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Hacks demoed at Science Hack Day San Francisco 2012


  1. Openpost
  2. Truthiness
  3. TwitterDots
  4. GeoMappit
  5. CoGeNT Symphony and the Sounds of Dark Matter...maybe! (prize: Best Use of Data Award)
  6. Jamion
  7. Evan XD
  8. Wrist-Based Input (prize: Hardware Award)
  9. Quantum mixology (prize: Best In Show)
  10. Schrodinger's Quest: Hunt for the Higgs
  11. Browser Collider 
  12. Baudio (Body + Audio...Get it?!?!?) (prize: Curiosity Award)
  13. ElectionBot (prize: Wacky Award)
  14. roll your own gcode 
  15. NationRank
  16. Zendosaur (prize: Design Award)
  17. KineSutra (prize: People's Choice)
  18. GelloShotElectrophoresis (prize: Replicability Award)
  19. Constellation



Creators: Eden Sherry


You subscribe arbitrary @openpost.com email addresses to multiple science mailing lists of your choice. Openpost extracts event listings posted to those lists, and aggregates them in a calendar view.

APIs, data and tools used: Amazon Web Services, Python

Screenshots, photos and videos:

Source code and links:

Hack URL: http://openpost.com



Creators: Koyel X. Bhattacharyya (@swingsidesmile) Ben Juang (@ibneko) Sharon Wong(@sharonw)


Truthiness is a popular science website aimed at distinguishing myth from fact, with articles, quizzes, fora, links, etc.! Our mission is to make science issues that are relevant to us in everyday life more understandable. We believe that laying out the facts for important issues like climate change or the consumption of genetically modified organisms will help people make good, informed decisions, instead of basing their decisions on rumors perpetuated by those who don't have a good understanding of the underlying scientific principles. We hope to spread the word about the website by making it social using Facebook Connect, which will let people see which articles you've read, which quizzes you took and how you did, and which fora you've contributed to.

APIs, data and tools used: Ruby on Rails
Facebook API
Data as referenced in body of website

Screenshots, photos and videos: Please see the website and click through it! truthiness.herokuapp.com

Source code and links: https://github.com/benjuang/truthiness

Hack URL: truthiness.herokuapp.com



Creators: Rio Akasaka @rioakasaka


TwitterDots aggregates tweets for particular keywords and runs geolocation on user profiles in order to put the data in real-time on a map. It uses the Streaming API, searching for "I voted for Obama" and "I voted for Romney" and color coding the responses based on rudimentary language processing.

APIs, data and tools used: I used the Twitter API and Phirehose.

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://i.imgur.com/0La8b.png

Source code and links: https://github.com/fennb/phirehose

Hack URL: http://twitterdots.net/



Creators: Jen Blank Alaric Moore Nic Weidinger Lisa Ballard Lourdes Juarez Hari Kunamneni Tianfang Gui Rachel Dearborn Amit Rao Owen Pietrokowsky Steffen Frost


We are all about hacking messy government data into interactive maps and using this to encourage future citizen scientists. Our goal is to develop a useable phone app that is powerful, yet simple for the layman and the professional alike. We take government date (i.e., geological, water quality, springs, soil, VOLCANOES!) and parse it into human readable charts, maps, and tables.

APIs, data and tools used: ogr2ogr - open source tool converts shape files to KML

Google Fusion Tables

Data sources:

California Geology
in a fusion table:

CA faults:
in a google map:

all fault lines in a kml (need to limit to CA)

Hydrothermal Vents!!!

Snow Pack

Ship Wrecks!?

Hot Springs

Hot Springs by Temperature

Water Quality


we didn't use this but it's cool http://opendatakit.org/

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcz934BHYa1rkvo4wo1_r1_500.jpg



more at


Source code and links: https://github.com/basilleaf/geomappit

Hack URL: http://geomappit.net/


CoGeNT Symphony and the Sounds of Dark Matter...maybe!

