Contributor: Becca Crabb
Twice a year (soon to be four times a year!) we take over the lunch room for a 24 hour hackathon extravaganza. Fueled by coffee, Chinese food, new ideas, more coffee, and passion, we form interdisciplinary teams to create, explore, fail, and iterate. Hackathon projects have turned into user-facing products, internal products, patents, and even t-shirt art. Others never made it out of the cafeteria. In the end, everyone has fun and learns some new skills along the way. Below are a few examples of previous hackathon projects:
WASHER SERVICE DIAGRAM
In the early development days for the part washer, the development team (hardware, firmware, and software) needed an easy way to know the internal state of a machine. In addition to understanding the current state of a washer, the team wanted to be able to send commands to the microcontroller to open or close valves and run other subprocesses. We built an SVG schematic of the washer and an interactive internal web app hosted on the washer to dramatically improve the development experience. Today, this interactive diagram is used by manufacturing engineers, field service engineers, and our software team on a regular basis.
3D PRINTED DENTURE VS THE CORN NUT
What can our printed dentures chomp through?! One team set out to see if our dentures could hold up to chewing a corn nut. When our dentures passed the corn nut test, they continued to put the teeth up to other, more difficult tests.
“ALEXA, USE CARBON TO…”
When using our printers in a functioning print lab, it’s important to use gloves. Our engineering team is often working on printers in our labs, and it’s annoying to constantly remove and replace gloves when moving between a printer and a laptop. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just ask Alexa? We were able to get a functioning demo during the hackathon, but to do this in a production setting requires more work that hasn’t been prioritized yet. It was fun and inspiring nonetheless!
CAN WE PRINT WITH JELLO?
Members of the Materials team joined our Hackathon and used some developer software tools to print a JELL-O heart! It was part of a broader exploration in bio-printing.
While we are a hard-working group, we know the importance of taking breaks and having fun together as a team. Some of our offsites have included an escape room, a city-wide puzzle hunt, and strawberry picking!
ESCAPE ROOM IN SAN FRANCISCO
PUZZLE HUNT IN HALF MOON BAY
STRAWBERRY PICKING AND BEACH DAY IN SANTA CRUZ
Members of our team have a broad set of passions including musical instruments, archery, tennis, cars, flag football, and camping to name a few. But nothing brings our team together like a challenging puzzle! Except maybe birthday cake and pie..
Celebrating team birthdays with homemade cake!
Most Tuesday nights, members of the team order dinner and stay after work to solve a set of logic puzzles. If you’re like us, and can’t resist a good puzzle, we usually get our puzzles from puzzledpint.com. In addition to puzzle nights, we have regular board game and cryptic crossword puzzle lunches. There’s a group of folks who play tennis in the evenings. Some of us routinely discuss backpacking and climbing routes in the Sierras. Our interests and hobbies are diverse and we enjoy sharing our skills and learning new ones.
Abhishek taught us how to shoot a bow and arrow. Notpictured are the arrows that didn’t hit the target.