Watch a recap of the live stream here!

Day of Events


Buy your kit and sign up for a workshop to learn how to make a circuit, use conductive thread, and solder a new badge!

Otto the Rolling Robot Pin

BEGINNER – PAPER CIRCUITS – $2.95 Use conductive copper tape to complete a circuit and make a little robot light up with an LED and a coin-cell battery. When you’re done, pin the robot to your shirt to show your support for robotics!

Otto Light-Up Badge

INTERMEDIATE – E-TEXTILE – $9.95 For those who want to try their hand at sewing, assemble a light-up badge using a needle, conductive thread, an LED and a coin-cell battery.

Top-Secret Soldering

ADVANCED – SOLDERING – $19.95 Programming and soldering come together with our BadgerHacks! Solder together your BadgerStick and LED board, and then learn to program your creation to spell out words and secret messages.


10 a.m.: Introduction to Robotics with Shawn Hymel

Learn robotics basics with SparkFun’s own Shawn Hymel. Consider this a primer on getting started in an exciting field!

10:30 a.m.: FIRST Robotics

Learn about the competitive high school robotics club and see a few robots in action! You’ll find out how the competition works and how you can get involved.

11 a.m.: Introduction to Hacking (Autonomous) Vehicles with Josh Datko

Learn about hacking embedded systems, your car and autonomous vehicles! Get briefed on embedded device security, the threat model for autonomous vehicles, the latest research in car hacking from this year’s major security conferences – HOPE, BlackHat and DEF CON – and ongoing open source projects.

Noon: Poison Arrow from BattleBots with Caustic Creations

Meet the team behind ABC Network’s “BattleBots” competitor Poison Arrow, see the robot and learn what it’s like behind the scenes of the hit ABC TV show. The bot makers will share stories about building Poison Arrow and offer tips on taking your combat bot to the next level.

1 p.m.: Meet AVC Mexico Champion Jorge Cordero

Want to win AVC? Come learn from someone who has! Jorge will be flying in from Mexico to compete in SparkFun’s AVC challenges and talk about his experience, the international autonomous vehicle scene and what it takes to be one of the best!

2 p.m.: Quality Control at SparkFun

How do we ensure our products work? What is the magic behind our our quality? QC manager Pete Lewis will detail our cool test jigs and methods used to ensure quality fun!

3 p.m.: IoT Myths and Realities

Join SparkFun’s director of Software Development and IT (SWIT), Timm McShane, to learn about the history of computing and how IoT isn’t just another fad but the true next step in computing. Timm will debunk myths left and right as he uncovers what’s real and where the field is heading.


Autonomous Robotics & Perception Group (ARPG) CU

An important goal in mobile robotics is the development of perception algorithms that allow for persistent, long-term autonomous operation in unknown situations (over weeks or more). Learn how ARPG CU uses real-time, embodied robot systems equipped with a variety of sensors.

BHS Robotics

Join the Boulder High School robotics team and check out some of the cool projects the group has been working on. This includes THING, a giant robotic hand controlled by Beanie Babies, a remote-controlled shopping cart and the competition bot from last year’s FRC.

Catalyze CU

An 8-week summer startup accelerator designed for CU students and faculty, Catalyze CU combines world-class mentorship and equity-free grants with the university’s most promising ideas and technologies.

Caustic Creations with Poison Arrow

If you’re a fan of ABC Network’s “BattleBots” show, you’ll want to visit Caustic Creations, one of the show’s top teams. They’re at AVC to talk about their experience filming and building one of these fierce fighting robots!

Colorado Maker Hub

If you’ve ever been to a Denver Mini Maker Faire, then you’re probably familiar with the Colorado Maker Hub. Stop by their tent to hear about all the different events and educational programs happening in the state.

FIRST Robotics

Our local high school FIRST Robotics teams have come out for the day to show off their competition-ready robots. Check out these cool machines and find out ways to support robotics and electronics in our schools.

Maker Boulder

Boulder’s vibrant maker coalition hosts the Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest every spring! Come say hello and learn about ways to get involved.


Based in Boulder, RoadNarrows is developing a diverse set of robotics research platforms for universities and other research groups, including Hekateros robotic manipulators, Laelaps mobile research robots and Eudoxus 3D Vision.


ROBAUTO is a local robotics startup with one mission: to provide low-cost, intelligent social robots to students and makers. Robots for the people!


Learn how you can implement an embedded-vision system on Digilent’s ZYBO, a low-cost Zynq-7000 All-Programmable SoC development board. Xilinx will demonstrate the distinct advantages of FPGA technology for implementing realtime, high-performance image processing for autonomous vehicles .


This year at AVC we’re dedicating a space specifically for shop talk. Come meet engineers from our team, ask them your burning questions about our products and resources or share your projects and ideas.

Shawn Hymel, Creative Technologist
Mary West, Engineer
Nick Poole, Creative Technologist


1 – 2 p.m.: Nathan Seidle, SparkFun Founder
10 – 11 a.m.: Richard Parker, SparkFun CFO
2 – 3 p.m.: Glenn Samala, SparkFun CEO

*Office hours are subject to change. Keep an eye out for these folks wandering around!

We encourage all of our friends and special guests to join us on September 17! Bring your toughest questions for our engineers, your brilliant project ideas, and spend the day with us celebrating robotics and electronics!

Course Previews

Classic AVC Course


Robot Combat

This year's struggle for robotic dominance will be a little larger, louder and more dangerous: We are proud to welcome the Power Racing Series as our official AVC 2016 co-hosts! Not only will we be enjoying traditional Power Racing Series events, but we're excited to announce a new PRS event: the inaugural Autonomous Power Racing Series Competition. That's right – self-guided, manned Power Wheels. Get excited/scared.

This year will feature four categories of competition:

Classic Autonomous Vehicle Competition

Not quite ready to step up to the power wheels? Have you got a small R/C chassis from previous AVCs that you want to re-use? This category is for you. No requirement to carry a deadweight but you’ll need to keep your weight under 25 pounds. These lighter weight vehicles will be on their own course with optional ramps. And did we mention there’ll be left turns? No more square courses, we’re going curvy this year.

Autonomous Power Racing Series

Walk up, sit down, hit the button and hold on. This is a power wheels that drives you! Too chicken to ride? That’s fine. Judges will provide you with a 20-pound deadweight to carry. And we promise it will have googly eyes.

Man vs. Machine: At the end of the day PRS and A+PRS competitors will be invited to compete together on the track. Mayhem will ensue.

Power Racing Series

Get a power wheels from a friend or find one dumpster diving. Swap out a battery (or three) and get that chassis rolling! Human driven, these vehicles get punished in multi-lap group races. Bring your costume and a fun hacker attitude.

Combat Bots

This will be our second year running Combat Robots. Antweight and beetleweight fight to the death (or at least until time runs out). To keep things easy we are continuing to follow the rules set forth by the SPARC organization.

Man vs. Machine: At the end of the day PRS and A+PRS competitors will be invited to compete together on the track. Mayhem will ensue.