Hackfort: A Digital Humanities Conference for Geeks, Gamers, and Groupies

Posted by Jeremy Hertzog on Apr 10, 2018 9:54:34 AM

Every March, tech culture enthusiasts gather in the mountain west town of Boise, Idaho to take part in an exchange of tech talk and forward thinking at Hackfort. This digital humanities conference is part of Treefort Music Festival— and it’s awesome!

Hackfort is two days of passionate techies trading ideas, experiencing new tech, and letting their inner geek show. The expansive expo hall had everything from visionary booths to virtual reality gaming demos— there was something for everyone. It’s safe to say that Hackfort has taken on an identity as a tech playground for learning and innovating.

Jelli Meets Hackfort

When we first heard about this tech conference... that’s part of a music festival… and hosted in the town of our new office… we knew we had to participate. Tech, gaming, innovation, and music? That’s all right up our alley. Naturally, we reached out to their team about getting involved and sponsored their Hackfort kick-off event. At the event, we mingled with Hackfort speakers and attendees while listening to the talented DJ Michna. It was the perfect way to begin our first Hackfort experience and helped us decide which events to attend over the next couple of days.

Creating Something From Nothing

Throughout the event, we noticed an underlying theme tied to an opportunity that technology provides— the power to create something from nothing and make an impact.

Foraging Beats

For starters, DJ Michna, an upstate New York garage band member turned Brooklyn producer, taught us how to capture organic sounds from the world around us and modify/distort/repeat them in order to create radical beats. He illustrated to the room of music makers/enthusiasts how tapping a pencil on the side of a Pringles can (combined with a collection of other sounds) can turn into a song and then land on a funny clip of HBO’s show, Silicon Valley, thus affecting one’s viewing experience.

Making Robots

Then there’s Julian Jagtenberg, the twenty-five year old founder of the Danish startup Somnex. While brainstorming for a college project, the childhood memories of his mother’s insomnia motivated him to use technology to help her. This inspired him to engineer a soft robot that improves the quality of your sleep by monitoring your heart rate, breathing patterns, and producing audio therapy all at once. We’re talking about a soft, cuddly robot. The innovation never ceases!

Designing Games

Let’s not forget Idaho’s own Gem State Gaming Convention and their support of creative innovation like their showcase on Twogether Studios working with the band, The Decemberists, to design a board game, called Illimat, based on one of their albums. Hackforters were able to explore pre-released games over a bottomless mimosa brunch and partake in indie gaming culture table top discussions during ‘Board Games & Beers’. These people obviously know how to have fun.

“Knowing members of the community working on projects in gaming, we connected a few of the presenters with Hackfort to show off their creations.”— Gem State Gaming Convention

Technology is everywhere and continues to forge our path

Experiencing this event showed us that technology doesn’t only thrive in Silicon Valley or on the streets of Cambridge. It affects all walks of life, fuels multitudes of creative projects, and influences people to share their experiences with others. Technological curiosity can turn a gathering into an international assembly of robots, new realities, and sound innovation.

What brought you into the technological world?

Topics: audio, beats, Boise, Tech Industry News, treefort, Events, hackfort, tech conference, Tech Event, treefort music festival, digital humanities, Robots

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