Innovate

Welcome to HackerHouse: Meet the First Cadet Class


Written By: Business Magazine

HackerOutside2 They have been chosen: the elite group of geniuses who comprise the first HackerHouse Cadet class. Diverse in skills, backgrounds, passions and purpose, these men will convene in a Duckpond home for three months to create technological masterpieces. One will win the cash prize, but all will emerge victorious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Coleman photoMichael Coleman

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

Learning new, obscure computer languages and the process of abstracting important system details as it relates to complex computer systems.

Q: What’s your educational background?

Santa Fe College – A.A., engineering focus and University of Florida – B.S. in computer software engineering (graduating fall 2013)

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

I think I’ll get to learn a lot about what it takes to succeed in the entrepreneurial process. I’m sure there are a lot of important details I’ve yet to consider or realize.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project?

I’m looking forward to working closely with local legends and rising stars. I’m looking forward to working on an interesting and challenging project and seeing a working prototype in a few months.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

Calendar app for the Android platform; an expert system to process orders through a manufacturing plant; and a graphic engine that runs on Internet browsers.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

Born in Gainesville, Ga., moved to Gainesville, Fl., when I was 12.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character?

The Original Series — Spock; “The Next Generation” — Patrick Stewart; “Deep Space Nine” — Odo; “Voyager” — Q; “Enterprise” — this show never existed

 

Sam Gregory photoSam Gregory

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

UI & UX design, problem solving, learning.

Q: What’s your educational background?

Wittenberg University Tigers, Springfield, Ohio — B.A. in geography

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

We hope to get exposure to a wide variety of people and resources that will promote continual growth to iFishEarth and help to expand our skill sets.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project?

Meeting new people and continuing to work with talent.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

Myself and my partner Brad Pettigrew are developing an iPhone app (iFishEarth) that organizes fishing reports from across the Internet and makes the information universally accessible and simple to discover. This will be our primary focus during our time at HackerHouse.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth… 

Gainesville.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character? 

What’s ‘Star Trek’?

 

Peter Borenstein photoPeter Borenstein

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

I don’t have solid answers for your questions. I study electrical engineering at UF. I like working on small digital things most of all. If I wanted to monitor the weather, I could [link] a temperature sensor to a micro-controller and a bit of memory. Embedded applications would be the proper term that describes anything with a processor in it that is not a computer. I just purchased a camera. My next project will involve image processing. I want to be able to track a target.

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse? 

I feel like this is a good time to be a digital enthusiast. IC chips that cost hundreds of dollars 20 years ago now cost $5. Most every embedded application I’ve thought of already exists on the market. That’s why I want to be a part of HackerHouse. Through collaboration, I’m sure there’ll be many unique ideas. I look forward to sharing an environment with smart people who want to create and innovate.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth… 

I was born an hour and a half away in Jacksonville.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character? 

I watched “Stargate” as a kid instead of “Star Trek.” The bald guy in the red shirt that everyone listens to seems like a good guy from the few episodes I’ve seen.

 

Matthew Chandler photoMathew Chandler

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength? 

My area of specialty would be in design and in digital fabrication. More easily put, I make things, physical things. I work with my hands to create furniture, architecture, small-scale installations, art and 3D-printed objects. Mediating between physical and digital design and creation processes, I laser-cut art and 3D print prototypes, architectural models, biomedical research tools and more. Therefore, I also have a strong background in 2D digital design and 3D modeling. All else aside, I feel my biggest strength is design, an eye for aesthetic details and a love for bringing things to fruition in the physical world.

Q: What’s your educational background?

• Indian River State College — A.A., 2006

• University of Florida — bachelor’s in design, 2009

• University of Florida — master’s in architecture, 2011

• University of Florida — masters of entrepreneurship, 2012

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

First and foremost, knowledge. And knowledge is key, right? I feel like the mentors, as well as the other cadets, will teach me more than I could ever ask for. It is one of those situations of pure immersion where the lessons and experiences will be so compounding and synergistic that we won’t even realize half of what we are picking up. These are people who have been around the block, have done the work, made the mistakes, had the successes, and who have gained invaluable insight they are graciously willing to share with us; and which I am so incredibly thankful for. Next, relationships. I am a good person, and these are great people, and in being together so close, for so long, working  so hard, I know I will gain friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. The last thing I believe I’ll take from the HackerHouse is a business, concept, prototype or fleshed-out idea, from which I will take forward and do great things. I have so many ideas just waiting for the right moment, the right fusion of environment and resources and minds, to spring forth and make happen. THIS … this, is that moment.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project? 

To be honest, I’m looking forward to learning from great minds in such a hands-on, experiential learning process, and then putting it into action; there really is nothing like it. It’s the possibility of combining the knowledge, resources and boot-camp-style pace and motivation, with my dreams, my goals, and my passions to make something that will hopefully change the world. Honestly, that is what I’m looking forward to most, coming out on the other side with something to show for it all. That would be great. I am so thrilled to have this opportunity, I feel like I found the “golden ticket.”

