Bang Bang Con Talk Ideas

We recently recorded an Embedded show with Lindsey Kuper about the !!Con West conference. The !!ConWest call for speakers closes November 30, 2018.

Talks are ten minutes long and must meet these minimum requirements:

  • be computing-related!

  • be about something you think is interesting and cool!

  • have at least one exclamation mark in the title!

To submit a talk, you’ll need to fill out a form that includes the title, an abstract (short engaging blurb put in the conference guide so people will come to your talk), and a timeline for your talk, showing how you’ll use the allotted ten minutes. Oh, and you should put in the intended audience, just say what the required background someone needs to get something out of the talk.

I’m not sure what you should actually put into your form, I’ve never spoken at !!Con or looked at the talk proposals they receive. However, here are some ideas I’m working on. I’d like to know if you are interested in seeing one or two of these talks so I can focus my attention on only two submissions.

Title: Narwhal’s Guide to Bayes’ Rule: The Basis of Self-Driving Fish!

Abstract: Bayes’ Rule is a foundational part of machine learning. The math isn’t hard but it is easy to miss the significance, be confused, and/or fear its probabilistic natures. Explained at an intuitive level, the narwhal’s goal is to make Bayes’ Rule relatable to mermaids, unicorns, and single horned whales. Also, human behavior, if there is time.


0:00 Intro, Bayes’ Rule (equation form)

1:00 Story about mermaid probability given the existence of singing marine mammals

3:00 Story about unicorn probability given the existence of single horned land animals

5:00 Bayes’ Rule and circles (probability of single horned sea creature of a whale)

6:00 Work through example: cursed treasure and robot code

8:00 Long term trends from treasure, posterior probability calculation

9:00 Other uses of Bayes’ Rule

9:30 Review the equation again

(Handout: Nawhal’s Guide to Bayes’ Rule comic booklet)

Intended Audience: To get the most out of this talk, audience members should be people who have tried to understand Bayes’ Rule but failed or have tried to explain Bayes’ Rule to someone else and failed. It might also be of interest to people interested in getting into machine learning or those who fear statistics. Also, people who love narwhals for their awesomeness.

Title: A llama!! And the Internet of Things!!

Abstract: The Internet of Things is here! But how do you join? And what kind of connectivity does your widget need? WiFi? BLE? Cell modem? LPWAN? ZigBee? Build your own?

This talk details the adventures of a consumer llama as it navigates communication methods for its various pets. It will help you understand the pros and cons of each method with respect to their engineering requirements, consumer ease of use, and security.


0:00 Intro: What is IoT and why is there a llama?

1:00 The consumer llama’s turtle gets a webcam (WiFi)

3:00 The consumer llama’s fish gets a feeder (BLE)

4:30 Non-BLE gateways: Zigbee and Philip Hue

5:30 The consumer llama finds a stray dog (Cell modem)

7:30 The consumer llama meets an internet butterfly (LPWAN)

9:30 Conclusion (Satellite downlink if time)

(Handout: Consumer Llama and the Internet of Things comic booklet)

Intended Audience: No specific knowledge required; people who have wondered why their bathroom scale is WiFi and their Fitbit is BLE will have their questions answered.

Title: 5! Steps to Shipping a Product!
Abstract: Going from an idea to a shipping product is a tough slog but you can make it easier on yourself by understanding a few steps along the path of shipping hardware. This talk focuses on creating the idea, engineering, manufacturing, testing, and shipping.


0:00: Steps 1-5: Idea Engineering Manufacturing Testing Shipping

1:00: Steps 6-120 (5! = 120)

9:56: Thank you

A more serious timeline:

0:00 Steps 1-5: Idea Engineering Manufacturing Testing Shipping

1:00 Idea to prototype and evaluation

2:00 Prototype to engineering first article

4:30 Engineering to production prototypes, safety and FCC testing

7:00 Production prototypes to manufacturing lines

9:00 Supporting a fielded product

9:56 Breathe and thank you, mention Cohen’s Prototype to Product book

I think I really could do this, sort of like a free verse version of 88 Lines about 44 Women. (Should I try to make it rhyme? There is no way I could make it rhyme and scan properly but I might manage rhyme.)

This would be based on my own experience and to Al Cohen’s book Prototype to Product: A Practical Guide to Getting to Market.

Intended Audience: People who will find me funny but maybe are also interested in how to ship a product.

Title: Kidnapped and Blindfolded! Intuitive Inertial Navigation!

Abstract: Accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers have snuck into our lives through phones, cars, and toys. How do the sensors work? And how do they work together to build an inertial view of the world? What *is* a Kalman filter anyway? All these questions will be answered once you let me kidnap and blindfold you.


0:00 Accelerometers: perfect acceleration in rockets, earthbound in cars

2:00 Angular rate sensors: spin

3:00 Magnetometers: direction

4:00 Error build up in the system (integration errors, other errors)

6:00 Thought experiment: Kidnapped and blindfolded (internal human sensors)

8:00 Using low error states to correct high error states

9:15 Kalman filters

Intended Audience: Curious people