Event June 26, 2018

This was Gears '18

Marie Martens

Marketing Manager

First-rate speakers, deep-dive workshops and blacklight table tennis... the many enthusiastic responses tell us that Gears '18 was a great success!

Didn't make it? This will get you up to speed on the Gears '18 highlights in no time.

How to go to space without having to go to space

If there’s one Belgian who knows how aliens might look, it’s Angelo Vermeulen. In 2013, the 47-year-old Belgian was the only European selected by NASA for an ambitious project to prepare interstellar trips. During four months he and five others stayed in Hawaii in an environment that had to imitate life on Mars.

Not that the Belgian Buzz Lightyear had been trained to become an astronaut. On the contrary: Vermeulen studied photography and then obtained a PhD in biology. Soon he started to explore the boundaries between art and science by creating installations with intriguing names like 'Seeker' and 'Biomodd'.

The latter connects plants with computers. For example, the residual heat from the computers is used to grow a plant-based ecosystem, while the algae cool the processors. At Gears he told us all about his experiences and his plans to conquer space. The perfect way to kickstart our day!

From blockchain to creative ways of learning an AI

The emerging tech track kicked off with an introduction to the Blockchain landscape (Roderik van der Veer, Settlemint).

“Deep Learning requires loads of data and some clever engineering"

Nicolas Deruytter, ML6

Afterwards Nicolas Deruytter (ML6) teached us creative ways of traning an AI. Training AI requires expensive data-sets and new approaches can drastically reduce the time and cost spent on the collection of this information. A great example are neutral nets for self-driving cars. This can be made a lot easier by relying on photo-realistic 3D virtual environments like Unity Engine and allows us to recreate situations that are difficult to reproduce in real life.

An engineer is as finite as his tool belt

Jonas Kint, DevOps Engineer at Showpad kicked off the DevOps track and took us through the journey that Showpad processing stack has traveled in the past 2 years. His main conclusion? An engineer is as finite as his tool belt.

Seth Vargo discussed the journey of manual servers, codifying machines as code, immutable infrastructure, infrastructure as code, security as code, and applications as code. But what's next? What's the "next big thing" that will revolutionize the systems administration and DevOps space? Check out his slide deck here.


Symptoms of UAS

Nils Tijtgat, Full Stack Developer @at Showpad, but also an aspiring docker fanatic, self-proclaimed VS code evangelist and Gitlab CI enthusiast, talked us through all the symptoms of his Upgrade Addiction Syndrome. Check out his slidedeck here. His key take-aways?

  1. Upgrade fast
  2. Leverage the power of CI/CD and delivery pipelines
  3. Communicate well and love your QA team

Get yourself hipsterfied

In The Pocket and Showpad joined forces to get all the Gears attendees hipsterfied. With their talk 'Hipster-as-a-service' they showed how to use an easily accessible API to harness the power of AI to manipulate pictures. They created a proof of concept application, harnessing the power of serverless architecture and Google Cloud platform services.

The result? Get hipsterfied in seconds.

Amazon Elevator Pitch

The challenge was simple: pitch your idea for an Alexa application and win an Alexa-enabled Echo Home Speaker. Participants had 3 minutes to convince our jury from Amazon Web Services with a kickass idea. And so they did!


Congratulations Laura, Jonas and Pieterjan! From Suicide Hotline Alexa (a voice assistant that recommends a suicide hotline based on emotional recognition) to a dog trainer for Alexa, our Amazon jury was impressed with your ideas!

Thanks for joining us and see you at Gears '19!