Nova Labs Maker Spark/Flash Talk Night, 7 Nov 2018, 7pm

Spark/Flash Talk night coming THIS WEEK to Nova Labs!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7pm

Some of us talk to much, but someone invented an event to fix this! Imagine a presentation where one has to primarily communicate in visuals with as few words as possible?

Add your maker spark to this fun, experimental event. Or come and be the audience. We really need both to make this community event a success. Everything that makes Nova Labs work so well, starts with YOU and all of us willing to try new things and take risks with new experiences.


Sign up here. .


All we need right now is your title or topic.

Presenters need to prepare a slideshow consisting of 20 pictures, graphics, or visuals.

Each slide can only be up for 20 seconds each with you adding a few words to help.

400 seconds. That’s all.

6.7 minutes. Easy!

The challenge is not the time, it is to see if you can make your point visually, with as few words as you can.

Topics can be anything you’d like. Your maker project, your latest experiment in woodworking, you latest forging techniques, your last epic idea, your struggles to set aside time for making, your business, your “maker-thing”, your joys, your hobbies, your philosophy.

Hint: Since none of this is published and we are not charging for this event, your pictures DO NOT have to be original or even yours. Just go for it and take the fearless plunge into sharing. Get your collection from the Internet, any photo repository, or use original graphics/visuals.

Maker Spark is an informal and fun gathering where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, maker photo snaps — just about anything. We’ll model this after the maker movement’s Flash Talk but add style elements from the global PechaKucha Nights movement.

Launch100 – Coming June 15, 2017

Pitch event coming soon to Nova Labs!

Launch100Coming this summer 2017, Nova Labs will host a pitch event: Launch100 – showcasing physical product entrepreneurs and connecting innovation with talent and investment.

Join entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors Thursday, June 15th at 5:00PM at Nova Labs for a night of pitches. Launch100 will showcase 10 entrepreneurs creating innovation with physical technology. We are drawing startups, inventors, and business involved in robotics, drones, connected devices, and other emerging technology areas.

Tickets are limited for this special event. Please reserve tickets early.

RSVP at Eventbrite

If you are interested in pitching, sponsoring, or volunteering, visit the event website: or contact Callye Keen:

Hackaday visits Nova Labs!

This post was originally written by  for– used with permission.

Nova Labs Meetup

Hackaday’s DC Meetup and Workshops

Washington DC has a vibrant hardware hacking community and it was out in force on Saturday night, September 12. We had over one hundred people through the door at Nova Labs in Reston, Virginia (DC metro area). This sleek and spacious hackerspace opened their doors for a Hackaday Meetup as part of a weekend packed full of activities.

The building that Nova Labs moved into not too long ago is a really well-suited area for a Hackerspace. The front half of the building includes a huge open space which has plenty of room for people to set up the hardware they wanted to show off. The back has a full woodshop, machine shop, and more, with classrooms and conference rooms in between.

Above are a set of hats with addressible LED strings wrapped around them which [ArsenioDev] brought along with him. Several members of the Wyolum team are involved with Nova Labs and they were showing off some LED matrix-based projects like the marquee cube and a 3-player reaction time game. And clacking away all night long is a vintage teletype machine that [Bob Coggeshall] fixed and connected to a Raspberry Pi.

There was pizza and beer for all to enjoy. This kegerator was just outfitted with an ESP8266 module which used Amazon SNS to report each time the tap was pulled. The tablet behind is displaying real-time data on these events.

Last month when we were in Boston someone brought on an InMoov robot and there was a different one here. I haven’t run into these very often but two in a row makes me want to take a second look at the project.

And there was a freestanding photo booth but in kiosk format. It included LED panels that lit up different colors to snap a collection of [Andy Warhol]-esque colored portraits.

