And that’s a wrap.

A huge thank-you to everyone who made OTA16 a fantastic event – the 8th and last, of the Over the Air series.


The workshop programme was full of some truly amazing talks, the hall was filled with the buzzing of collaborations and learning, the crypt was a bean-bag filled cozy hacking zone, and the hack entries were awesome! With huge props to the Sponsors who made it all possible.

And at the heart of the event is of course the Over the Air community – that’s you!

Here are the first of the photos in the OTA16 Album in our Flickr Group – do add your own as well.
Over the Air 2016

(Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to request the removal of any of these images – we were counting on folks telling us throughout the event if they’d prefer their photo not be taken.)

Interviews by Christian Payne (Documentally) on Twitter & Audioboom

The lovely team at Nexmo, our cornerstone Sponsor this year, invited Christian to interview a number of participants, some of which you can find here on Audioboom, and others you can find on Twitter – such as his interviews with Rev. Graham Hunter, Paul Johnston, Dom Hodgson, Andy Piper (two times) , CoderDojo attendee Simone Luis,  Tom Durrant, Matthew Rollins, Tristan Roddis (and Paul again), Sam Machin, Alex Bucknall, James Smith, Hadley Beeman,

Read the full Storify here! (Once again, courtesy of Christian Payne)

Here’s a taste of the conversations that took place – too much for one blog post naturally, so do check out the full storify.

Support our amazing Venue by making a donation

We’ve asked Rev. Graham to set up a dedicated donation tool for the attendees of Over the Air 2016, so that we can offer some additional financial support for this amazing building, and the services it offers both the local community and the technology community.

Our generous sponsors have made this year’s OTA possible, but only at a reduced rate for the venue, and they really need the financial help themselves. Please help us make up that shortfall by making a donation. 

This fund is for guests at Over the Air 2016 to make donations towards the cost of the event. Sponsorship has not covered the whole cost, and the church has been flexible with it’s hire fee – but is now facing a shortfall. Please give generously to cover the church’s costs, and support its wider work in the Hoxton neighbourhood. Ps. If you use GoCardless to donate, the fees are lower than Stripe – so the church ends up with more money!” – Graham Hunter

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 11.06.40

We’ve got 3D scanning & printing!

3d sponsorThanks to Hercules, as Manager of our Art Space at OTA16, and with the support of both Mystery Vibe and 3dscanbot we have a 3D scanner and printer in the Main Hall, to use to your heart’s content!

If you haven’t had a play with it yet – get cracking, and join them for a hands-on workshop on the fly.  Scans can be manipulated in 3d modeling software ready for printing.

Hercules has invited some exciting musicians and artist to join us and perform, and will be doing some live painting. Let him know if you are interested in working together with him on some  rapid development tools by dropping him a note at @herx.

The CrateDB Data Challenge

Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter KitCrate are big fans of data. Big data, small data, open data. We want to see what you can do using the CrateDB, oodles of data, and the limitless power of your imagination.

Luckily for our happy hackers, a SQL database shouldn’t be too hard to integrate into most projects, letting us focus on judging entries that use CrateDB to build creative, compelling projects around interesting data. Libraries are available for Java, Python, Ruby, Go, etc. so choose your flavor.

We’ve put together some demo applications here to get you started! And you can also look for Jessica at the event to ask any questions.

As a prize we’ll be giving away awesome Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits



The Natural History Open Data Challenge

Setting the World’s Natural History Data Free

lysandra-coridon-butterflies-two-columnThe Natural History Museum in London is embarking on an epic journey to digitise 80 million specimens from one of the world’s most important natural history collections – documenting 4.5 billion years of life, the Earth and the solar system. Almost all animal, plant, mineral and fossil groups are represented.

Digitising the Museum’s collection will give the global scientific community access to unrivalled historical, geographic and taxonomic specimen data gathered in the last 250 years. We are committed to open access, open science, and open data.

nhm-data-portal-first-steps-toward-the-graphoflife-6-638Over the next five years we plan to digitise a quarter of the Museum’s specimens by establishing high-throughput digital capture workflows for all major collection types.

We have created an online Data Portal giving everyone in the world access to the specimen and lot-level data, and will develop flexible informatics and visualisation tools to analyse the data.

