Codebits VI (2012)

Another year, another Codebits! For those that don’t know what Codebits is, it’s basically the gathering of 800 geeks/technologists during 3 days for talks, challenges, free food, networking, general mucking about, hacking (the good kind) and a 48-hour programming competition. It’s one of the biggest tech event in Portugal, and, I would risk saying, the most awesome event… *cue Jeremy Clarkson* in the world.

This year I stepped my game up and decided to present a talk about Evolutionary Robotics. Unfortunately, things went sour and I couldn’t show up in time for my own talk! I was really feeling awful about this, but the Sapo team was amazing and rescheduled for the next day. I am really grateful for their second chance. You can watch the talk online online if you want to:

As usual, I also participated in the 48-hour programming contest. Although this is only my third year attending Codebits, I’m starting to see a pattern in the theme of projects I choose: music. Earlier this year, I messed around with floppy drive music, and that seemed like an awesomely geeky thing to extend into a Codebits project. The idea was to use the floppy drives as a guitar “amplifier”. By using a computer to figure out the note that a real guitar is currently playing, we could then use Moppy to play that note with the floppy drives. Since the whole hardware configuration was a mess (we used 4 floppy drives, a power supply, an arduino, a breadboard, and lots of wires) we decided to make a box for it, which ended up being a Codebits bot (the mascot of the event). Artica helped us out alot by lending us some tools, so thanks a lot guys!

Before we presented our project, we also had a really valuable help from the Codebits sound guys. Not only did they recommended us to isolate the box with foam or Polystyrene (which we did), they also spent a lot of time tweaking our microphone setup for the 90-second project presentation. When the time came, we pitched the idea, showed some “awesome” guitar playing skills, and the audience seemed to really like the project! We were the 4th project with the most votes, out of a total of roughly 90 projects. A big thanks to David Jardim and Pedro Dias for working hard on the it and seeing the potential of the idea! Here’s the 90-second presentation:

I thought the organization couldn’t improve upon last year’s edition, but they really brought the whole event to another level. I can’t pinpoint any flaw. I hope that next year is even more awesome!