The Winner of Garage48 Hardware & Arts Riga 2018 Represents How We See the World and Ourselves in it

On 12th to 14th October 2018, the 8th Garage48 Hardware & Arts hackathon was held – and for the second time, the event took place in Riga. From 120 participants and 34 pitched ideas, 15 teams were formed to develop physical prototypes from talking chairs and medical devices to sound machines and reverse trick-or-treat machines.

First of all - we couldn't have done it without our sponsors, supporters and mentors: Garage48 Hardware & Arts Riga was organized in co-operation with EstLat Accelerate project, financed by European Union European Regional Development Fund and European Regional Development Fund Interreg Estonia-Latvia.

Event was sponsored by Riga Technical University, Riga Technical University Design Factory, Garage48, EstLat-Accelerate and Hansamatrix and supported by TechHub Riga, UT IdeaLab, Startin.LV, Baltic Innovation Academy, Mass Portal, Madeby, Buildit Accelerator,, Flyte, sTARTUp Day, SPARK hub, Farnell, Techchill, Robotex, Ubiquity Networks, Ajujaht and Click & Grow. Thank you so much!

Thank you RTU Design Factory for an amazing venue and mentors: Mindaugas Valkavicius, Austiris Pumpurs, Fricis Kalvelis, Gundars Miezitis, Ilze Gūtmane, Inga Zotova, Jānis Lapsa, Kristens Racevskis, Liga Efejeva, Pēteris Sala and Toms Mūrnieks; all the volunteers and other amazing people!

Thank you Mass Portal for providing us with the 3D printers and super helpful mentors: Aivars Vaivods, Arvis Dronka, Egīls Arājs and Krišs Bērzkalns; and Farnell for providing electronics materials, goodie bags and a good company.

Thank you Kai Isand for moderating the event  and our wonderful mentors Indrek Rebane, Aija Freimane, Emil Syundyukov, Matiss Neimanis, Viesturs Sosars, Aleks Koha, Janis Dimpers, David Holahan, Aldis Cimoska, Kriss Pujats, Andrejs Čirkovs, Martin Vares and Kristaps Berzinkis.

And the jury aka people who had to make the toughest decisions: Talis Juhna (Vice Director of Research at Riga Technical University), Aldis Cimoska (Hansamatrix Board Member), Indrek Rebane (Garage48 Hardware & Arts co-founder, Hedgehog), Emil Syundyukov (StartIT Foundation), Martin Vares (, Peteris Sala and Janis Lapsa (RTU Design Factory).

All the sponsors, supporters, mentors, the jury and team – we couldn’t have done it with you. Thank you so much! 

Without any further introduction, here are the winners of Garage48 Hardware & Arts Riga 2018:

OVERALL WINNER: The Reflection

The Reflection is an installation that represents how we see the world and ourselves in it. A person up-close to the installation has their face read by sensors and the box acts as a mirror by imitating the face. This is achieved by means of mechanical fittings pressing against the material cover and thus creating a silhouette imprint of the face 3 times the original size.

Asking the team how do they feel, the emotions are overwhelming: „It’s unbelievable, we’re super surprised! We were doing it mostly for fun and for the sake of art – it’s just an expression."

„The hardest part was the beginning when we understood that the idea was not going to be what we thought it would be. We all had the idea that we wanted the face to be 3D, but making a working prototype in 48 hours – how could we do it? It’s a really short time. We were not focused on getting the right people, we just let it go and the team got together so well,“ they say.

Asking from the jury members Emil Syundyukov and Indrek Rebane, they both admit being surprised but praise the artistic presentation and the complexity of the project.

„They have quite complex mechanics in it,“ admits Indrek. „During the weekend they tested different methods and materials, they did some computer vision and 3D printing for the face relief, figured out where to put the camera and what to display on the screen.“

„Basically they took the name of the event into their minds: that is hardware and arts,“ said Emil.

As an award, The Reflection got FLYTE lamps – levitating lights that float in the air – and tickets to Techchill 2019, an event where the Baltic founders meet. After the hackathon, the team is planning to attend several festivals to show The Reflection to other people, too: „We thought it would be just fun for ourselves, but now we see that the other people are also enjoying it.“

Team members: Maris – Mr. Boxer; Edgars – Mr. Reality Check; Ieva – Ms. Experiment; Dante – Mr. Serial Innovator; Alisa – Ms. Chief Gluer; Ivan – Mr. Still Waters Run Deep; Anete – Ms. Paperwork; Mehruba – Ms. Facelift; Alex – Mr. Almost Here; Liga – Ms. Absent

1st RUNNER-UP: Escape Box

A set of puzzle cubes that provide fun problem-solving exercises for company events. Unlike stationary ‘escape rooms’ our products can be delivered to your office.

Escape Box will have a chance to visit Hansamatrix’s Ogre plant and see state of the art manufacturing – and they also got a consultation on product development and optimization with the best engineers from - plus 100kg of pure steel!

Team members: Guntis Valters – team lead, electronics developer; Ivo Capins – marketer; Māris Bergs – product designer; Gustavs Kaupers – mechanical engineer; Mārtiņš Ciekurs – electronics developer; Pēteris Ciekurs – electronics engineer; Ulari Teder – business developer; Mihkel Arold – product engineer; Taavi Koppel – mechanical engineer

2nd RUNNER-UP: Reverse Trick-or-treat

Instead of going out and trick or treating on Halloween, you can place ReverseTrickOrTreat machine outside your door. It lures other kids with candy towards the machine with friendly voice but when approached trick or treats them. If they do not feed the machine they are tricked with several of our non-lethal weapons like party popper combined with sticky syrup, siren combined with toilet paper gun and stroboscope and others. Everything while you enjoy watching TV at home and eating all the stolen candy without lifting a finger.

Reverse Trick-or-treat got tickets to international tech conference Robotex and the Smart Gardens 3 by Click & Grow.

Team members: Jānis Zaharans – electronics engineer; Mikus Upmalis – mechanics engineer; Einārs Deksnis – electronics engineer; Jēkabs Krūziņš – electronics/mechanics engineer; Arsēnijs Pičugins – electronics engineer; Juris Ločmelis – designer

Favorite of the Audience: aWare

Food containers with digital weights that help you make better decisions when shopping for food.

The favorite of the audience got the tickets to sTARTUp Day 2019, the biggest business festival in the Baltics, and also some Latvian design books.

Team members: Janis Cimbulis – team lead, web developer; Baiba Lukasevica – product designer; Killu Kolsar – marketer; Magnus Otsa – mechanics engineer; Rolands Umbrovskis – server programmer; Matīss Vaivodiņš – electronics engineer; Nicole Turello – product designer; Beatrise Lasmane – product designer; Elena Fazio – art lover; Andris Lācis – server programmer

Buildit Special Prize: DreaMirror

Buildit gave away 8 high-end screwdriver sets and a direct access to the final interview round of Buildit Hardware Accelerator next batch - and the prize went to DreaMirror, an interactive Mirror that produces Psychedelic Experience using Deep Dream neural networks.

DreaMirror also got a free pass to RTU pre-incubation "Idea Lab"!

Best Design: Sound Machine

The best design award went to Sound Machine, an interactive musical instrument that explores original sounds from scrapped materials and can be played by anyone.

Farnell's Special Prize

Farnell, one of the world's largest distributors of electronic components, gave away electronics goodie bags for four teams: Escape Box, Balance Board, MOKAY, Digital Aid.

All the participants, mentors, volunteers, organizers, sponsors and supporters - thank you one more time, we couldn't have done it without you!

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