Organizers of this year’s Geekcon festival proudly announced that more than 60 unusable technologies came out of this year’s makers’ event.
Whereas most hackathons vie to come up with new tech that can somehow make a difference to society, the annual Geekcon meetup calls on innovators, code monkeys, geeks, entrepreneurs, makers and designers to create crazy, half-baked, totally useless gadgets.
Techies gathered on a kibbutz near Caesarea for a weekend of innovation and fun. The open-space workshop area was filled with circuit boards, power tools, 3D printers and drones.
Geekcon was founded in 2005. Organizers say the annual get-together is “inspired by innovative gatherings such as Burning Man and FooCamp. We are a non-profit, invitation-only platform often referred to as a summer camp for geeks.”
The event was actually started as a friends-only meetup. But word spread and today, nearly 200 innovators from the UK, Germany, India, Singapore and the United States all “come together just to build something … out of nothing, ” writes Eden Shochat, one of the founders.
Among the bizarre projects created this year at the 52-hour hack were Om Nom Nom, a system that identifies emotions and mental states and translates them into pastries; Bullshit-Maker, a meter that determines how much of a speech is utter crap and emits chunks in the appropriate size;
Thoughts Printer, where players wear headsets and watch their mutual thoughts turn into an artwork using EEG, 3D printing and the Web;
Face Off, in which the person to press the wrong button in a game, or who didn’t press the button first, gets a pie in the face;
Jedi training reenactment using Oculus Rift, Kinect 2, a home-brew drone and Intel Edison to reenact the Jedi training scene from Star Wars;
Virtual Piano, played while wearing gloves under a camera;
and Self-Adjusting Underwear that can be shared by multiple people in different sizes.
“We target a 66 percent failure rate. That means we want 66% of the teams NOT to succeed in building their projects. From our perspective, Geekcon 2013 was a failure because we had a 50% success rate. Why is that a failure? Because a high success rate of 50% means that we didn’t take enough risk when we selected the project proposals. Geekcon is a lot like my day job in venture capital. You need to take sufficient risk to get a big payoff. Optionality drives both creativity and VC returns, ” writes Shochat, a partner at Aleph venture capital fund.
While the event’s purpose is to create for the sake of creating with no practical purpose, the fair drew top sponsorship including the likes of Wix Engineering, AT&T Foundry, Samsung, Google, Facebook and Deutsche Telekom.
After all, you never really know where the next technology may come from. And, hey, who’s to say it won’t spring from a thoughts printer or Jedi training?