The night before the Get your bot on demos

If the first day of Get your bot on was about shaping an idea and putting all the pieces together, the second day was all about the hustle. We wrapped up the first day of the hackathon a little past midnight. We left the Mozilla offices after having seen some of the robots being demo-ed and practically completed. Of course the difference between a robot that is completely done and ready for a demo and a robot undergoing a beta test is night and day!

The second day of the hackathon saw teams sprinting for the finish line hoping and praying for no hardware failures and miracles. I saw my fair share of teams asking for an extra hour or the pushing back of the demos to later in the afternoon. We had a hard stop at 1 PM and as 1 PM got closer, the building and testing frénésie was surreal!

We had 19 robots completed which was going to make the judge’s work pretty though. Each team had 2 minutes to present its robot, discuss its salient features and explain what was used to create the robot. I have to say that being witness to the last ditch efforts to get some of the robots performing, I was expecting a large number of failures during the demos but no, pretty much every robot performed its tasks – some better than others – but overall: I was DAMN impressed at what could be built with what seemed to me bits of hardware duct taped together! Well, not really, since we had an awesome kit to start with, but there were a lot of improvisations.

As some participants were building their robots,

and others started testing their robots,


some decided to wrap up their testing and call it a night!

while others still decided to make the best of the last few minutes of the day


Wrap up of 1 of Get your bot on: Excitement!

The first day excitement could be seen and felt everywhere!


19 teams in total!










And so it started! This is day one of the hackathon but really it is day two. We got started on Friday with the planning sessions and workshops. The kits we put together survived the scrutiny and handling of participants and that was great given the amount of planning required to put them together.

Get Your Bot On Kit:

The Get your bot on hackathon was sold out. We started a waitlist and that also filled up pretty quickly. Like Dave McLure said:

The smart wait listed participants joined us on Friday for the planning sessions and workshops. Since that gave them an opportunity to mingle with all participants and mentors, most of them managed to get accepted in an already formed team.

Jen – whom we fondly call General Jen – facilitated an awesome team planning session: we had teams who were already formed and knew what they were going to build, participants who had ideas but no teams, wait-listed participants some of whom had ideas, but not team and no registration and it all resulted in 22 robot building teams!

Real Time Team Planning

We started the Friday evening at the TinEye HQ and that of course involved beer, grilled cheese sandwiches, robots, flying objects and chocolate in that order!

Today, Get your bot on is being held in the Mozilla Open Space which is an awesome space for hackathons. Open, with ample space, great working surfaces and couches! We spent most of the afternoon on Friday setting up the entire space so it works for all the teams.

Mozilla Open Space set up

As you can see we covered every single table with thick craft paper and provided foam core. And this is how it looked once everyone settled in:

and of course, hackathons require energy and lots of it!

We try to use as few disposables as possible during our hackathons so we always ask our participants to bring their own mugs. We just hate seeing hundreds and hundreds of disposable cups at the end of a weekend hackathon. Some participants are more enthusiastic about their mugs than others :) (xavier snelgrove in the house!)

and of course, the Mozilla crew represented by Olivier rocked!

Our awesome sponsors even wished us good luck! @hubba

Rob Tyrie got the hackathon confused with a sports event. I am not sure about what sports he is cheering on this Grey cup weekend, but it seems to be related to hockey.

A number of hackers where eager and ready to get started.

Robotics Hackathon: Today is the day!

Excitement in the air. We are just about there. We have been busy most of the night sorting and packing the hackathon kits. Hardware and electronic parts have been arriving at the office all week long and our library has now been converted into a full hardware storage facility.

In a few hours we will be getting all the hardware to the Mozilla offices and preparing for the hackathon soiree in the TinEye HQ. We have a full schedule for tonight and are looking forward to welcoming you and discussing your projects and meeting your team. Thank you!

How a ping pong table becomes an electronics sorting surface.

Actually we pretty much used every available surface.

Nick: the sorting robot!

We could open an electronics store.

We are learning from robots: assembly line.


Robot dance!

It will eventually all make sense.

Sort, sort, sort.


And yes, there are tools involved. Bring your safety glasses!

 Thank you!

11 PM and we are packing the hackathon kits for the weekend. So many parts. So much work!

And of course we are reminded that this hackathon would not be possible without the support of our awesome SPONSORS and the COMMUNITY. Nothing and I mean nothing would be possible without all of you rallying around an idea and helping us make it happen. So from the bottom of our heart: THANK YOU for believing, thank you for landing a hand and thank you for making this dream possible.

Thanks to (in alphabetical order, and we love you all to the same):
betakit, brian sharwood, commonsku, conveyorbuilt, cortex design, craig saila, homezilla, hubba, instructables, interaccess, jen dodd, joseph puopolo, kapik integration, MEIC, mozilla,, normative, polarmobile, richard lam, rightsleeverob tyrie, tara hunt,, thomas purves, tineye, thinkthank lab, upverter







[photo copytight]

Build a robot? Hell yes! Robotics hackathon under way.

I hope that you are as excited as we are to be joining us for the Get your bot on hackathon this weekend. Robots, builders, makers and geeks and fun, what’s not to love! It is down to the wire in the Get your bot on HQ and we are putting the finishing touches to the hackathon but the most important item is ready: the kits!

