Fantastical Theatre sessions announced for ESC Minneapolis

It's happy dance time here in the Pleasure Dome (my office)! I'm all aquiver with excitement because the sessions for the Fantastical Theatre of Engineering Innovation track at ESC Minneapolis November 4-5 have just been posted to the Master Schedule.

As you may recall, the Fantastical Theatre sessions are open to all attendees, including those sporting a Free Demo Hall Pass . All I can say is that I think we've outdone ourselves this time.

Wednesday, November 4th
We kick off the Fantastical Theatre on the first day with a moderated discussion on Embedded Systems in the 21st Century. In this session, which will be hosted by Rich Quinnell and yours truly, we will have a free-ranging discussion on where we expect embedded systems to go in 10, 20, 50, and 100 years' time. This will be a free-for-all discussion in which attendees can share their thoughts on topics like machine vision, machine speech, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented realities, and robot avatars, to name but a few.

Next we have the Awesome Arduino Show and Tell, which will be hosted by the Executive Editor of EDN, Suzanne Deffree. This session will provide a venue for engineers and makers to present their home-built, Arduino-based devices and explain how they were constructed. Do you have a capriciously cunning Arduino-based creation of your own? If so, bring it along and share it with the rest of us (I'm working furiously to finish one of my projects that I want to show to the world).

This will be followed by the Embedded Markets Study Report, which will be presented by Rich Quinnell. UBM has conducted this survey annually for more than 20 years, seeking to understand how embedded developers work, the design environment they work in, and the challenges they face. Development team structure, project durations, processor choices, tool usage, and key concerns are just a few of the topics covered by this study.

The final Fantastical Theatre session for the first day — Journey From Electrical Engineering to Brewing — will be presented by the President of the Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, Jeff Moriarty. As Karen Field discussed in this column, it was during one of many “Happy Hours” involving beer that electrical engineers Jake Johnson, Jeff Moriarty, and George Kellerman decided to take the plunge and start their own open source craft brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota. The fact that they are electrical engineers explains why their beers have names like Short Circuit Stout , Wheatstone Bridge , and Ampere Amber . During this session, which he describes as “being of interest to anyone who wishes to start his or her own brewery,” Jeff will give an informal discussion on his journey from electrical engineering to brewery owner.

Thursday, November 5th
On Thursday, the Fantastical Theatre opens with a bang — or, at least, a squeal of brakes — when the Chief International Correspondent at EE Times, Junco Yoshida, hosts a panel discussion on the Intended and Unintended Consequences of Autonomous Cars. Auto industry analysts believe the arrival of autonomous cars is inevitable. The question is not if, but how soon. But do we really understand what it means for driverless cars to share the roads with drivers and pedestrians? All will (hopefully) be revealed in this timely session.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love to learn nuggets on knowledge and tidbits of trivia, so I'm really looking forward to the Tech History Trivia Team Quiz, which will be hosted by the Executive Editor of EDN, Suzanne Deffree. According to Susan: “Wrong answers will be heckled; team wins will be cheered; and prizes will go to the champions in this all-for-fun Tech Trivia session.” You can come with existing friends or make new ones by forming a team “on the fly.” Does anyone want to be on my “Max's Marauders” team?

Next up we have a moderated discussion What Are The Chances of a Robot Apocalypse? In this free-for-all discussion, which will be hosted and moderated by Rich Quinnell and yours truly, we will consider various technologies that are starting to appear and ponder the possibility of a robot uprising. Attendees are advised to wear aluminum foil deflector beanies (AFDBs) to protect themselves against brain-scanning, mind-reading, and electromagnetic & psychotronic attack.

The final session in the Fantastical Theatre — Next-Gen IoT4EE Technology — is going to be a corker. We aren’t giving too much away about this session at this time. All I can say is that I'm planning on attending this one because I know what's coming and it will blow your socks off (which is why I plan on wearing the elasticated kind).

So, what do you think? Which of these sessions most captures your fancy and why?

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