Hardware & Arts Most Successful Garage48 Event to Date

Setting up a startup company can prove to be too overwhelming for many potential entrepreneurs who are too unsure of their success to take the necessary first steps. Estonian Garage48 has set out to change this mentality by organizing weekend-long conferences where team effort, positive attitude and motivating deadlines combined will create tangible results.

February 7-9, 2014, marked perhaps the most successful Garage48 event in its 4-year long history, and the first of its kind. The Garage48 Hardware & Arts was held in the city of Tartu, Estonia, and hosted over 130 members from the creative communities of engineering and design, making it the biggest Garage48 event so far.

The event, as the name suggests, was devoted to building physical gadgets.

“We saw at our regular web and mobile app events that people wanted to get their hands dirty with physical gadgets. So we decided to do a whole event dedicated to that”, explained Priit Salumaa, Garage48 co-founder and organizer of the event. “I think the ideas pitched are very crazy and exciting. Hardware as a topic has proven to be very resourceful and we are having some ideas which I could have never imagined, ever.”

Out of the original 37 ideas pitched on Friday evening, 19 teams were formed and moved on to development. The finals, which were held before a jury and a packed audience, took place on Sunday evening and saw 19 prototype presentations.

The winner of the Garage48 hardware hackathon was Heelies, a feet-scanning solution for producing personalized soles. Worn inside the shoe, the insoles equipped with sensors would identify the areas where pressure was too high. As a result, it is possible to 3D-print insoles specifically matched to the individual feet and pair of shoes. Heelies was chosen as Audience Favorite and received a special prize from Estonian Development Fund.

Rahu, who built a falling detector for preventive care for elders from a smartwatch, received the Tech Chill special award and shared the runner-up position with DiaperBell, whose diaper detector won the best design and Tartu idealab awards.

Click here and scroll down to see the full list of all of the awesome participants!

Jury member Aleksander Tõnnisson from BuildIt hardware accelerator said: “It’s unbelievable that all teams could actually make a prototype in 48 hours.” Nigel Sharp thinks that modularity was the key to make the devices work in 48 hours. “There was so much tech in the building. The access and open mindset to 3D printing showed the way to the teams and allowed to test several demoproducts in few hours.”

Keep yourself updated on the upcoming Garage48 events, which will not run out anytime soon!

Heelies feet scanning solution seen in action.

Garage48 pitches included many crazy yet creative ideas.