I’m fortunate enough to run across some of my favorite hackers in the world thanks to travels with Hackaday. It was a pleasant surprise to meet [Charles Lohr] whom you may know by the alias [cnlohr]. He’s the one who built a Minecraft server on a glass-slide PCB he fabbed himself. Recently he’s been killing it with the ESP8266, including a bare-metal programming guide he wrote for Hackaday. Above you can see him demonstrating the features he’s added to his ColorChord project. In this case it’s an ESP8266 performing DSP on an electret mic input. It drives a WS2812 strip for great visualizations while plotting the waveform on his phone via WiFi. You know… just the easy stuff.

Also on hand is celeb [ArsenioDev] who was mentioned above for his blinky hat. He was showing off something much more serious though, an active control system for rockets. He’s coming along quite well with his feedback loop that pairs IMU with four servos for rocket fins. His next test will be driving a car down the runway at the local airport (with permission) while mounting the rocket on a stick for testing. Unfortunately some of this work is ITAR restricted so he’s limited on how much he can publish about the project.

There were a ton of other interesting and notable hackers on hand, like [Alex Rich] of Stickvise fame. You’ve got to make it to one of these events to understand how awesome the Hackaday community is when we’re able to get together for an evening of fun!

The Workshops

This weekend was highlighted by a 3-day KiCAD workshop which [Anool Mahidharia] presented. I was fortunate enough to sit in and it was spectacular. I’ve used KiCAD for years and have spun boards from my design, but [Anool] is master at both PCB design and KiCAD itself.

On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning he walked everyone through a demonstration circuit based around a pair of linear regulators. He’s a remarkable teacher and included several gotchas to illustrate all aspects of KiCAD. For instance, he used a barrel jack in the design which has an oblong through-hole footprint that isn’t supported by OSH Park’s fab process. This way he was able to talk about how to change out the footprint and it was immediately applicable.

The rest of the weekend each participant worked on their own circuit and layout. I’m happy to say that everyone managed to get a design sent of for fabrication by the end day on Sunday! A render of my hastily-conceived design (I didn’t plan ahead on what I wanted to make) is seen above.

If you missed the post on Saturday, you’ll want to click through to read about the surface mount soldering workshops which [Bob] conducted several times on Friday and Saturday.

Many People to Thank

Thank you to [Bob Coggeshall] and all the Nova Labs members. They opened their door to us and made sure the place was packed and help make the event run smoothly.

[Anool] had this workshop planned long before the rest of the Hackaday ever thought of being there. Thanks for letting us join in on the fun and for making Open Hardware such a big part of what you and Wyolum do!

A big thanks to [Andrew Albosta] for taking all the photos of the meetup. He has a ton of cool builds written up on his blog, including several really cool carbon-fiber items like the wine bottle holder which were part of a composites class at Nova Labs.

And of course, thank you Hackaday Prize sponsors Atmel, Freescale, Microchip, Mouser, and Texas Instruments and to Hackaday’s parent company Supplyframe for making Hackaday live events and educational opportunities possible.

Ed. note:

Be sure to check out Hackaday’s writeup of the Surface Mount Soldering class that Bob Coggeshall conducted the same weekend.

Nova Labs Kickstarter campaign LIVE!

Group of Nova Labs members and supporters at the end of the Kickstarter launch party

The Kickstarter launch party was a huge success, and a ton of Nova Labs members and supporters were still on hand long after the party “ended” at 9.

On Thursday night, with a full house of nearly 200 makers and supporters, Nova Labs launched its 2015 Kickstarter campaign! Everyone enjoyed tours of Nova Labs’ new facility, great food, and demonstrations from members. By the end of the night, the campaign total was just shy of $7,000!

We want you to help us keep the momentum going! Visit our campaign page at

Supporter backing the Nova Labs Kickstarter campaign

Please visit our Kickstarter campaign and consider supporting one of the premier makerspaces in the Washington DC area (if not the world!)

If you have already contributed, thank you! If you haven’t, check out the great backer rewards. You can also help spread the word on social media; give us a shout-out @nova_labs on Twitter, or like us on Facebook!

Pressing launch for the Kickstarter campaign with the help of young maker.

Pressing launch for the Kickstarter campaign with the help of young maker.