of the board members of SYN Shop, a local hackerspace, and likes to tinker with a little bit of everything. He tries takes part in as many community projects like Downtown Podcast and Vegas Vernacular as possible while keeping his job, and enjoys organizing events like Mini Maker Faire and Nodebots Day with Susan Hinton and other trusted friends. Often leaps before looking, and it's seemed to work OK so far.

Max Wallace
Workshop: HackerSpaces
Meet Max

In North Carolina, Max started and ran Hackerspace Charlotte for two and a bit years. They went from fifty people in the back room of a Panera to a live hackerspace in just under three months. HSC also surpassed forty other spaces around the world to win the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge, as well as set a Guinness World Record for Largest QR Code. They are currently on their second location, fully-self-funded, and fully insured.