In our workshop on Friday the 25th at 15:30, on the Side Stage in the main building, we will be introducing you to our Data Portal and our open APIs. We will describe some of the digitisation challenges we face, and our desire to make this not only an indispensable source of data for researchers & scientists world wide, but also a source of information and knowledge for the amateur, the student, and the curious.

We will be showcasing our iCollections database in particular, and looking at what we can learn from it:

  • Do people collect specimens on nice days?
  • What was the collector who collected from the most distinct localities?
  • What can we learn about the collectors?
  • Are most specimens collected in rural areas? On a stroll through national parks?

Find out more about the Digital Collections Programme, and check out the Data Portal on GitHub.


The Natural History Open Data Challenge

We invite you to take a closer look at our iCollections data in particular, but feel free to explore of course!

At the moment the Data Portal is designed with fellow scientists in mind, but this information should be accessible for anyone, from school child to educator, from the curious to the amateur expert – from anywhere in the world.

  • How can this data be visualised in more interesting ways?
  • How can we make the interface more attractive to different audiences? 
  • What other queries can you think of?
  • Using the Data Portal APIs – what creative applications can come out of this data-set?
  • What other APIs would you be interested in seeing developed?
  • How can this data truly go mobile?

With thanks to our Sponsor

synthesysThis session and Hackathon Challenge are supported by the EC-funded SYNTHESYS project, which encompasses a wide range of natural history collections across all of Europe.

SYNTHESYS is Hackathon Sponsor of OTA16

We’re thrilled to announce that SYNTHESYS is sponsoring the Over the Air Hackathon this year, as well as running the Natural History Open Data Challenge.


SYNTHESYS is an EC-funded project, of which the Natural History Museum in London is one of the 20 members, to create an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections. It’s activities include funding short research visits to selected natural history collections and herbaria within Europe, developing virtual collections improve the quality of and increase access to digital collections and data within natural history institutions by developing virtual collections.

nhm-data-portal-first-steps-toward-the-graphoflife-6-638The Natural History Museum in London is committed to open access and open science, and has launched the Data Portal to make its research and collections datasets available online. It allows anyone to explore, download and reuse the data for their own research.

Our natural history collection is one of the most important in the world, documenting 4.5 billion years of life, the Earth and the solar system. Almost all animal, plant, mineral and fossil groups are represented – and we’re inviting you to get involved!

To find out more, come join our Workshop Session on Friday at 15:30 in the Marquee, watch our Lightning Talk at 19:00 in the Main Hall, and enter our Hackathon Challenge!

One day to go!!

We hope you’re as excited as we are!

We’ve seen many new registrations role in over the past two days, so you may have missed some of our messages from the registration platform.

Here is some information that you’ll need as you’re starting to prepare for tomorrow:

1. Check out your travel route to the event. St. John’s Hoxton is at the junction of New North Rd and Pitfield St, a short walk from Old St or Hoxton tube stations, and close to the 271 and 394 bus routes. If you’re driving, the post code is N1 6NP, and you can book parking on the premises for £11 per day.

2. Check out your travel times. We’re opening up registration bright and early at 8:30(there’ll be coffee and tea, plus lots of great local caffs for a take-away), and the whole thing kicks off at 10:00. The Lightning Talks should be finished by around 8:30 or 9:00 if you’re catching a train back – but we hope that you’ll stay overnight with us at the venue! Saturday morning also kicks off at 10:00.

3. Pack your overnight gear. That’s right, you’re welcome to stay with us over night! There is lots of room on the grassy grounds for camping, or roll out your sleeping bag in a cozy corner of the main building (where there will also be a female-only space available). Don’t forget your toothbrush.

OTA09 t-shirt4. Pack you chargers, memory cards, laptop, hackable devices, prototyping kit, LEDs, Sugru, drones, nerd-cred t-shirts, emergency chocolate bars, stickers to give away… maybe pre-download a few handy libraries while you’re at it.

5. Bring your own lanyard and show us all of the cool events you’ve been to lately (while also showing us your name).

6. Check out the programme on Lanyrd and build your own schedule by selecting ‘Plan to Attend’ or ‘Track’. While you’re at it, let other folks know you’re going by marking yourself as ‘Attending’ .

