Category: Hackathons

The countdown clock has started, and in less than 2 days we’ll be kicking off the IoT Hackathon at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity! Thank you for registering for the event, we’re in the final stages of prep before the hacking begins, and some last minute logistics and scheduling information included below.

If you are unable to make it, please send us an email at so we have a good headcount for food. Thanks!

Hackers Needed for Live TV Friday Morning

A local newscaster will be doing live television spots from the TVCOG this Friday morning to promote this weekend’s hackathon. The live TV spots will occur roughly once every half-hour, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 10:30 a.m. (Set up for the first spot is at 4:45 a.m., yikes!)

Our sponsors, mentors and staff will be on hand to talk to the reporter about hacking, the hackathon, TVCOG. But we would love to have some real live actual hackers to be present.

If any hackers out there would like to participate in these live broadcasts (to promote the culture of hacking and to help promote TVCOG) please contact our publicist, Duncan Crary ( . He can tell you more about this opportunity and can answer any of your questions.

Social Night
Are you in Troy Friday night? Stop by The Ruck starting at 6:30pm to socialize with other hackers, mentors and judges. We’ll have tags at the door so we can find each other in the scrum of Troy Night Out.

Social Media
All throughout the weekend, follow #COGhacks and @TVCOG on twitter for all the latest updates and announcements. Also Instagram.

Information Updates
Please check in on the web site for the latest info on accommodations, schedule, sponsors and mentor info. Also, we are using DevPost for posting the projects and judging, so please create a DevPost account if you have not already done so!

Questions, comments or concerns?

Please let us know at


We’re two weeks away from our first major Hackathon, and we already have 80 hackers registered! If you’re interested in learning more about it, and registering for the event, please check out the IoT Hackathon nexus at

We are going to start having daily updates to the event information page, and also tweets as the event draws near, so now is a good time to follow us on Twitter @TVCOG

There are several topics in the discourse forums that are soliciting feedback from the community, including posts on removing some clutter from the makerspace, forming groups in different zones of operations to manage and maintain equipment, and feedback on our web presence. Jump in! You can join Discourse at

Upcoming Events

A complete list of events is on our calendar, but I wanted to point out a few near-term highlights:

  • General Meeting – Tues, Jan 19th 7pm – 8pm: Robert Tait will share information from his trip to CES, and we’ll discuss Hackathon prep.
  • 3D Printing Syndicate – Thurs, Jan 21st – 6pm – 9pm: Hang out with the largest 3D printing meetup in the Capitol Region!
  • Intro To Laser Cutting & Engraving – Friday, Jan 22nd – 7pm – 10pm: Learn how to use Big Red for laser cutting & engraving. This class has sold out the last 3 times it was offered, so register now at


Jeff Branson of SparkFun to Mentor and Judge, More Than $1,000 in Prizes

TROY, N.Y. (Dec. 10, 2015) — The Tech Valley Center Of Gravity (TVCOG) is inviting “hackers” from near and far to a two-day “hackathon” hardware challenge in its newly opened downtown space this winter.

The “Internet of Things Hackathon, hosted by the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and Powered by AT&T,” will take place from Saturday Jan. 30 to Sunday Jan. 31.

“Hacking has a PR problem because of a few hackers who write malicious code to spread viruses or steal data,” said Erica Rinehart Iannotti TVCOG chair. “The act of hacking is really about making something do something that it wasn’t designed for in order to solve a problem.”

A hackathon is an event, usually lasting more than a day, where groups of computer programmers and other tech-oriented people collaborate intensely on projects using software. Hackers typically stay in the space the entire time working constantly.

“Hackathons are around-the-clock intense,” Iannotti said. “They sleep here. No showers. You’re living on Red Bull, Cheetos and adrenalin. At the end of the weekend we celebrate what they’ve produced.”

There will be a top prize of at least $1,000, as well as other giveaways including a free TVCOG membership. But Iannotti says most hackers will come for the camaraderie, the excitement of competition, the good food (in addition to Cheetos) , the bragging rights and, most of all, the opportunity to mess with hardware they cant afford to own themselves.

“Most hackathons focus on software, this one will combine software, hardware and the Internet,” Iannotti said. “Teams of hackers will spend the weekend at TVCOG making software to connect physical objects to the Internet in new and interesting ways.”