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past? 

A couple. Currently I’m working on Copeland & Company, a design and fabrication firm. The idea is to take my passion for furniture, product design, architecture and entrepreneurship and merge that with my skills in the digital and physical design and creation processes. Using hand tools, laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers and a gamut of 2D and 3D design programs, I want to continue to build a collection of items I find to be both beautiful and functional. I also use my skills to help others make products and prototypes they need for their own work and research. By the way, “Copeland,” was my mom’s last name, and mine too for a few months when I was a baby. Aside from that, I’m also in the middle of a huge project called The Fab Lab. The A2 Fab Lab is a digital fabrication lab on the University of Florida campus started by the Schools of Art and Architecture. As of this year, however, we opened the lab to the entire campus at large and are welcoming creative minds from every discipline. I have been running the lab since its inception three years ago as a graduate teaching assistant, and as of this year, was hired on full time as the lab director. It is currently my biggest project undertaking to date, to grow the lab, expand the equipment and facilities, start a student design team, a Fab Lab Club and much, much more. It is exciting to have the opportunity to make such a difference in the lives of so many people in a place as great as the University of Florida. I’m excited.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

I’m from Sebastian, a small town on the southern east coast of Florida, only known for its inlet state park and accompanying great surf. Fact: It’s known by many as the best surf spot on the East Coast; Fact 2: I do not surf, but I do sponge.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character?

I’ve never watched “Star Trek” actually… :/ But if I had, I guess it would be Spock. He’s awesome enough that I know his name without even knowing what he looks like.

Q: Other fun facts?!

When not actively working to make the world a better place, I like to travel the world and faraway places. I’ve studied in Mexico and the UK and backpacked throughout Europe twice now, this last time taking a month traversing the Austrian Alps. Camping on the snowy mountaintops, cooking over fires, bathing in crystal clear rivers, being one with nature and all its beauty were some of the most-exhilarating experiences I’ve ever lived. I also find myself pursuing mindfulness, inner peace and happiness, a flow with the energy of the universe, bodhicitta and occasional meditation.

 

Juan Da photoJuan Da

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

Hi! In general I love working on DIY projects; you are challenged to do something completely new for you, and at the end, you get a really cool working thing (like a blinking LED! ). I breathe, eat and drink engineering all the time and enjoy working in the middle between hardware and software. My areas are robotics and artificial intelligence.

Q: What’s your educational background? 

I am coming from Colombia [the country]. I did my undergraduate studies there in engineering physics at Universidad EAFIT. Now I am a graduate student in the msc of electrical and computer engineering at UF.

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

I have the needed skills to create something hi-tech. I realized about that in my first semester at UF, last fall. Now I need to learn how to impulse those ideas/products to reach as many people as possible. One of my goals in life is creating a company that develops robots to help people. Thus, I think I can grow a lot with the awesome team of mentors.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project? 

I know myself, this will be like getting out of my comfort zone. I did this when I came from Colombia, and I want to go deeper. So for me, this project means personal growth and a step forward towards my dreams.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

In Colombia, I worked on several projects creating things like a system to measure gravity, an eolic energy generator, a perfusor (a system used in hospital to regulate the dose of liquids in patients) and a magneticlevitation system. At UF, I worked in an autonomous robot called AlienBot which does several things, like … obstacle avoidance or detection of colored objects (with a camera). This semester, I just finished a project called GatorAid, a system to take care of the elderly. In this system I developed an Android app which can work with a robotic platform (my previous robot) in the assistance of the elderly.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

I am from a planet far, far away, where there is no ground and everything floats, even the ideas. They do not belong to anyone. They only way to control your motion in this planet is learning to catch selectively those ideas. But be aware of  something … they have weight, color, smell, density… that’s where I come from.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character?

Heh! … ahem, I am a ‘Star Wars’ guy.

 

 

Jonathan Burnett photoJonathan Burnett

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

I’m most interested in design, especially user interfaces. I love watching the way people interact with technology.

Q: What’s your educational background?

I’m a UF computer engineering undergrad, and I’ll be pursuing a master’s degree, too!

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

Being around the other cadets will give me inspiration to work harder.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project? 

Getting my prototype out there for real people to use.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

In the past, I worked on several games and built my photography portfolio.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

Eden Prime.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character?

Redshirt.

 

Tyler Parker photo 1Tyler Parker

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

I am a mechanical engineer, so my specialty is less about computer hacking and more about designing mechanical systems that work effectively and efficiently. Growing up on a farm has given me the ability to make things work with a limited amount of resources by using things in unconventional ways. I guess that could be considered hacking.

Q: What’s your educational background?

I have a B.S. in mechanical engineering from UF.

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse? 

