Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Come share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Get ready for the first ever Maker Startup Weekend! From March 2-4, TechShop and Autodesk will be hosting this new trend in venture creation—a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. This special Maker Startup Weekend will infuse the typical web-based Startup Weekend format with the rapid prototyping and product development capabilities made possible by Autodesk and TechShop. This is the first Maker Weekend specifically geared toward making physical objects to bring to market. The possibilities are endless.

In addition to the weekend event, there will be an intensive day-long maker workshop on Friday, March 2nd. Participants will have the opportunity to take a series of classes in cutting-edge technologies and design software. The courses will be run by Autodesk and TechShop professionals.

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Here are the teams!

Cargo Stand – Heesoo

Cargostand is an ergonomically designed stand for laptop and ipad users on-the-go. The product also functions as a holder for the laptop and ipad that carries accessories such as a keyboard, mouse and stylist. Currently laptop ergonomics is virtually nonexistent and Cargostand seeks to correct the improper posture of users on-the-go.




RoboRoasters- Chris McCann

Roboroasters has created a personal coffee bean roaster for in home use. Currently the roasters on the market are high end expensive roasters targeted primarily towards commercial use. RoboRoaster seeks to develop and sell their product at a $199 price point.

Spin Ball Jr.

Spin Ball Jr is a half scale spinball machine for home entertainment. Unlike a full size spinball that is expensive and large in size- Spinball Ball Jr. seeks to be economical and compact.


The team is creating a device that communicates with a cloud application to allow the ability to remotely trigger actions.






Relay Rabbits

The team is creating a programmable light that can be controlled through the cloud, but initially by an iOS device. The light can be programmed to have mood based lighting themes that can be used by kids, patients in hospitals, and at parties. The light can connect to the users existing network to communicate with the iOS device.

Musical Tire Swing

The team is creating a musical tire swing that has flashing LEDs and plays musical tones based on the motion of the tire swing. The invention would be used by children on playgrounds in schools and parks, could be placed in a child friendly area, museums, or used in a home based playset.






The team has designed carrying cases that can be attached to laptops and tablet devices temporarily to carry accessories and free-up a hand. The Quiver can be quickly attached and removed due to its special backing, and can easily carry a stylus, pencils & pens, usb flash drives, keys, etc.

DIY Gel Box

A cheaper solution very expensive Gel Boxes used to analyze DNA.

Maker Startup Weekend Bay Area Kicks off with a Bang

Maker Startup Weekend Bay Area Kicked off with a bang at 9am as the TechShop opened its doors. The crowd flooded in anxious to sign up for the classes being offered throughout the day including:

• Laser Cutting
• 3D Printing
• Autodesk 123D Make
• Arduino
• Sewing
• Wood Shop

I took the Laser cutting class first, and I was just amazed at how easy it actually is. Just change your Adobe Illustrator files a little bit, make some adjustments to the Laser cutter, and bam! You have an arcrylic key!

I then went into an Arduino class. This was super interesting because I’ve never worked with circuits before. It is remarkable how much is available through open source now! However, I found myself getting a little lost with all the wires going around! Here is a picture of John building a circuit with LED lights, looks like Knight Rider!

My third session was on 3D printing. I felt so dumb after this class! It is so remarkable what is possible but I felt like I would need to spend a lot of time working with the 3D software to really master it. The Makers here make it look so easy!

After we wrapped up, we rolled right into the Classic Startup Weekend format. Dale Dougherty from Make Magazine kicked it off with an inspiring talk. A few key opportunities for makers:

  1. Customers pay for physical things, just make physical things people want.
  2. Take existing scientific instrumentation and update the user interfaces so you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to use these things.
  3. Make cool machines that let others make other cool things.

Next up! The pitches!

Experimenting at Full Scale: Rachel Kalmar on Being a Maker

Interviewed by: Ahmed Siddiqui

Rachel Kalmar was the winner of the Health track at Mega Startup Weekend in October 2011 and is a co-founder of Senstore, a startup developing a medical tricorder (, by focusing on making sensor data accessible and actionable.  A Stanford neuroscience PhD, she is passionate about using data to explain, predict and influence behavior.  

As a mentor for our upcoming Startup Weekend Bay Area Maker event, Rachel answered some questions about her experience as a Maker, and her predictions for the future:

AS: What got you most interested in Making/Hacking?

RK: I’ve always loved building things, especially when there’s a practical challenge I’m facing, and need to figure out a way around it.  As an experimental neuroscientist, being able to hack things together to keep experiments running was essential.  While in grad school, I used this to justify taking mechanical engineering classes and classes at the  This is where I first saw a user (other than myself) using what I had built.  It’s an incredible feeling, and it kept me coming back for more.  By the end of grad school, I’d realized that, while I love science, I wanted to explore more what I’d experienced at the — turning ideas about users’ needs into products.

AS: What did you build at Mega Startup Weekend?

RKMy friend Antony and I came to Mega Startup Weekend with a t-shirt with an Arduino Lilypad, a Bluetooth board, and an accelerometer on it, and some code to get the sensor signals via Bluetooth.  We wanted to see whether other people would want to hack on this, for a health application.  Our team used our t-shirt prototype as a starting point, and built an app to allow our parents or grandparents to live at home independently for longer.  To do this, the app took in data from the accelerometer to detect falls, and then if the wearer fell, it would send a text message alert to a loved one, and if necessary, to medical services.

AS: Where is the company now?

RKAntony and I are continuing to work on Senstore, the sensor platform we brought to Startup Weekend, as part of the Rock Health accelerator program.

AS: What part of Startup Weekend did you love the most?

