2014 — 2016


Posted on by Zac

We had our first hackpompey hack day on Saturday.

35 people turned out to the Innovation Space for a whole day learning, hacking and meeting new people. 'balloon' emoji

Inspired by hack events like hacksoton and Pub Hack, we figured out the key to success was making sure people were well fed, WiFi'ed and powered up.

We didn’t want it to be competitive and should be open to everyone. So we made it free and encouraged people to work on what they wanted.

The Hacks

Here’s a run down of some of what people were doing. 'alien' emoji

Rubik’s Cubes

Nick teaching people about cubes

Solving a Rubik’s cube is pretty simple, a lot of people think you need to be a maths genius. 'game_die' emoji

*click* *click* *click* *click* Nick Colley

Nick came along with some of his Rubik’s cubes and showed people how to solve them and a bit about speedcubing.

Facial Recognition

Toby was messing about with Open CV and facial recognition. 'japanese_ogre' emoji

ODL Graphics

Jason designed some logos for the Open Device Lab we’re starting up.

He went for a kind of ‘science lab’ vibe with a flask, and some other device bits and bobs. 'iphone' emoji 'computer' emoji

ODL logo on orange

Pebble game

Max and the Davids made a game with Pebble smartwatches and web sockets. 'watch' emoji 'video_game' emoji

Each watch controls one of the dots on the screen and they have to work together try and collide with each other.

Their code is on GitHub. 'link' emoji

“It’s one of the only games that gets easier progressively as you go through the levels…” David Gauld

Population Visualizations

Gavin, Tristan and Alex wanted to visualise how densely populated places in the world are and compare them.

They came up with a heatmap for people on a global map. 'fire' emoji 'earth_africa' emoji

Some of their work is on GitHub. 'link' emoji


Toyeeb, Yasmeen and Peter hacking on arduinos

Yasmeen, Peter, Ieva, Toyeeb got cracking with some Arduinos.

Arduinos are small electronics boards that let you do prototyping with electronics controlled by code.

They made some traffic light systems and even got a speaker playing Merry Christmas. 'vertical_traffic_light' emoji 'christmas_tree' emoji

hackpompey Hack Site

John made a site for the event itself. With all these cool creations it made sense for them to be hosted on hackpompey.co.uk. 'globe_with_meridians' emoji

Light Art

Light art

A video posted by hackpompey (@hackpompey) on

Sean was messing about with web audio and some cool visuals with his camera. 'fireworks' emoji 'art' emoji

He got people playing with a light painting program that captured white lights and faded them to create a cool effect.

When shining the light on objects (and people) it 'painted’ them into the scene!


Rob was playing with Johnny-Five, a node module for interfacing with a Arduino. He made a RESTful interface for some components he had hooked up. 'space_invader' emoji

Then he teamed up with Nick to make what will be next instrument something something. 'notes' emoji

His code is over on GitHub. 'link' emoji

Snapchat Photo-booth

Ben and I worked on a ’Snapchat photo-booth’. 'ghost' emoji

Using a camera hooked up to a Raspberry Pi we listened for snaps being sent to the 'hackpompey’ Snapchat account. We then took a photo from the camera and sent them back a snap. 'movie_camera' emoji

You can find the code on GitHub. 'link' emoji

Browser Capabilities PHP Project

James was working on some open-source code. Improving the Browser Capabilities PHP Project. 'package' emoji

ROSY the Robot

Jorge and Simon were hacking on their retro robot ROSY. They stayed over after the hack to bring her back to life. 'sparkling_heart' emoji

The robot came with a magazine, which included printed BASIC code that you’d use to get it function.

Cosmic Radiation

Matthew, representing the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, was simulating some cosmic radiation. 'star' emoji


Light art

A video posted by hackpompey (@hackpompey) on

After cannibalizing another quadcopter, Todd, Richard and David ended up with a quadcopter controlled by their phone’s sensors. 'helicopter' emoji

The phones sensor data was sent to an Arduino which then interfaced with the quadcopter’s remote.

Show and Tell

If you want to see a terribly edited and shakey cam recording of the show and tell, I’ve put exactly that together. 'video_camera' emoji


We gave away a few goodies at the end: *drum roll*

  • Tristan wasn’t so happy to receive a mythical Dragon fruit 'pineapple' emoji
  • Yasmeen got a Amazon Giftcard to spend on important hack resources 'money_with_wings' emoji
  • Ejinn bagged himself a Raspberry Pi B+ (…shh don’t tell him the A+ is out) 'pager' emoji

Thanks and what’s next

Thanks to everyone that came, it was really fun.

Need to thank Andy and the Innovation Space team for the support and for paying for all the great food. 'bulb' emoji Deli Too sorted out a great lunch for us. 'fork_and_knife' emoji 'coffee' emoji 'cookie' emoji 'apple' emoji 'lollipop' emoji 'pizza' emoji

Also thanks to Nick Savage and the School of Computing for getting bits and bobs for hacking on.

Leong from the Photography Society took some great shots. 'camera' emoji You can see some over on the society’s Facebook page.

Finally shout out to Nicola and Mark from the council for coming along. We chatted about themes on the day and we think that’s a great idea so that’s why the next one will most likely be open data themed.

We’ll let you know when that is so follow us at the usual places, we’re 'hackpompey’ everywhere.

Bring on the next one! 'thumbsup' emoji