Creators: Matt Bellis, @matt_bellis, (Siena College) Yevgeny Binder


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


The CoGeNT experiment is designed to detect dark matter particles as they knock into their detector. This detector sits in in the bottom of a mine and is shielded from cosmic rays, but is still affected by natural background sources. Most models of dark matter suggest that the rate of interactions should increase and decrease over the course of a year.

The CoGeNT experiment and one of the PIs at University of Chicago, Juan Collar, made public 14 months of data. We have used different sonic mappings of the data to try to ``hear" dark matter and the radioactive decays.

APIs, data and tools used: csound, python, Linux, CoGeNT dataset.

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/~bellis/cogent_sonification/

Source code and links:

Hack URL: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/~bellis/cogent_sonification/



Creators: Felipe Jornada, Timur Bazhirov


We study the traffic flow of San Francisco muni using a quasiparticle approximation from condensed matter physics. We think of the collections of munis in one place of the map as the physical particles - "Jamions". We then analyze how these particles interact with each other based on the data from the past and make a prediction about the future.

APIs, data and tools used: SFMTA realtime muni locations on velocities API

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://imgur.com/iWECm

Source code and links: In a private repo :)

Hack URL: soon to come


Evan XD

Creators: Evan Xd


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


About color blindness

APIs, data and tools used:

Screenshots, photos and videos:

Source code and links:

Hack URL:


Wrist-Based Input

Creators: Rio Akasaka @rioakasaka


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


This hack uses a series of highly sensitive flex (bend) sensors around the wrist that measure any changes in movement. By training the system with a series of trials for the desired input, the system can learn to recognize future inputs based on that same action. While this implementation is still rough and in need of improvement, this prototype hopefully opens the door for new modes of interaction.

APIs, data and tools used: I used Processing and Arduino software, and a Arduino Pro Mini and a Bluetooth Shield (which is not shown in the implementation).

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shaIm-G0E1Y

Source code and links: https://gist.github.com/4013771

Hack URL:


Quantum mixology

Creators: David Harris Julyanne Liang Matt Bellis Moon Limb Morris Mwanga Oksana Timonin Yevgeny Binder




The fundamental laws of the universe create recipes for how particles combine to create other particles. Why not make these recipes a step more literal and make cocktails based on the laws of physics?

Each fundamental particle is mapped onto a cocktail ingredient, whether a liquor, a mixer, or a garnish. Then compound particles, which consist of combinations of fundamental particles, have a recipe for a cocktail built in.

We have matched cocktail ingredients to fundamental particles in a way that the properties of the particles match the properties of the ingredients as much as possible. For example, the electron and the electron neutrino are often found together in particle decays so those two particles map on to gin and tonic respectively. In addition the neutrinos are much lighter particles so they correspond to the mixers rather than the alcohols. A wealth of choices like that underlie the mapping from fundamental particles to cocktail ingredients.

The cocktails are presented as a set of recipes, defined by compound particles, but we have also done a back translation and adapted classic cocktails to a quantum theme, identifying these new recipes by their particle ingredients.

The translation from particles to ingredients is presented in a poster showing "The Standard Model of Cocktail Physics". The recipes are also available through a website that does the translations of particles into ingredients for you.

APIs, data and tools used: Brainz, taste buds, livers, photoshop, python, MySQL

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://www.bloodyepic.com/cocktailphysics.png

Source code and links:

Hack URL: http://www.cocktailphysics.com/


Schrodinger's Quest: Hunt for the Higgs

Creators: Matt Bellis, @matt_bellis, Siena College Yevgeny Binder, yev@quantumcode.net David Harris, @physicsdavid Morris Mwanga, mmwanga@kennesaw.edu Oksana Timonina, @oksanaut Moon Limb, @moonlimb Julyanne Liang, julyanne@gmail.com


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


Inspired by data from the LHC, we have constructed a game where the player throws protons together and looks for signs of the Higgs decaying to two photons! But be careful...the backgrounds of hadronic jets, electrons, and muons make this a perilous endeavor!

