Creative Hacking!

#UPSTAGRAM, a Hackerloop creative hack into Instagram

The colorful flying house from the movie UP! recently crossed the sky above Paris, just between the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur! On board, an open-source electronic device, a Rapsberry Pi, publishing live pictures on Instagram.

It's not about hacking Instagram, it's about using it to build something that we were convinced would be awesome! Creativity is also about pushing existing tools further, in a way they weren’t initially designed for.
— Valentin Squirelo, Hackerloop co-founder.

Why Instagram ?

Instagram built its platform so that only the official iOS and Android apps can upload pictures. We wanted to make our way around that for their small experiment.

To achieve that, we studied Instagram’s apps and extracted the technical information that we needed to send photos on the service from any device.

What did we do?

  • we developed software that automatically shoot photos and upload them to an Instagram account, without using any Instagram smartphone application.

  • we built a miniature UP-movie house (from paper and foam) attached to 80+ balloons filled with helium.

  • we embedded into the UP house an open source micro computer (Raspberry Pi) with its micro camera, a 3G key and a battery.

More than 400 photos were taken during the 5 flights we made in October above the Buttes-Chaumonts, close to Montmartre.

The UPstagram house - connected in 3G and flying at 300ft/90meters - automatically published the pictures on a dedicated Instagram account.

We kept the best 15 to showcase this project on their Instagram account. (http://instagram.com/hackerloop)

The Hackerloop team

Hackerloop is an innovation lab based in SF and Paris.

The team crafts experiences using open source and open hardware solutions.

This is their setup to bring their ideas to life and grow them into startups.

The team met in 2011 at Tactilize, a startup co-founded by Valentin Squirelo, where Arnaud Coomans and JH Chabran led the technical development.

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Videos and photos: Quentin Chevrier

Paris, October 2013

Thanks to the Artlab for hosting the project.

Thanks to Tom, Quentin, Etienne, Jason, Alex, Lucas, Flo, Aurélien & many friends for their support.


For all questions, please send us an email at [email protected]