themepark Makerland: Three days of Hardware Hacking in Warsaw

Makerland is a new European hardware conference for makers. Attendees will spend three days inside the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland, learning, interacting, and building amazing new things. The event features a diverse set of speakers and workshop leaders from around the world, which will give attendees the opportunity to take a wide view across the hardware landscape, or focus their time with experts from a specific area.

I chatted with Ola Sitarska, one of the Makerland organizers, to learn more about the conference.

What was the inspiration for the Makerland conference?

The idea came alive during our (Ola and Kuba) trip to Santa Clara, Calif. for PyCon US 2013. Eben Upton, creator of Raspberry Pi was there giving a keynote speech and running the Raspberry Pi Lab. Raspberry Pi also sponsored a Raspberry Pi for each of 2500 software developers attending PyCon. The Raspberry Pi Lab was filled with people all the time: there was no chance to go there and find a monitor or keyboard that wasn’t used by someone. People were so excited about the idea of playing with hardware — it was amazing. We are a software developers and Kuba in addition has a degree in robotics. We’ve organized many hackathons and conferences before together, but our favorite was hardware-only hackathon we did just before PyCon US 2013. We saw a big need of people who are curious and eager to learn something about hardware, but not only software developers: also those who are non-technical or designers, but all of them are connected by one factor: they are genuinely curious people. We want to give them a chance to feel a joy of blinking your first diode in a friendly, comfortable and fun environment.

What should attendees expect at the Makerland hackathon?

Basically every tool and part that is available during the workshops, will be available for the hackathon. We will have enormous amount of Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, more than 20 3d printers, soldering irons, sensors of all kinds, bitbeam blocks, hardwood parts, beacons, drones, spheros, makey makeys…everything you imagine you could use will be there. Kuba and I have done 3 hackathons so far and we are always amazed by creativity and results. I’m sure this time people will deliver something awesome, too.

Makerland will be held at the Copernicus Science Centre, why did you select that venue?

You would have to see this place to really understand that… It’s just amazing. It’s my favourite museum in Poland. I live in Warsaw and during the first two years after CSC opened, it was impossible to get inside. Two hour long queues were there on every day basis. Science and robotics served in such a simple and fun form accessible for everyone – even for small children. People who work there are passionate about science and it’s clear from the very first sight. The vibe and atmosphere couldn’t be replicated anywhere near Warsaw. It’s just perfect.

Why should someone attend Makerland, and will it be welcoming for beginners?

Kuba explained it best in his post on the Makerland blog.

If I would have to sum it up in a shorter form: it’s going to be amazing. I truly believe it’s the best event we’ve ever put together, and we’re known for doing a software conference in a circus tent.

It’s all about the people: and we’ve gathered the best people in the industry in one place for three days. You won’t find another place where you can touch and try every new technology taught by true experts in field for a fraction of the costs. We will equip you with hardware (that you can take home!) and resources that will help you develop your passion project after the event, too. You will meet amazing people and make some great friends to support you on your new journey. You will get a ton of creativity, inspiration and energy to do something. You don’t have to know anything coming to Makerland, and we will make sure you’ll leave as Maker.

I’m excited to attend the Makerland conference. I saw several couples working on projects together at RobotsConf last year, so when I heard about Makerland, I invited my wife, Candy, to join me. We will be leading a workshop entitled “Hacking your Community and your Career”, learning more about Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons for some future projects, and of course sharing the fun on the Make blog.

If you’d like to join us at Makerland, tickets are still available (at the time of publishing). Use code MAKE for a 10% discount.

Ian Cole

Ian is a founder of The Maker Effect Foundation, a non-profit group organized to study and amplify the effects of makers within their communities. Ian is very active in the Orlando maker community as a member of FamiLAB, Orlando’s Hackerspace, and as a founding organizer of Maker Faire Orlando. Ian blogs about his family’s maker adventures at raisinggeeks.com.


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