We thank the CMS experiment for providing the data and screenshots that were the inspiration for this game. Particularly the efforts of Tom McCauley and Giulio Eulisse.

APIs, data and tools used: processing, mbed, linux, Mac, arduino, LHC data, ultrasonic transducer

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/~bellis/higgs_game/higgs_game.png

Source code and links:

Hack URL:


Browser Collider

Creators: Oksana Timonina @oksanaut, Julyanne Liang julyanne@gmail.com, Matt Bellis @matt_bellis


Inspired by the lack of accessible visual representation of what happens inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), we decided to create a simulation of an event. We began with the idea to build a human-scale exhibit, but after lack of physical materials and hands (one of participants' right arm is in a sling), we decided to create a representation that can viewed in the most accessible way - through a web browser.

In the future we hope to implement ability to navigate through the event via time and space.

We would like to thank the CMS experiment for the access to the data.

APIs, data and tools used: HTML, CSS3, and JavaScript using event data provided by @matt_bellis.

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://bloodyepic.com/images/picture1.png

Source code and links:

Hack URL: http://bloodyepic.com/


Baudio (Body + Audio...Get it?!?!?)

Creators: Todd Anderson Kathy Richardson Mitch Altman Yoav Ben-Haim


How can we use audio feedback connected to our physiology to help or inform us with certain tasks?

Hack 1: Audio output connected to a accelerometer + gyro that can help someone detect when theyre falling off balance? Could this help stroke victims or victims of other traumatic brain injury increase the speed and motivation of rehabilitation.

Hack 2: Audio output connected to specific frequencies read from an EEG . Can we find create an algorithm that reliable lets someone control the pitch of a tone by using their mind? Conversely, does audio feedback of your current mental state help you achieve a desired mental state? (e.g. "hearing" alpha waves while trying to meditate or "hearing" gamma waves while trying to concentrate").

APIs, data and tools used: Hack 1) Iphone + Control MIDI OSC (open source, works on android, search Control MIDI in app store)

Hack 2) ZEO Sleep monitor hacked to stream data off of the console serially. (hack instructions can be found here: http://blog.myzeo.com/zeo-raw-data-library-free-your-mind/)


Screenshots, photos and videos: Coming Soon!

Source code and links: Coming soon!

Hack URL: github coming soon



Creators: Ryan Anderson Brian Hou Chris Swanson David Mckeown @dj_mckeown Daragh Byrne Shreyas Chand @shreyaschand Juliane Bombosch


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


A robot was chosen as a fun medium of interaction to poll people about issues and also present trending sentiment about recent federal political issues. Using an electric wheel chair, a slew of micro controllers, laptops and attached body parts the team hacked together to make: election bot! #ElectionBot
Keeping our Democracy healthy by engaging at a local level.

APIs, data and tools used: Twitter API
Powered wheelchair

Screenshots, photos and videos: Where we started: http://puu.sh/1mtIv
Putting on the finishing touches: http://t.co/3XdqiVXN

Source code and links: s0urce code: https://github.com/chands279/ScienceHackDay

Hack URL:


roll your own gcode

Creators: chris k palmer r. miloh alexander @miloh


science hackday with 3d printers..
We came to sciencehackdaysf with a 3d printer and lots of gcode. to experiment with other methods to generate gcode (gcode is the specification for instructions the machine uses to move and make objects)

diy 3d printers are low cost CNC machines able to be inserted into schools, offices, labs, or homes. With a 3d printer, digital designs can be used to prototype multiple objects at events like science hack day.

diy 3d printers typically use gcode that’s written in discrete layers. but certain designs would work well if they were printed in a continuous spiral. CNC’s work well and optimize with continuous movement! Watch plotters plot recursive patterns sometime, it's mezmerizing!

Our source of inspiration is:

we can add to the methods of fabrication and expand the workflow of getting from digital designs to prints, and create a 3d printer service bureau for science hack day events.

