BIT at Solid 2014: Where Hardware and Software Meet Everywhere

By dchayes 0 Comments

Solid is O’Reilly Media’s first conference wholly dedicated to the intersection of hardware and software around what is popularly referred to as IOT or the Internet of Things.

Open Remarks at Solid

Held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA May 21 and May 22, Solid featured an array of speakers representing a range of ventures, from emergent technology to start up and established sectors.

Outside the main Solid Pavilion at Fort Mason Center

Solid was organized around five themes: companies; foundations; machines; tools, and society. Over 1000 participants were able to sit in on any of the session tracks located in various venues around Fort Mason. Sessions were presented in extended, twenty-minute lightning talks. Break-out sessions followed morning opening talks and demos in the main pavilion.

Many presenters discussed musings and explorations around given concepts of IOT.

In addition to talks, participants were able to sign up for office hours to discuss entrepreneurial, technological and business challenges; win prizes; and explore commercialized and emergent technologies on demo by startup and established ventures.

A fun feature included an impromptu lunch-time drone air show and a demo of Bot & Dolly and Rethink Robotic’s Baxter.

Bot & Dolly Demo

A few themes and musings from each day’s sessions included:


  • Focus on hardware along with software so as not to “miss the problem solving opportunity”
  • We need to build things and test them in the real world
  • Vision lasts longer than technologies
  • Robotics and hardware are the “new black”?
  • Have we been building tools and robots instead of services?
  • Human API is not a user interface
  • The notion of economies of scale and “frictionless frameworks”
  • Leveraging friction between technologists and artists for powerful results
  • The world is becoming a gadget
  • The convergence of the physical and digital are ushering in the “brilliant” age
  • “Bothware” or “blurware” means things can be services now. The Internet has broken out of things
  • Design is critical
  • Build a global connection for knowledge, but be locally self-sufficient
  • Hardware was hard


Some of my favorite talks covered a range of quirky and compelling projects including:

littleBits talk about democratizing inventing and making circuit building easy

Dawn and littleBits team with new Arduino module   Ayori at the littleBits booth

Public artifacts as connected objects

“Bringing the internet to Grandma”using localized IOT and rapid prototyping

Freeing up data with

Future radio with BBC R&D circuit stickers

Solid brought together an amalgamation of creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, artists and technologists excited to explore and showcase practical and even quirky applications of the present and future. Next year, it would be fabulous to not only attend sessions with the BIT community, but to join in on leading sessions as well. What are you building?

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