Jeff Branson, educational outreach coordinator for SparkFun Electronics, will be attending the hackathon to mentor the participants and judge their creations. SparkFun Electronics is an online retailer that sells the parts to make your project a reality. SparkFun has been a champion of open-source hardware and software since 2003 and remains a committed partner for education, professional development and technological literacy. Sparkfun provides educational resources, hookup guides and project tutorials for a range of ages and abilities from kindergarten to NASA.

“Sparkfun is always thrilled to support hackathons. The value for us is in working side by side with the people in our community to develop and deploy new solutions for a digital citizenry. We participate in hackathons across the country that focus on embedded systems, Internet of Things, Node.js and community-based problem solving,” Branson said. “It’s particularly fun for me to come back to the Capital District, where I grew up, and work with TVCOG!”

Kishor Bagul, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer of New York State and TVCOG board member, will also judge in the contest.


The hackathon’s theme is The Internet of Things (IoT) which is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

TVCOG has teamed with AT&T to power the Internet of Things Hackathon.

“As an industry leader in the Internet of Things, a technology transforming how we live, communicate and work, AT&T is proud to collaborate with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity to power this hackathon and we’re excited to see the innovation that is developed during the event,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. “Our continued investment in a robust mobile network, the backbone driving Internet of Things, as well as our activities with local organizations working to foster the resurgence of the local economy through technological innovation is evidence of our continued support of the Capital Region and the entire Tech Valley.”


Registration is required but participation is free in the Internet of Things Hackathon, hosted by the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and Powered by AT&T.

To register, visit:

Ok, maybe that’s a good description for life in the second week of December as a general principle, but it is definitely true that we have a fantastic assortment of opportunities this week, from making & coding to 3D design and marketing… there is something for everyone here at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity! In addition to our usual Social Night (Tuesday, Dec 8th starting at 6:30pm), here is a quick summary of the awesome on-deck:

  • Homeschool littleBits Workshop – Wednesday, Dec 9th, 1:30 – 3:30pm: A great opportunity for homeschooled kids to learn how to create and design with littleBits, a small library of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets. Registration is required through Eventbrite at and there are a limited number of seats (only two left as of this writing).
  • Tech Valley Solidworks Users Group – Wednesday, Dec 9th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm: Presentations and networking on Solidworks, a leading 3D CAD and Simulation tool. Hosted in the SEFCU Community Room at the TVCOG. Please RSVP to so they have enough food and prizes!
  • Tech Valley Game Space Social Night – Wednesday, Dec 9th, 6pm – 9pm: Fun time talking about games, development and cool projects. Hosted in the TVCOG main hall. 
  • Photoshop 1 – Out of the Gate – Wednesday, Dec 9th, 6:30pm – 8pm. Learn the basics of photoshop that will form the foundation for enthusiasts and pro-users going forward. Hosted in the Board Room at the TVCOG, requires registration through Eventbrite at
  • Entrepreneur REBOOT Session – BRAND – Friday, Dec 11th, 12pm – 2pm. Part of the monthly Entrepreneur REBOOT series offered by the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce. This session is on BRAND with a real group of power players in the industry…Kelly McMurray from 2Communique, Jake Dumesnil and Tom Nardacci from Gramercy, and Duncan Crary of Duncan Crary Communications. This workshop is free to boot camp graduates and members of TVCOG. Please RSVP by emailing Janet at
  • Tech Valley Game Space: Ludum Dare 34 – Friday, Dec 11th – 7:30pm – Monday, Dec 14th, 10:30pm: The largest online game jam where participants race against time to create a game in 72 hours or less! TVGS will be working through the weekend, offering team building exercises and motivation, camaraderie and inspiration for newcomers and experienced alike to participate. Check out the calendar listing for full details!
  • THINQubator: Kids Night Out – Saturday, Dec 12th 5:30pm – 9:30pm: This event is Holiday themed. Make decorations on the laser cutter, 3D printer, with LEDs, or wood. Registration is required, and you can register through:
  • Holiday Gift Workshop: Snowman! – Saturday, Dec 12th, 6pm – 10pm: How to make a 3D printed snowman ornament. This event requires registration at
  • Holiday Gift Workshop Series – Jewelry Making – Sunday, Dec 13th, 6pm -10pm: This event is taught by Irene Purificato and will feature making jewelry as a holiday gift. Registration is required for this event through

WHEW! As usual, to learn more about the above events and ones further in the future, please consult our calendar at

Please note that our next General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 15th from 6pm – 8pm!