More Than Fun And Games


| January 27, 2016 | in

On our blog we usually write about what we’re doing around the office. It’s easy because that’s what comes to our minds while we’re in the office. But what about our endeavors outside the office? How do our hobbies and extracurricular activities affect or complement what we do at Don’t Panic Labs?

In my estimation, Hari Wiguna is one of those engineers who not only has a unique set of talents and interests, but also finds ways to put them to use in projects and help build a unique environment.

The philosopher Confucius is quoted as saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” The way I see it, that pretty much sums up Hari.

Hari has been part of Don’t Panic Labs nearly since the beginning in 2010. The curiosity that fuels his drive to learn how things work and create little projects in his “lab” at home is palpable.

From Netduinos to 3D printers, Raspberry Pis to robots, Hari undoubtedly has some of the most interesting off hours projects of anyone in the office. Luckily for us, he shares what he learns on his blog, Google+, and his Hackaday profile page. He’s also very active in MakeShift Lincoln, a local makerspace.

The videos he shares online are as playful as they are educational. He has a dedicated online following (which is no surprise with projects like these Daft Punk robot pandas) and was recently featured in a Hackaday article, “Internet of Things in Five Minutes”.

His influence on all the companies and projects which he has worked is very real and lasting.

Early on, Hari was part of the EliteForm team. He was one of the key people behind bringing the hardware side of the PowerTracker units to life. From assisting in designing the custom enclosures to building the computers that were inside, his contributions were essential for the company. For a while he was a one man manufacturing line who was responsible for procuring parts, improving designs, and building every PowerTracker unit by hand. When Hari was needed on new projects in 2013, he handed off the responsibilities to EliteForm hardware technician Johnny Kohtz.

Hari with his EliteForm PowerTrackers Hari's PowerTracker assembly line

When it comes to making our space unique, he was instrumental in the creation of the metal signs that hang in our entryway.

Nebraska Global / Don't Panic Labs entryway

I am in no way handy so I’m constantly impressed by the creations Hari puts together. However, it’s over discussions of video production that Hari I converse the most. He and I both have a passion for finding creative ways to tell stories through video. It’s great to share our approaches to production, whether it’s setting up shots or sharing the resources and tools we use.

As a team at DPL, we are always looking for new activities everyone can participate in. And while I can’t go into many details about it right now, I can say that Hari is both an inspiration and mentor for some possible upcoming projects (watch our blog in the coming months to see what shapes these ideas take).

Perhaps to some people it may appear that Hari is just playing around. But as we’re seeing the Internet of Things (IoT) leading us towards creating viable solutions to real-life problems, there are some serious applications for the technologies he’s “playing around with”.

I believe that when we look back at this time in history, we’ll be able to acknowledge that makers, hackers, dreamers, and tinkerers (like Hari) helped inspire and teach the engineers who are solving some of the biggest the problems of the mid- and late-21st century.

Hari is just one example of how the environment at Don’t Panic Labs fosters the creativity and unique passions of its team to build some truly incredible products and companies.

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