Byte-sized explorations as Hebden Bridge hosts technology festival

Hebden Bridge Town Hall is the venue for the week-long Wuthering Bytes technology festival
Hebden Bridge Town Hall is the venue for the week-long Wuthering Bytes technology festival

Wuthering Bytes, the leading community-driven open technology festival in the North, is to celebrate its third year when it opens to visitors later this month.

Co-founded and organised by local technologists Andrew Back and Tim Harbour and hosted at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, this year’s Wuthering Bytes is the largest yet with a full week-long schedule.

“The great thing about open source hardware and software is that it lowers the barrier to access to technology,” co-founder Andrew Back explains of the event’s focus on open source software, open hardware, and open data.

The festival begins with a day of talks organised by the national Open Source Hardware User Group on Saturday, September 26, followed by hands-on workshops on September 27 where attendees can learn how to make their own 3D-printed digital microscope, use free software to create 3D models for printing, create low-cost Smart Home sensors, design their own circuit boards, learn how to solder, and more.

The British Computer Society’s Open Source Specialist Group and the Open Source Consortium jointly host Monday, September 28’s Open for Business day, aiming to aid people to start their own open-source business.

These are followed by three days hosted by Calderdale Council, beginning with Intelligent Towns on September 29, which includes a close look at the Internet of Things and the UK’s Smart Cities initiative, and how both are set to transform Calderdale.

Tomorrow’s People, on Wednesday, September 30, continues the future-gazing with a look at public service provision, and the council events end on Thursday, October 1, with a Make, Do, and Mend Technology Fair, a free event which includes a Restart Party where attendees can bring broken technology and learn how to repair it.

Wuthering Bytes concludes with a Festival Day on Friday, October 2, which features talks on subjects as varied as data and privacy to using CAT scanners and X-ray machines to read ancient scrolls.

A particular highlight of this day is a discussion on the history of Calrec Audio, a highly successful local audio specialist dating back to the 1950s and best known for providing the hardware for Premier League football broadcasts.

- Festival Day speakers

Key speakers at Wuthering Bytes Festival Day will include:

Professor Danielle George of the University of Manchester, providing a keynote speech on the radio spectrum and radio-frequency engineering; Eva Pascoe, co-founder of Cybersalon.org and Cyberia, the world’s first Internet Café, on the risks posed by corporate data grabs; Stephen Jagger, former managing director of Hebden Bridge-based Calrec Audio, on the company’s incredible global success from its origins in the 1950s; David Mills, a scientist working on using CAT scanners and X-rays to read ancient scrolls and damaged audio and video tapes that would be destroyed using traditional viewing methods; and Chris Thorpe, co-founder of publisher I Can Make.