Infographic: Acquisitions in Hardware

It’s been hard to miss: The tech giants have been on a bit of a shopping spree these days. Starting with the staggering $19 billion Facebook dropped for WhatsApp at the beginning of the year, the Internet has been whirling with acquisition talk every other week. With Oculus VR going for $2 billion and Nokia’s $7.2 billion deal with Microsoft, it’s clear that hardware is a hot commodity right now. We take a look back at some of the biggest purchases made by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft over the years.

Acquisitions in Hardware

sound like Daft Punk – or Akon!

Vocal chords are obsolete! The Human Speaker collar by Nic Wallenberg is able to transform those subtle lip movements and vibrations into amplified, robotic sound.
Don’t get rid of your vocal chords yet though, it can only produce two notes at a time so would you still need to have friends around to create a Daft Punk cover and gather a few million views on YouTube. But still, that’s cool!
I bet Akon just ordered a prototype to possibly replace his old Auto-Tune.

First Week @Upverter!

Once upon a time, George didn’t like us that much. He even wrote once that one of our competitors was better than us. So we sent a request to the NSA to get rid of him, we patiently waited until he actually tried to build something with them, and he eventually came back to us…

And we started talking with George about hardware, software and a bunch of possible improvements to our tool. At some point, we realized that he would be a good addition to our team and we invited him over for a week. I think he had a good time with us even though his returned flight was cancelled twice and he has been running back and forth to the airport under some crazy rain. When he finally got home he sent us his thoughts about his first week at Upverter:

“Last week, I flew up to Toronto to meet the team and learn the ropes. Bugs were fixed, beer was consumed, and I learned I’m really bad at pool.

While I was in Toronto, I discovered and helped fix a bug that made drawing nets on a schematic hard in Chrome on Windows. The bug was caused by a race condition triggered when a mouse move event was raised immediately after a mouse up event. I’m not sure why, but Chrome was raising a mouse move event after every click. Odd, right?

Technically, that bugfix was my first bit of code to hit production. Even so, let’s pretend that my first code was a bit more exciting – say, something like real traces, a feature I’ve wanted since I started using Upverter. I believe traces shouldn’t break apart when you grab one and start dragging it. Physical traces are contiguous, why should they behave differently on the design surface? The code for this feature is still in review – and I need to tweak it a bit more before it’s ready for production. This will be my first real code to go live – I want it to be perfect!

Enough about code, let’s talk Toronto! To put it mildly, I absolutely love Toronto! The people, diversity, skyline, food, music – I loved everything! I’m from The Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey, and maybe I’m a little apprehensive about moving to a large city, but I couldn’t be any more excited.

This is going to be a huge change of pace, and I’m totally psyched for it.

Wish me luck during my remaining six weeks of school, I’ll be back in Toronto as soon as legally possible!

In the meantime, feel free to tweet my way. @George_Hahn

PS: Also, I saw a mountie. Hehe.”


RIP “Jackpotting”!

World famous security researcher / hacker Barnaby Jack died in San Francisco today.

He was about to reveal how an ordinary pacemaker could be compromised in order to kill a man from 50 feet away in the real life.

Do you remember the episode of “Homeland” when Brody hacks the Vice President of the United States’ pacemaker and kills him? At that point even the hardcore fans of the show started criticizing the production for testing and approaching the boundaries of plausibility.

Well. After six months of research Barnaby Jack had developed a way to attack these implanted heart devices and deliver high voltage shocks to the carriers.

After hacking insulin pumps to potentially deliver lethal doses, overriding the firmware of an ATM to make it spit out cash like in Terminator 2 – or Heroes, his new presentation at the Las Vegas Black Hat hacking convention was eagerly awaited.

The hacking community was under shock as the news of his death spread on social networks earlier today. Check Dino Dai Zovi and Dan Kaminski’s tweeter accounts…

Director of the NSA Keith Alexander is expected to speak at the convention this week. I bet he will have to answer a few suspicious questions!


Do you know that the Canadian Government wants you to use Upverter?

Canada loves Upverter!

Ok, they did not name us specifically but after putting so much effort into developing awesome and unique cloud-based engineering tools we feel that it is well deserved.

The government wants small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow well and, if possible, fast. And they figured out that one of the ways to reach that goal is to encourage them to adopt digital technologies, including Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools or hardware design tools like Upverter.

So how does it work?

To be eligible, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have 500 employees or less
  • Be able to demonstrate how digital technologies can help your business
  • Be growth oriented
  • Operate in Canada

If this describes your company, you should call the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP) and get in touch with an Industrial Technology Advisor in your area.

And if your company builds electronics, this is a great way to get government support for your hardware design migration to Upverter!

Check out the DTAPP website for more information about the program!

For any questions about Upverter and/or the tool in general, e-mail us at support (at) upverter (dot) com

Design Challenges

Last week we posted our first ever design challenge in partnership with MailGun. The goal: create a control system for a robotic Nerf gun that pans the gun and fires a dart when an email is sent to a specific address. It’s a neat way to integrate MailGun’s services with hardware.


We now a have a few of the Nerf Vulcan EBF-25 blasters in the office, and we’ve torn one apart to make it electrically controlled.

You can check out the contest details here. The best design will win $500, and their design will be sent to PyCon 2013 to fire Nerf darts at the MailGun booth. You have until March 1st to submit your design.

How To Disrupt Engineering


image by Stefano Di Chiara

At Upverter our mission is to make innovation in hardware as painless as innovation in software. We have a very simple “business plan”. It consists of 3 milestones, of which we have hit one so far. It will take us about 5 years to build the technology behind hitting all 3.

We belive this is how you go about disrupting enigneering.

First, develop low-end, but high-performance and collaborative tools to prove that cloud-based engineering is both faster and feasible.

Accomplished: November 6th, 2012

Second, reach feature parity and blur the lines between disciplines to compete with professional desktop tools.

On Track: Late 2013

Third, build the rosetta stone of engineering, unlock 30 years of design data and become the platform of engineering.

On Track: 2015