APIs, data and tools used: Rhino3d.com version 5 with python scripter
Slic3r -- stl to gcode converter
KisSlicer -- stl to gcode converter
Repetier -- print driver
Printrun -- print driver

Screenshots, photos and videos: https://plus.google.com/photos/109129652513059485565/albums/posts

Source code and links: http://shadowfolds.com

Hack URL:




Creators: Ben Woosley @Empact


This aims to be a tool for those aspiring to expatriate, by enabling them to create meta-indices of nations according to their values.

APIs, data and tools used: Rails, Bootstrap, Postgres, Heroku

Screenshots, photos and videos:

Source code and links: https://github.com/Empact/nationrank

Hack URL: http://nation-rank.herokuapp.com/



Creators: Ray Dearborn, Lourdes Juarez, Alex Kawas (@emp), Andrea Kuszewski, Karen Nguyen (@karenism), Jessica Polka, Jehan Tremback


Science Hack Day SF 2012 


Zendosaur is a puzzle game that challenges players to use experimental design and hypothesis testing to discover the gastronomic preferences of a picky dinosaur. The dinosaur only eats meals conforming to a certain rule that’s hidden from the player. By building meals out of different combinations of foods, players can design experiments to discriminate between different hypotheses about the dinosaur’s tastes (for example, he only eats big piles of foods, or only meals that contain at least one beetle). To win the game, players check their understanding of the hidden rule by selecting a “recipe” that describes it.

Zendosaur is based on Zendo, a game for Icehouse pieces designed by Kory Heath. We are motivated by a desire to adapt this multiplayer tabletop game to an accessible, web-based experience that wraps an engaging story around an abstract game mechanic that utilizes the scientific method.

APIs, data and tools used: jQuery, Backbone.js. Rolled our own everything else.

Screenshots, photos and videos:

Source code and links: https://github.com/gossamr/zendosaur

Hack URL: http://zendosaur.com



Creators: Liam Holt Christina Chu Islam El-Ashi Brent Townshend Paul Mas Jean Rintoul Emily Medina Ari Frankie Myers


Science Hack Day San Francisco, Oct-2012 


KineSutra is an automatic choregraphy machine that will revolutionize dance. Everyone will be moving like Travolta or Patrick Swayze within a few minutes to hours. We use a combination of Kinect based body recognition with a vibrational haptic feedback suit to instruct and correct a dancer or entrain a dance troupe!

APIs, data and tools used: Arduino Mega
Vibration motors

Screenshots, photos and videos: http://kinesutra.wordpress.com/

Source code and links: https://github.com/CodeStrumpet/KineSutra

Hack URL: http://kinesutra.wordpress.com/



Creators: Joseph Elsbernd Patrik D'haeseleer Sarah Zhang Rolf Widenfelt Yasaman Sheri


Science Hack Day San Francisco, Oct-2012 


Gel Electrophoresis is a common tool for analyzing and separating complex molecules. It typically uses some nasty chemicals, which you'd never want to eat. This hack changes that. In Gello Shot Electrophoresis, commonly available agar gel is used with a Potassium Chloride (salt substitute) and lime juice buffer. Our limited time experiment was done with ordinary food colorings, which separate nicely and stay colorful thoughout the process!

APIs, data and tools used:

Screenshots, photos and videos: https://secure.flickr.com/groups/2091253@N24/

Source code and links:

Hack URL: http://jelloshotelectrophoresis.pbworks.com



Creators: github: @mattsenate (twitter: wrought)


* Solving the modern-day constellation deficit
88 Constellations

In 1922 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) recognized 88 constellations.1
That's 90 years without new constellations.
It's Time for More

Humans have always looked sky-ward, found patterns and made stories. Let's continue this noble tradition.

$ git clone git@github.com:mattsenate/constellation.git


Fork me on Github: http://github.com/mattsenate/constellation

APIs, data and tools used:

Screenshots, photos and videos:

Source code and links: https://github.com/mattsenate/constellation

Hack URL: http://mattsenate.github.com/constellation

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