Day 0

I arrived at Belgaum on Friday, October 13, 2017 morning by train, and headed to the Sankalp Bhumi resort. I was given the Rock Cottage Dhyan (“meditation”) for my stay. After freshening up and having breakfast, I started to explore the resort. The place was an abandoned stone quarry that has been converted into a beautiful resort spread over an area of eight acres. It is a very quiet, peaceful place with trees, lawns, and water bodies. A number of fellow hackers and mentors also started arriving at the venue, and we were just getting ready for the day’s events.


After lunch, we headed to the large function hall where volunteers were to be trained on soldering. Jithin B. P. had prepared a simple PCB layout with LEDs and potentiometers for volunteers to practice soldering. These volunteers will help school students in the soldering workshops in the coming two days at the event.

Training volunteers for soldering

In the evening, I had suggested to Praveen Patil and Hitesh Dharmdasani to have an informal BoF session. So, everyone got together under one roof, and Hitesh explained how and why they started SHD. There were a round of introductions followed by open discussions. After dinner, some of our fellow hackers headed to the hackerspace (“cafeteria”) to test the Wi-Fi, and prepare for the next day’s hacks.

Day 1

The volunteers arrived in the morning to ready the registration desk and prepare the name cards. Science Hack Day banners were placed at various locations in the premises. After breakfast, everyone gathered at the function hall for an informal inauguration. This was followed by a 30-minute introduction on Aeromodelling by Mr. Arjun Bilawar (retired trainer, NCC Karnataka and Goa Directorate). It had rained heavily last evening and hence a nearby playground was not suitable to demo the aeroplane. Mr. Arjun then took us to a nearby open area, and with a short runway, he was able to lift off the model plane, and flew it for few minutes to the loud cheers from the students.

Aeromodelling session

We then headed to the hackerspace to start work on our projects. Siddhesh and other hackers began to build a 3D printer. Shreyas K was building an image detector to be used in his college to detect students jumping off the wall in his college premises. This was covered in the news, Tarun Bharat.

Ganesh Kumar and Shreyas K

Students from Kerala were working on a Bat detector. Few students were creating 3D artefacts using the 3D pen from reserved-bit. Hitesh Dharmdasani had brought his company’s (Informant Networks) Banana Pi based-router for hacking. Vaishali Thakkar was working on the Tessel board and Rust. I was setting up the Icoboard with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B to demonstrate chip design on free and open source hardware.

The school students were divided into two groups. One group attended the soldering workshop in the function hall, and the other group participated in the science toys workshop in an open arena. The groups will swap the workshops the following day. In another sit out area, biology students had brought specimens from the labs to showcase them. A team of architects were also creating a geodesic dome that can be used as a makerspace.

In the evening at 1830 IST, we had lightning talks, and I had presented the latest version of “Nursery Rhymes”. There were other interesting talks on embedded hardware, security, product design, mechanics of a bicycle, biogas etc. It was a long day!

Gautam Samant

Day 2

The second day of the event began with a video conferencing session with Science Hack Day, San Francisco. Their event was scheduled on October 14-15, 2017 at the GitHub office. Ariel Waldman used the webcam to show around their hackerspace. The students then headed to their respective soldering and science toys workshops. Some of the toys and experiments were from Arvind Gupta. The hackers at the makerspace continued working on their projects. All the hacks had to be completed by noon, as they have to be demoed and voted for in the evening.

Science toys workshop

After lunch, there was a rocket session where students launched rockets prepared by experts. We also had a group photo session, and headed to the function hall. All the hacks were presented to the students, and parents were also invited to attend the evening session. There was also an audience voting poll to choose their favourite science hack. After demonstrating the Icoboard, I had to rush to catch the train back to Bengaluru, so I did miss the closing ceremony.

Group photo

My hearty congratulations to the organizers of Science Hack Day India 2017, Belgaum for a wonderful event that motivates students to learn and experiment with science.

I have uploaded over 80 photos during the trip to my new gallery. Do browse through them leisurely!