Three full days of brainhacking 24 to 26 June in Amsterdam: Hack yourself better (or worse)
“What if we could hack the brain?” is what brought 58 hackers and 12 organisers to the Waag. The first day of the hackathon was all about questions and ideas. This year’s hackers were a vibrant mix of artists, scientists and developers. Many hackers arrived with their own ideas on how they wished to hack the brain; some even arrived with preparation, tools or part of a team; all arrived with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. With the abundance of talent and inspiration the first morning ended with 11 teams and at least as many wild ideas.
Friday afternoon was spent turning these wild ideas into wild but also doable brain hacks. The public evening event brought even more ideas and questions and was concluded by Bert van Otten with the wise words: “Science doesn’t cover it all. Art should be part of the process. – Art doesn’t cover it all. Science should be part of the process.”
The Saturday was for prototyping and crazy hard work. By now all teams had a plan and selected a brain measurement tool. This day also the organisers tried to do their own hacks: a science hack (Donders Institute) and an international Cloudbrain connection (Total Active Media, Cloudbrain and NeurotechX). These experts weren’t as successful as one might have expected. Let’s put it down to high ambitions and a shortfall of resources, or as Jason Farquhar put it “If everything succeeds we are not trying hard enough.”
Sunday morning: a slight rise in stress-levels, a lot more caffeine, sugar and vitamine consumption and a big final with the pitches of 11 mind expanding working prototypes! Winners are Bisensorial (1st place), 100% Engaged (2nd place), BAT (3rd place) and Second Brain (Insane-but-might-be-possible-in-some-distant-future-award). Our idea is that everyone from participants to organisers and visitors, came away with new inspiration and an urge to keep on hacking the brain!