Mitch Altman

Hacker, Inventor, and “Maker Hero” Mitch Altman

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Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence: February 25–March 12

Mitch Altman is a San Francisco-based hacker and inventor, best known for inventing the TV-B-Gone remote control, a keychain that turns off TVs in public places. He co-founded 3ware, a successful Silicon Valley startup; did pioneering work in Virtual Reality at VPL Research; and created the Brain Machine, one of MAKE Magazine's most popular DIY projects. He leads workshops around the world, teaching people to make cool things with electronics, as well as promoting hackerspaces and open source hardware. Altman is co-founder of Noisebridge, and President and CEO of Cornfield Electronics. Make Magazine has referred to Altman as "the Johnny Appleseed of hackerspaces", and he was awarded the first "Maker Hero" award, named in his honor.

All events take place at Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana. Free parking is available in the parking garage across the street.

Sunday, February 25 

7 p.m. Opening Program: Hack Your Life for Fun and Profit (South Rec Room) OPEN TO ANYONE


Monday, February 26

7–8:30 p.m. — Make your own multi-color blinky light badge! (South Rec Room) OPEN TO ANYONE

Anyone and everyone can learn to solder!  It's easy!  It's fun!  Mitch can teach you!

9 p.m. — Tea Time: Creating and being part of supportive community - the hackerspace movement.  (guest apartment)


Tuesday, February 27

7–9:30 p.m. — Make your own Drawdio: A pencil that lets you draw with music (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY
It’s a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.

9:30 p.m. — Q hosts Tea Time with Mitch  (guest apartment)


Wednesday, February 28 

7–9 p.m. — Make your own interactive art with light and computer chips! (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

Nothing needed but you and your curiosity.  You can make something way cool in less than an hour. Trippy RGB Waves is a project to create waves of colors that follow your hands.

9:30 p.m. — Tea Time with Mitch: Let's talk about depression (guest apartment)

Mitch has started Geeks & Depression meetups and has organized panels on depression at hacker conferences. Here is a link to a blog post he wrote about depression.


Thursday, March 1

7–10 p.m. — Arduino For Total Newbies workshop (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

Arduino is a super popular, incredibly easy-to-use electronics board that anyone can learn to use to make their art, electronics, or projects of all sorts. This workshop will teach you everything you need to know to get going with Arduino. As an example project we'll all make a TV-B-Gone remote control that you can take home with you — if you can make this, you can make anything!


Saturday, March 3

1–3 p.m. — Neurohacking and consciousness hacking meetup (South Rec Room) OPEN TO ANYONE

Our brains are always putting out patterns of energy. Can we make use of this for anything cool? Can you control things using your thoughts? Can we use technology to help expand our consciousness? People have been trying since the 1960s. What's possible?  What's not? Come to this meetup to explore some of these questions, and to try using your brainwaves to control blinky lights with real EEG machines!


Sunday, March 4

1–4 p.m. — Make a Brain Machine (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

Get altered states of consciousness and hallucinate beautiful colors and patterns with this microcontroller-driven sound and light device. Meditate! Hallucinate! Trip out!


Monday, March 5 

9 p.m. — Tea Time with Mitch: Making a living doing what you love. (guest apartment)


Wednesday, March 7

7–10 p.m. — Make your full-color pictures appear in the air! (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

MiniPOV4 blinks colored lights to display images of your choice as you move or dance.


Thursday, March 8

7–9:30 p.m. — ArduTouch Music Synthesizer (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

It's an Arduino-compatible music synthesizer kit. Beginners can solder it together, and it will work as soon as they’re done -- making a variety of cool, harsh, and/or beautiful sounds and music. But someone who knows Arduino can download a bunch of different modules to make lots of different complex, high-quality sounds and music. Someone who is a bit more advanced can learn the basics of digital signal processing for generating audio. 


Sunday, March 11

1–4 p.m. — Making way cool sounds & music: Basics of Digital Signal Processing class and jam! (South Rec Room)  OPEN TO ANYONE

Digital Signal Processing is really cool. And it's not all that hard to learn to play with. Let's come together to learn the basics, and understand how to make way cool noise, sound, and music with microcontrollers. 

OPTIONAL:  Bring a sound-making machine with you and we can demo and jam afterward.


Monday, March 12

7–10 p.m. — Make your own TV-B-Gone! (South Rec Room) ALLEN RESIDENTS ONLY

Ever been somewhere in public with a distracting TV on yammering away?  Ever thought about turning TVs off in public places?  Now you can!  With the TV-B-Gone you can turn off TVs up to 50 meters away!  In this workshop we'll be making our own TV-B-Gone and, if you like, attaching it to an article of clothing that you can wear anywhere, so no one will ever know it's you making rooms into more peaceful places for everyone.

OPTIONAL: Bring a hat, hoodie, shirt, cigarette case, box, old large cell phone, or whatever else you would like to use to hold the TV-B-Gone that you will make.