From HackerHouse I hope to learn more about bringing an idea to market. I have gained a lot of experience with prototyping from working at Altavian and doing a few things on my own. I want to learn how to take the next steps and actually create a team that can manufacture and sell products.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project?

I look forward to hearing ideas from all the other cadets. Since our backgrounds are so varied, I think we will have very contrasting ideas for how to accomplish the same goals, which could result in some very innovative ideas. I also look forward to learning from the mentors who have all been in the same position that we have been and have excelled in their fields.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

Over the past few months I have been working on a prototype for a device that mounts on the barrel of a shotgun and shows a shooter how far to lead birds or skeet in order to hit moving targets. The prototype works very well for me, but I need to have more people test it and determine whether there is a market. I have a whole book full of ideas I came up with in [College of Engineering Entrepreneur in Residence] David Whitney’s class, but haven’t pursued the others as diligently yet.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

I’ve lived on a potato farm in Elkton, Fl., since I was born.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character?

I don’t watch “Star Trek” at all, but I’d say my favorite character from “Star Wars” was Han Solo.

 

Eric Pheterson photoEric L. Pheterson

Q: What is your area of specialty, specifically? I know you’re a hacker, but what’s your strength?

I’m best at coming up with great new ideas and directing their design to be both beautiful and functional. I see myself as a bit of a dreamer, living in an imperfect, yet pliable, world. There’s room for improvement all around us, in the software you use every day, the products that we take for granted and the operations/systems that make it all happen. I often find myself emailing developers because I realized a way they could make their programs better. To back this mindset up, I’ve been taking things apart and tinkering since before I can remember and got a secondhand computer from my grandpa at an early age. I had a website set up in middle school, prior to any of my friends. I can pick up software and troubleshoot problems faster than most, and I find joy in programming. Through my educational background, I’m now apt at 3D modeling, team leadership and project management — with the mathematics skills that come with it. I’m an engineer gone entrepreneur, figuring out how to apply my existing skill set and determining which skills I should add, as I go along. …

Q: What’s your educational background?

AA in engineering from Santa Fe College. Bachelor’s in aerospace and mechanical engineering from UF with a minor in computer science. I’ve not dropped or failed a single class in those six years.

Q: What do you think you’ll get from being involved in HackerHouse?

I think that I’ll get the necessary help and resources to bring my ideas commercial success, and from that, enough money so that I don’t need to worry about money anymore. I see myself meeting professionals, experts, vendors, investors and other individuals that will mold the rest of my life with the knowledge and experience they have to share. I see a path being cleared in front of me, on which each of my ideas are brought to light and wide enough so that others can walk beside me. It’s my goal with GOOD Inc. to bring opportunities to UF students and involve them in designing and commercializing cool, new ideas. HackerHouse seems like a very logical stepping stone.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by being involved in this project?

Getting intimate with 3D printers. We’re currently transitioning into a new industrial age, where you and I can compete against established industry giants on a global scale with a 3D printer, and a laptop with WiFi to order some parts. … As cadets, I understand we’ll have access to UF’s Fab Lab, and Gainesville’s Hacker Space, which both have 3D printers. Besides this fun, new toy, which will be at my disposal, I most look forward to being exposed to the expertise of those who have excelled before me.

Q: Do you have any projects that you’re already working on or have worked on in the past?

… I’m entering HackerHouse with a project that [mentors] Augi [Lyle], Christian [Von Kleist] and Amir [Rubin] seem to like, which is a smart pet feeder. I see room for improvement in this product that can add value to millions of lives. People already use automatic pet feeders, even Augi, but they’re cumbersome to program, with several buttons and a little screen. If they jam while you’re on a trip, your pet will starve, and if you have more than one pet in your house, you couldn’t trust them to share food. Now our take on it: We put a Raspberry Pi computer inside of it and connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi. This allows you to schedule it using your desktop, or phone, and it alerts you when you’re low on food, or if it jams. Then, we put an RFID tag on each pet’s collar, so when the correct pet walks up, we detect this and roll out the food bowl. When another pet approaches, or if no pet is around, it closes. I personally know many people who would enjoy such a product, including my parents.

Q: Where are you from? Besides Earth…

Neil DeGrasse Tyson puts it nicely: The entirety of matter composing you and I formed in stars, which turned simple molecules, starting with hydrogen, into denser and more complex molecules. According to laws of the universe, which we’ve yet to fully understand, clumps of this matter grew larger and larger, and one of them found a small star to orbit, which warmed its star guts just right to give it, what we call, life. The real question is where did the hydrogen come from? According to Einstein’s E=MC^2, matter comes from energy. Alas, where is this pool of energy that formed hydrogen, which formed the universe, which formed Earth, which formed life, which formed myself? So I guess I came from energy, or star poop or Davie, Fl.

Q: Who’s your favorite “Star Trek” character? 

I’ve been told I do a good Spock.

 

 

 

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