What is Get your bot on: A weekend hackathon to build a robot in a team. You will be building a robot using the parts in the provided kit. You can of course enhance the kit with anything else you would like, please remember to bring your additional parts with you. You will be working in teams of at least 2 participants. If you already have a team, that’s great, make sure everyone shows up to pick up your kit. If you are solo and still need a team member, we will help you with that on Friday so make sure you join us Friday evening.

Get your bot on kit: Your kit is fully documented. Take a look at all the parts we are providing. Make note of anything else that you may be needing and source it now. We will be providing soldering guns, foam core, good working surfaces and additional tools but please remember to bring your computer and power cables if you are going to need them. If you have spare parts that you would like to add to our spare parts list, please bring them with you, you may save someone’s day by doing that!

Workshops:  We will start the weekend with a soiree at the TinEye HQ. On Friday you will meet all the participants, find a team member if you don’t already have one, check out the kit and meet the hackthon team. We will be able to answer any question that you have and will prepare you for the weekend. We will also be holding a series of workshops that evening so if you are interested in attending any of the workshops, please make sure you arrive on time. The workshops will take place ahead of the soiree itself.

Friday November 23 | Schedule:

Time What’s Happening
6:00 PM Doors Open at the TinEye HQ – Welcome and prepare for the workshops
6:30 PM
Official Welcome: Introduction to the event, view the kit, mentor and team introduction
7:00 PM
Arduino Primer – If you have never used an Arduino or need a refresher, this is the workshop to attend.
7:30 PM
Sensors and Circuits – Your workshop about sensors and circuits. This will be a crash course! Bring your note book
8:00 PM
Motors and Mechanics – Your workshop about motors and mechanics. Boom! 30 minutes to get you up and running.
8:30 PM Mingle – Grab a drink, a grilled cheese sandwich and meet all the hackathon participants, check out the kit
9:00 PM Team Introductions – Every team puts down its team name on the whiteboard and a code name for their project. If you don’t have a team, we help you make one.
10:00 PM
 Wrap up
 Location  TinEye HQ: 223 Queen Street East, Toronto. The closest intersection is Queen and Sherbourne.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I allowed to use any additional equipment to build my robot?

Yes. Just make sure you bring it with you.

What if I don’t know anyone when I get to the hackathon or if I don’t have any ideas as to what to build?

That’s an easy one – if you don’t know anyone, that’ll last about 10 seconds once you join us. Seriously. And as to ideas: don’t worry, there will be plenty to choose from. The better question is will you have enough time to build your robot and showcase it to the judges on Sunday?
To help you find a team mate, we will facilitate a session on Friday evening, so make sure you join us on Friday evening.

What if I have an idea and a team already?

Perfect!  Bring your team and idea, and start working as soon as you get to the hackathon on Saturday.

How large can my team be?

Teams can be as small or as large as you’d like. We require that teams be comprised of at least 2 participants but if you wish to work in a team of 3, 5 or 10, that’s fine too.

Can I continuously work on building my robot?

Yes. You can continuously work on building your robot starting Saturday at 10 AM. You will be required to stop working on your robot on Sunday at 1 PM so that you can present it to the judges.

What can I do to ace my judges presentation?

We recommend that you stop working on your robot 30 minutes before the presentations at least. You should prepare your robot for demonstration and make sure it is ready. Also prepare your story. You will need to tell the judges what you used to build your robot, and what your robot is able to do. Demo this to your team mate to make sure that everything will works smoothly. If you need to project anything during your demo, make sure you get in touch with one of the organizers so that they can set you up with a projector.

What should I bring?

  • Your laptop, with anything you need pre-installed
  • Your mobile device if you are planning on using it to control your robot
  • Cables, chargers, and connectors for any of the above
  • Any hardware that is not included in the kit and that you need to complete your robot
  • Your sense of humour and your ability to get along with everyone while in tight quarters!
  • Your portable coffee cup – we try to keep disposables to a minimum
  • External display connectors for our projector – we’ll have a few, but bring yours if you have them. This will help speed up your presentation to the judges
  • Fabric if you are building a toy robot. We will have a sewing machine if you need to do last minute touch ups.

Saturday November 24 | Schedule:

Time What’s Happening
10:00 AM Doors Open at the Mozilla HQ – Breakfast, kit pick up and set up. Start building
12:30 PM
Lunch: Vegetarian burritos from Burritos Locos! Feel free to mingle during your lunch or eat your lunch as you solder!
1:00 PM
Back building
4:00 PM
Drinks and snacks – fun times!
5:00 PM
Mentor walk around
7:00 PM  Optional dinner – If you are staying late, we will provide you with dinner.
10:00 PM Wrap up of day 1. You are free to continue working on your robot overnight.
 Sweet dreams!
 Location Mozilla HQ: 366 Adelaide Street West

At the end of day 1 you should have the bulk of your building done.

Sunday November 25 | Schedule:

Time What’s Happening
10:00 AM Doors Open at the Mozilla HQ – Breakfast. Continue building your robot
Lunch: Feel free to mingle during your lunch or eat your lunch as you solder!
1:00 PM
Judges Presentations – Get ready to impress the judges
4:00 PM
Drinks and snacks and winning celebrations – fun times! and wrap up
5:00 PM
Thank you!


  We will be attempting to run an event that is as disposables free as possible. So please bring your mug, drinking cup, bowl or whatever you think you may need for drinking and snacking. If you forget your mug, Leila will charge you a $10.00 fee which will be donated to the Toronto Wildlife Center at the end of the event. We love planet earth and we know you do to. Do your part.