7. Have a read through of this year’s Hackathon Challenges for some inspiration and ideas about what you might hack.

8. Toss around some ideas with others by joining the conversation on Slackline.

9. Have a quick read of our Hack Day Code of Conduct. We know it’s clear but it is very worth mentioning one more time – ALL are welcome at Over the Air!

10. Get some sleep tonight! …you might not tomorrow 🙂


See you soon!

Margaret & Dan is Lightning Talks Sponsor

logo-crateWe are pleased to announce that the lovely team at are the Sponsor of OTA16 Lightning Talks. CrateDB is a new kind of datastore that combines SQL and search in a way that’s simple to scale. The next wave of big data is being generated by “things.” Sensors, wearables, vehicles, networks, servers can generate millions of data points per second. was founded in 2013 to help mainstream SQL developers put all that machine data to work, simply. Just like our database we’re distributed, with teams in San Francisco, Berlin, and Austria. Find out more at: is delighted to be joining other world-class technology sponsors to support one of our favorite technology events as the Marquee sponsor. CrateDB is an open source, distributed SQL database with integrated search that makes it simple to store and analyze massive amounts of structured and unstructured data in real-time. Our team has worked hard to be sure CrateDB works great with machine data, allowing you to stream millions of sensor readings, network messages, call detail records, and other machine and log data into CrateDB per second.” – Jessica Rose, Head of Developer Relations

Enter the CrateDB data challenge at the OTA16 hackathon!

At Crate, we’re big fans of data. Big data, small data, open data. We want to see what you can do using the CrateDB, oodles of data, and the limitless power of your imagination.

Luckily for our happy hackers, a SQL database shouldn’t be too hard to integrate into most projects, letting us focus on judging entries that use CrateDB to build creative, compelling projects around interesting data. Libraries are available for Java, Python, Ruby, Go, etc. so choose your flavor! We’ve put together some demo applications here to get you started!

Give-aways and Prizes

We are pleased to tell you about some wonderful give-aways and prizes at Over the Air this year:


GitHub Repositories for all

OctocatGitHub is how people build software. Millions of individuals and organizations around the world use GitHub to discover, share, and contribute to software. This year at Over the Air, ALL ATTENDEES will be receiving one month of unlimited private repositories, for individual use.

In addition, the WINNERS of each category in the Hackathon will be given one year of unlimited private repositories.


Pluralsight Trial Certificates for all.

ps-logo-with-icon-horizPluralsight is an on-demand technology learning platform, and this year at Over the Air they are giving ALL ATTENDEES  a free trial,  and 3 lucky HACKATHON WINNERS a full annual license, with access to 5200+ technology courses from beginner to expert level as well as skill assessments. Very useful for budding technology wizards!


O’Reilly Books for every Hackathon winner


The lovely people at O’Reilly Media are once again donating a wide range of informative and instructive books for all of our Hackathon winners:

1. Best in Show LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book, The No Starch Press
Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, The No Starch Press
Arduino: A Technical Reference O’Reilly Media
2. Audience Favourite Cooking for Geeks O’Reilly Media
3. Best use of Open APIs / Open Data Data Wrangling with Python O’Reilly Media
4. Best Android Entry High Performance Android Apps O’Reilly Media
5. Best iOS Entry High Performance iOS Apps O’Reilly Media
6. Best Windows Entry Make: Fire Maker Media, Inc
7. Best Mobile Web / HTML5 Entry CSS Secrets O’Reilly Media
8. Best Game Entry Game Art No Starch Press
9. Best Use of Other Features: Bluetooth, NFC, RFID Messaging, etc Make: Bluetooth Maker Media, Inc
10. Best Hardware / IoT Hack Engineering for Industrial Designers and Inventors O’Reilly Media
11. Best Wearable Hack Designing for Sustainability O’Reilly Media

Other Hackathon Prizes include:

  • An Amazon Echo Dot from Nexmo for the winner of the Nexmo API Challenge
  • Access to the Digital Catapult Contributor Programme for 6 months, donated by the Digital Catapult Centre to the Best in Show
  • An Apple TV donated by Twitter to the Audience Favourite
  • Two Samsung Gear VR headsets, donated by Samsung, for the winner of the Best Game / VR entry
  • And more still to be announced!