Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Computer Hacking

In the 1980’s “hacking” meant patching together jury-rigged solutions to solve problems in funny and creative ways. In that spirit we’ve put together a camp to teach kids all about hacking – building and destroying computers involving both hardware and software. It’ll be our first run, so campers should expect to be actively involved in planning and executing activities. Our preliminary list:

1) Learn how to disassemble ipads, laptops, phones, video cards, hard drives, SDD’s and other modern hardware in order to explore and (attempt to) repair devices

2) Build your own desktop computer based on donated spare parts to make your very own server – determine its purpose and work in teams with others who have similar objectives; could include

  • installing and learning Linux
  • hacking Mac OSX to run on PC hardware
  • making a Minecraft or other game server
  • hosting your very own website out of your house for free and more

3) A day in the life of a technician

  • How do we deal with viruses? What are the ways users are exploited (socially and technically) 
  • Benchmarking, diagnosing and trouble-shooting hardware failures
  • Methods for cloning and data recovery

4) Straight up LAN party – we’ll finish out the week by playing old games together on the computers we build

Learning Process and Outcomes

Our process will be intentionally explorative and disorganized, just like real life. Participants will learn to become more confident peering into the black box, gain information-seeking skills and learn to pay attention to a variety of parameters in an adapted form of the scientific method (order of elimination). In some sense they’ll be better prepared to become computer technicians later in life, but we’re also very interested in helping them to understand the social conditions in which computing happens, emphasizing that people are a very crucial consideration at every step of the process. Most importantly, campers will get as much out of this camp as they put into it!

Take-Home Creations

Youth will go home with a desktop computer (server) built out of used and donated parts. 

Prerequisites: Computer experience guidelines are a MUST
Difficulty: Moderate
Required Ages: 11+
Required # of Participants: 4 – 8 
Dates / Time: July 10 – 14 | 1pm – 4pm
Cost: $160 minimum (pay more to get a better computer) 

This camp is full, please join the wait list Browse other classes

Participants will definitely need to exceed the Fab Lab digital literacy experience requirements to participate in this camp. Please consult them before signing your youth up!

Please fill out and bring signed forms with you on the first day of camp OR just email us the forms in advance. We will provide participants with a snack each day and a water bottle for the week.