The Hacker-in-Residence Program

SparkFun’s Hacker-in-Residence program ran from the summer of 2013 through 2014. Hackers applied by submitting a project proposal to SparkFun. Those selected were brought out to Boulder, CO for 2-4 weeks and were provided a space in the SparkFun office to rub elbows with the engineers and build their project. Check out the people and projects that came through the program below…

Recap of all Hackers-in-Residence (Tutorials)

Hackers in Residence - The ElectricBone

Drum machines and keyboards have been the standard for making digital music, but how do you make electronic music if you're trained to play the trombone? One of our Hackers in Residence, Carlos Mello, took it upon himself to find a solution to that very question.

Hackers in Residence: The Sound Visualizer Pt. 2

An addition to a previous project, this time using a PC and a custom Java app to create your own music visualizer using a RGB LED matrix.

Hackers in Residence - Hacking MindWave Mobile

Review, teardown, and hacking tutorial for the MindWave Mobile, a $99 commercial grade EEG sensor.

Hackers in Residence - Sound and Motion Reactivity for Wearables

How to consciously wear light-up and and sound reactive clothing.

Hackers in Residence: The Sound Visualizer

A fun project that uses a Raspberry Pi and a custom Java app to create your own sound visualizer using a RGB LED matrix.

Hacker in Residence: The Harmonic Skew Zoetrope

Check out Hacker in Residence, Jesse's awesome Harmonic Skew Zoetrope in this project tutorial.

Hackers in Residence - Cosmic Ray Detector

Learn how to detect cosmic rays with this simple and cheap detector, built by Hacker in Residence Pete Marchetto.

CryptoCape Hookup Guide

The CryptoCape is a collaboration with Hacker In Residence alumni Josh Datko. The CryptoCape is the BeagleBone's first dedicated security daughterboard.

Hackers In Residence - The Tethered Quad

Our first-ever "Hackers in Residence" Tara Tiger Brown and Sean Bonner created a quadcopter that stays tethered to the ground. Here's how they did it!

Recap of all Hackers-in-Residence (Blog Posts)

Comments 11 comments

  • I am building a hearing aid using the BC127, Need a programmer to build a custom DSP program and android EQ APP. Could this fit into your hacker program somehow? THX Tom

  • For the folks that can’t get to Denver. A lot the stuff folks need to support their projects is available where ever they are. The just need to hook up with the right people. One group that is usually helpful are ham radio operators. We’re not seen a cutting edge any more but we have a lot of the stuff you need to build stuff and more important most of us are helpful and many of us have machine shop and junk piles that can build most things.

    There are other groups as well. Look around Antique engine and machinery shows While the shows don’t cater to our interests the folks that go to them often have interests similar to ours. As long as your willing to give as well as take most of them are glad to share and pay forward.

    Good luck 73 de Gordon Couger W5RED Trustee for W5YJ Oklahoma State University

  • Is the Hacker-in-Residence program live?

  • I have 2 questions: 1. Is it aimed to people who lives outside the USA also? 2. Is there a preferred range of dates to participate? Something like “before the end of 2013”, or “until March / 2014”… Thanks!

    • I think we are still currently evaluating how the process works, so as far as preferred dates or when we will be running this until, there isn’t a set answer. If we end up getting a lot of interest generated in the program, I imagine that it will continue as long as possible for us. I would recommend emailing to get more information in regards to the feasibility of working with folks internationally (I’m not sure how the travel constraints would affect that).

      • Hi Toni, thanks! However, I have sent 2 emails to that email address, and got the following message from Google groups:

        “We’re writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (hackers) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren’t able to post:

        • You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.
        • The owner of the group may have removed this group.
        • You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.
        • This group may not be open to posting.

        If you have questions related to this or any other Google Group, visit the Help Center at"

  • While it’s obvious that given enough funding one could rent (or buy) whatever tools and resources they might need to complete just about any project desired could someone from sparkfun give an idea of just what resources and tooling sparkfun already has on site? For instance, can sparkfun do quickturn protoboards themselves or need they be sent out for fab and what other skills might one be able to pull from toward project completion such as electronics assembly, or machining, or welding, etc (maybe someone has a great idea and they are strong in one discipline but weak in another needed to complete it). Is sparkfun leaning toward offering a bench set up with basic electronics test gear (bench supply, scope, multimeter, waveform generator, counter, & maybe functions such as a logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer, or network analyzer depending upon the project along with a decent set of tools for breadboarding, soldering, and assembly of electronic prototypes where the hacker in residence works as a relatively self contained entity to complete and document a project or might there be other involvement from sparkfun staff possible, especially to fill in specific skill areas? I guess the other question I’d be asking as well is how fast can little subtasks be turned around (I already mentioned board fab, but others as well…).

    • We don’t do board fab in-house, but are working on finding ways for quicker turn-arounds on that. We do have a full machine shop (CNC, lathe, welder, etc.) and do offer the hackers-in-residence access to tools like bench supplies, multimeters, hardware, soldering equipment and anything else we have laying around. If they ever have questions, they can ask anyone around here (that’s the great thing about SparkFun :) ) but in general, they are pretty autonomous.

  • You guys are doing amazing stuff at Sparkfun. I am continuously pleasantly surprised by your guy’s effort to promote inovation in the DIY community. I would not be nearly as far in my electronics work if it weren’t for what I have learned here at Sparkfun and the inspiration I receive from your posts. Thank you Sparkfun Electronics; I appreciate every one of the employees for their contribution to the community.