Exceptionally Hard & Soft Meeting
exploring the frontiers of open source and DIY
Berlin, December 28-30 2012

Some electronics books from the 50s claimed making triode tubes would be an impossible endeavour for amateurs. Today, there are at least two DIY laboratories making not only triodes but also all sorts of vacuum electron devices.

Three years after the first GPS satellite was launched, few people used the technology, which was perceived as very complicated and expensive. Yet, someone successfully operated his homebrew receiver made from hundreds of that time’s electronic parts.

These days, microchips are often thought to be impenetrable and
impossible to manufacture without large-scale facilities. But many individuals are reverse engineering microelectronics designs, often breaking security systems based on the obscurity of the silicon layout. Some are even devising DIY methods to replicate parts of the microchip manufacturing process, with impressive results.

What are the frontiers of DIY technology? The first Exceptionally Hard & Soft Meeting (EHSM) will feature presentations of the brightest DIY achievements. But we do not want to stop at DIY. In fact, we should not, because teamwork is the only way to get the big things done.

The open source ethos is about keeping the freedom and openness of DIY when many people are involved. At a time when thousands of developers from hundreds of companies contribute to Linux and the world’s largest physics laboratories share openly licensed hardware designs on OHWR, we will explore the cutting-edge open source hardware and software practices.

This premiere of the EHSM will be held in Berlin on December 28-30 2012. Everyone is welcome to attend it. Curiosity is enough to qualify, and we have kept the minimal entrance fee affordable. Please order your ticket as soon as possible, to help us make this event happen.

They are already coming
To give you an idea of what is coming up, we are pleased to announce that the following speakers will be presenting their awesome work:

  • Jeffrey Gough will talk about and demonstrate metalwork techniques. How to go beyond extruded ABS coming from a 3D printer? There might even be a hands-on workshop coming up, stay tuned.
  • Shawn Tan has been working on a new open source microprocessor design and will introduce it at EHSM.
  • Ben Krasnow makes all sorts of seemingly impossible science experiments at home, such as creating aerogel (yes, that thing on spacecraft), Pop Rocks candy, or building a scanning electron microscope. He will talk about a yet undisclosed but promising topic.

More speakers will be announced as we confirm them, check this space!

Tickets and funding
EHSM is entirely supported by its attendees and sponsors. To help us make this event happen, please donate and/or order your ticket as soon as possible. EHSM is a non-profit event and most of the money will be used to cover speakers’ travel expenses.

Submit your presentation
Since we do not pretend to be aware of all the amazing tech out there, we are expecting your proposals.

Send a mail to orga AT with at least the following information:

  • Name of the speaker
  • Short bio of the speaker and/or his/her team
  • Speaker contact information (e-mail + mobile phone if possible)
  • Where the speaker will be traveling from
  • Title of the presentation
  • Abstract
  • Links to more information (if available)

The standard format for presentations is one-hour lectures, but we are flexible. Write us a note if you have special time or other requirements.

We are waiting for your presentations in these areas:

  • Open hardware
  • Big open source project management
  • Licensing and business models for open source
  • Manufacturing: metalwork, glass blowing, …
  • Electronics engineering
  • Signal processing
  • Radars
  • Semiconductors
  • Rocket science
  • Thin film technologies
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Satellite design
  • Vacuum electron devices
  • Millimeter wave technology
  • Reverse engineering
  • Applied quantum physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Nuclear science
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Ultra high speed photography

…and anything awesome which is not listed here.

If you know of someone else’s work that would be relevant, feel free to tip us! (orga AT

For academia
While researchers are most welcome to present their work at EHSM, please note that this is not a traditional academic conference. We will not formally publish proceedings(*), and we do not claim affiliation with any institution. We are also OK with previously published work, we simply expect high-quality presentations.

(*) Contrary to the practice of most academic publishers, we will, however, do our best to ensure the free dissemination of information.

Doors open: December 28th, 2012, 09:00
Doors close: December 30th, 2012, 18:00
Early registration fee ends: July 15th, 2012
Submission deadline: November 21st, 2012
Notifications of acceptance : November 28th, 2012 (or sooner)
Full programme published: November 28th, 2012

TU Berlin, Hörsaalgebäude Elektrotechnik
Lecture room HE101
Straße des 17. Juni 136
10623 Berlin, Germany
U Bahn: Ernst-Reuter-Platz

We thank TU Berlin and Freitagsrunde for providing the venue.

– the EHSM organizing committee

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