How Bulletproof came about the Escape Fridge/Booth for 2018 AWS Summit

/How Bulletproof came about the Escape Fridge/Booth for 2018 AWS Summit

Bulletproof Escape Fridge-Booth depending on your OHS requirements

escape fridge boothIn April, Bulletproof was a sponsor at the Sydney AWS Summit. As part of our booth on the expo floor, we wanted to present something different to the usual, drop your card in a bowl and win a drone-type, attraction you usually see at these events. Our goals were to choose something that highlight the type of work that we do at Bulletproof with customers, as well as show off some interesting AWS technology. After some brainstorming, a few wrong turns, and a lot of hard work, the team came up with the Bulletproof Escape Fridge.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts where we’d cover:

  • The concept and how the idea grew and transformed
  • The UX and AWS architecture of the project
  • The hardware build
  • The frontend and backend software build
  • We’ll finish up with the challenges we handed out as well as the challenges we faced and finally the winners on the day

Let’s get started!

The concept

As we were planning for the Summit, we started brainstorming ideas for our booth. As it is typical for sponsors to giveaway ‘swags’ to attract crowds, we felt, we have to do something different this year.

As a consensus, we opted to have an activity/challenge for our guests. Given this was an AWS conference; we felt quite strongly the ‘challenge’ should focus on AWS technology to display the type of work we do with our customers. It didn’t hurt that this challenge quickly became analogous to a recruitment tool which was a secondary goal of sponsoring the summit for us. The activity required participants to present their AWS skills and for us, finding new staff!

Our initial white-boarding sessions quickly came up with an initial general concept.

  • Create an AWS based Rube Goldberg Machine
  • Participant kicks off the machine but it fails to work in some subtle way
  • Participant needs to find the problem with the AWS stack or code, fix it and redeploy
  • Challenge has to be completed within 10 minutes
  • Add all the results to a leaderboard
  • Profit!

The booth becomes a fridge

the concept
What would be at the end of the Rube Goldberg machine though? This was our initial idea:

That’s right, lock a person in a server rack and set it on fire. This presented a number of challenges:

  • Racks are usually 600mm wide, I’m a small guy and having in my youth been inside the odd rack or two, it’s a tight fit even for me
  • Setting fire to things on the expo floor is probably not a good idea
  • Racks are heavy to transport
  • Our booth wasn’t quite big enough to accommodate a rack
  • Claustrophobia!
  • Did I mention Occupational Health and Safety regulations

After some further thought, we compromised on an Escape Fridge.
escape fridge
The fridge would contain a prize of a semi-cold refreshing beverage.

The Rube Goldberg Machine

rube goldberg machine
We were hoping that we could present some sort of challenge using Deep Lens but realised it would be difficult to get a hold of the hardware in time. We decided to build something similar ourselves instead.

At a conceptual level, the Rube Goldberg machine would work as follows:

  • The participant presses a button
  • This kicks off a process to take a photo of the participant
  • Participant stares at the camera and have their photo taken
  • We process the photo to determine if the participant is smiling
  • If they are smiling, the fridge can be unlocked or they find and solve the bug and they get their prize
  • A timer goes off after 10 minutes whether of not they solve the error

That sounds quite simple but we used an over-engineered AWS architecture to make it more complex to increase the difficulty of the challenge

The Source

We have Open Sourced all the data for the project so you can get a greater understanding of how the project works and the technologies we used.

What’s next

In our next installment, we’ll go over the AWS Architecture for the Rube Goldberg machine. Watch this space.

Also, Bulletproof is hosting an AWS Recap night on these dates. Join us to learn more and test the Escape Fridge!

  • 30 May, Wednesday at Bulletproof office Sydney, Level 17, 60 Margaret Street
  • 7 June, Thursday at GridAKL, 101 Pakenham Street West Wynyard Quarter, Auckland New Zealand
  • 13 June, Wednesday at AWS Melbourne office, Level 18, 8 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000
  • Register to join


    By | 2018-05-28T01:28:26+00:00 May 28th, 2018|AWS, Digital Transformation, Technical Blog|