EMF Festival 2018 Retrospective

Kim and I just got back from Electromagnetic Field Camp 2018 – a bi-annual festival celebrating all things hacking and making. It was a spectacular and unique event with a huge amount of fun to be had.

The purpose of this post is to share a collection of photos we took at the event…

You are welcome to share this page and our pictures!

We might have some more pictures and a video or two to share still as we sort out our other devices! Stay tuned!

The Event

EMF had a special badge for participants – it was a pretty featured hackable microcontroller dev-kit… well actually it was closer to a fully featured hackable mobile phone as it included a GSM module and antenna. It also had a bunch of sensors, built in WiFi, buttons and a colour LCD. I had some trouble actually hacking the badge as my laptop doesn’t deal well with native usb serial ports, but did manage to get some things going…


The entire camp had a temporary GSM and WiFi network set up – this along with power was distributed somewhat hilariously via jerryrigged portaloos, the beacon on top would spin energetically visualising the amount of traffic at the hub


It wasn’t unusual to find WiFi radio boosters in odd locations around the site:


The Robot Arms was the biggest watering hole for thirsty hackers on site. The bar like much of the festival was largely volunteer run…


There was an awesome, I mean AWESOME arcade tent at the festival with a number of rescued classic machines including Star Wars, House of The Dead, Mortal Combat, Frogger, Space Invaders and much more – we spent a good amount of time in there!



There were far too many interesting things going on at once, it was impossible to see them all (and often too interesting to remember to take photos!)

These guys were running a blacksmithing workshop from about 8am to 1am every day!


A high altitude balloon launch by the HABHUB Village crew:



There was of course a very healthy serving of robots, mechs and automata…

I think this little guy was the EMF Roamer, you can see on the flag there is a QR Code to scan, scanning the code would take your phone to a webpage with a live stream from the robot, and a set of controls so you could drive it around the site!


Cat automaton, not sure if this is what it is actually called!

The Mantis – a giant mech with cockpit and serious industrial actuators, they must have needed a fair sized truck to bring this in!

Credit: Kim



I think this was some kind of large CNC farm bot with a rotary ploughing bit:


Transport / Hacky Races

Many attendees were smart enough to consider bringing on site transport, and these devices were seen in use transporting goods and mail around the site, ferrying passengers and taking part in “Hacky Races” on an improvised hay bail track:

This monster:


This wagon:


Hacky Racers:

Credit: Kim
Credit: Kim

The camp at night:

At night, the lights would come on! There were approximately 37489032.421 programmed RGB LEDs on site:


Credit: Kim
Credit: Kim

More night smithing and smoke coming from the Netherlands Village rave:

Credit: Kim

Richard Sewell from Bristol Hackspace makes these crazy fabric inflatables which can be automated or controlled by a microcontroller. Servo controlled air vents on the sides of the sculpture allow quite a degree of movement:




Null Sector / Cybar

On the first night as we were wondering around, we noticed the sky lit up with giant laser beams emerging from an ominous plume of fog at a previously quieter section of the camp – as we walked closer we heard pumping techno and drum and bass emerging from this oddity. It turned out to be Null Sector (Or Cybar??) – a collection of shipping containers fenced together to form a makeshift techno club from some dystopian cyber future. Again I can only describe this happening with emphasis: AWESOME!

Null Sector was a club, night time market, bar and a second “Cardboard Arcade” which was made up of Indie video games. Lasers, pyrotechnics, audio-visuals, fog and not to forget the gigantic fortune telling Maneki-neko!

Credit: Kim

This was an A/V installation in one of the containers:




The cardboard arcade:



The night market:

Credit: Kim

Worshipping the giant maneki-neko!



We had an incredible time, we met lots of people, we learned stuff, we hacked, we missed lots of interesting things too – there was too much to do!

Big thanks to the organisers and volunteers who made EMF Camp 2018 happen – I hope there are many more!


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