A few weeks ago the Particle team headed to THAT Conference in Wisconsin, the first of many developer events we plan to attend in the future. As an event sponsor, we led a half-day workshop, brought along some awesome swag, and held a #PartiBadge-powered scavenger hunt during the three-day event. Here’s a quick look back at the event and a bit behind the scenes of the scavenger hunt and PartiBadge.
What is THAT Conference?
THAT Conference describes itself as “summer camp for geeks,” a label that fits well with this family-friendly event held at a large indoor waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, WI, each August. Now in its seventh year, THAT Conference has grown to accommodate over 1,250 professionals and close to 500 family members as a part of the event. There are three main tracks to the conference: a traditional, professional track, a family track with kid and family-friendly (often STEM) sessions, and an entire ballroom dedicated to Open Spaces for attendee-driven conversations.
Particle was proud to be a Gold sponsor of THAT Conference 2018, which enabled us to meet and interact with tons of developers from our table in the makerspace corner of the event.
The Particle Workshop
Sunday before the official start of the conference, we held a half-day workshop to introduce folks to Particle hardware, our platform, and tools. Over the course of the workshop, an engaged group of conference goers learned about Particle, claimed their very own Photon, and got to explore the world of IoT development via a Photon-powered Blinky badge.
The #PartiBadge, Photon Edition
If you’ve been following along since the Bay Area Maker Faire a few months back, you may recall that we created an Electron-based staff badge, dubbed the #PartiBadge. For THAT Conference, we created a new iteration of the #PartiBadge for the Photon, swapped out a few items, and created a hexagon-based PCB design.
#PartiBadge v2 Features
- 1” OLED Screen
- Temperature and humidity combination sensor
- 4 tactile LED buttons
- 5-way directional joystick
- IR Receiver
- Piezo speaker
- #BadgeLife interconnect (aka, “SAO”) bus
For THAT Conference, we produced 100 badges that were assembled by our team in China. We’re pleased with how the badge turned out and are already hard at work on some Mesh-based revisions for the fall and beyond! Keep an eye out for a #PartiBadge at an event near you!
Scavenger Hunt and Swag
Of course, no event is complete without killer swag, and we brought our best to THAT Conference. In addition to the badge, which folks not in the workshop could earn by completing several challenges, we had custom-designed lapel pins, stickers, and a Particle bandanna. It was fun seeing attendees and families proudly displaying the Spark!
During the conference, #PartiBadge holders could hack their badges to participate in our scavenger hunt. By exploring the badge firmware, and unlocking secret features, contestants could earn points and compete for some awesome prizes. I managed to grab photos with two of our winners.