RKI loved getting to meet so many people from different backgrounds, who all came together to make something happen in a short weekend.  The energy is incredible – you go from idea to a prototype in less than 72 hours. It’s also a great way to get people to understand the lean startup methodology – build something now, don’t get it perfect, but build something you’ll be able to get feedback on – and it’s a great way to get perfectionists like myself moving quickly. I’ve been learning that in the startup world, speed is way more important than perfection. Working with other motivated people in a low-pressure environment at Startup Weekend was a great way to get into this mindset.

AS: Where do you see 3D printing going in the next year?  Next 5 years?

RK3D printing is an exponential technology that’s at the knee of the curve right now, about to take off.  In the next year, I predict that the cost of 3D printers will drop dramatically, allowing far more people to be able to buy their own.  Combined with advances in 3D scanning software and technology, I look forward to the day we’ll be able to use 3D printing not only for prototyping, but also for printing spare parts on demand.  Within the next 5 years, I see significant progress happening on the biological front: printing of organs and blood vessels, specifically.  Right now this biological 3D printing is basically at the proof-of-concept stage, but it’s improving rapidly.  I’m excited to see how far it will go in the coming years.

AS: Where do you think sensors and electronic hardware going in the next year?  Next 5 years?

RKSensors are getting smaller, cheaper, and more ubiquitous, in addition to being increasingly more wirelessly connected.  This is another exponential technology at the knee of the curve — we’re about to see an explosion in the ‘Internet of Things’ as our surroundings and our objects are able to communicate with us and with the internet.  The embracing of tools like Arduino by the maker community are also making it easier for relatively inexperienced people to work on projects that would otherwise be outside their abilities.  I also see sensors shrinking radically — check out mc10’s stretchy microcircuits.  This is going to be truly disruptive.  

Antony and I have been running a meetup for people working on sensor devices and applications, and it’s pretty clear that right now the challenge is realtime wireless connectivity.  As Bluetooth low energy becomes the new standard, the power required for sensors to be transmitting data will drop, enabling much more monitoring via wearable sensors.  Right now, wearable sensors are big for people in the Quantified Self community, but are becoming increasingly mainstream.  When wearable sensors are embedded into devices you already wear (e.g., your clothing), can seamlessly transmit data to the web and web services, and make actionable suggestions about your behavior, that’s when sensors are going to change our way of living in the same way the smartphone has been doing.  That’s probably going to at least start in the next 5 years.

AS: What do you think is going to happen to mass production in the next few years?

RKHave you read Cory Doctorow’s book Makers?  He paints a pretty clear vision of a future in a post-industrial society, where people are able to print products from 3D printers in their homes.  I’m excited about the trends of 3D printing continuing to get better and cheaper, and look forward to the day I can print specialized parts for my car or my unicycle from my living room, rather than ordering them from the internet.  Economies of scale will mean that it still makes sense to manufacture some things in the way they’re made now.  However, tools like 3D printing and services that make it easier for people to design and print their own PCBs (e.g. Upverter) make it much easier to rapidly prototype and test products.

Experimenting at Full Scale: David Lang on Being a Maker

Interviewed by: Ahmed Siddiqui

David Lang is a Co-Founder of OpenROV (@OpenROV), an open source underwater robot project. He also writes the Zero to Maker column on the MAKE Magazine blog, where he chronicles his head-first dive into the maker world. Prior to underwater robots, David managed a sailing school in the Bay and led sailing trips to locations around the world.
As a San Francisco resident and a mentor for our upcoming Startup Weekend Bay Area Maker event, David answered some questions about his experience as a Maker, and his predictions for the future:

AS: What got you most interested in Making/Hacking?

DL: Maker Faire. I vividly remember attending Maker Faire in San Matteo a few years ago. I was blown away by the different makers. Aside from working on such cool and interesting projects, everyone was so passionate about what they were doing. The passion was infectious. I wanted to be a part of it.

AS: Why do you think the Startup Weekend format can work for Makers?  What outcomes are you expecting this weekend?

DL: Before I got started, I was pretty intimidated by all the new tools and technology. It wasn’t until I dove in and made a commitment to learn that I realized how easy it was to pick a lot of it up. More importantly, I realized the maker community was one of the most helpful, welcoming and supportive groups of people you could ever hope to meet. With the technology changing so quickly, we’re all learning as we go. That’s the best part: we’re learning together.

Maker Startup Weekend takes the best of my experience – the introduction to the new tools and the supportive community – and packs it into a weekend format. It’s a great way to get started! 

Also, from the time I’ve spent at TechShop, I’ve noticed that amazing things can happen when makers meet each other and share skills and ideas. We’re doing that on a much larger scale here – it will be exciting to see what comes of it.

AS: Where do you see 3D printing going in the next year?  Next 5 years?

DL: More affordable, more accessible, and more capable.

AS: Where do you think sensors and electronic hardware going in the next year?  Next 5 years?

DL: Smaller, cheaper and more ubiquitous.  

AS: What do you think is going to happen to mass production in the next few years?

DL: I’m really confident about my answers to the previous two questions: where additive manufacturing and sensor technology are going. However, the impact of these technologies is less certain. I don’t think mass production is the answer. It seems to be going in a direction of micro production or mass customization. As Chris Anderson has written a lot about, we’re creating the long tail of stuff. 

There’s never been a better time to start making.

Overwhelming Response!

Whoa! Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly with interest in participating in Maker Startup Weekend. We’re very excited about such an overwhelmingly strong response.

Unfortunately, due to space limitations, the event has completely sold out. However, because there is so much interest, we’re exploring the possibility of doing another Maker Startup Weekend.

If you’re interested, and weren’t able to register for the first event, please add your name to this list and we’ll notify you as soon as another date is chosen.

Thank you all!

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