Fall 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon Recap

Last weekend we celebrated our 12th hackNY Student Hackathon! Over 220 students, representing over 50 schools, journeyed to New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences to build projects for 24 hours. At our opening ceremony, we opened applications for our Summer 2016 hackNY Fellowship – apply now!

Hacks ranged from civic hacks using NYC Open Data to hilarious API mashups and adventurous hardware hacks. One team even worked with a Keurig machine hackNY donated to NYU years ago, fixing its mechanical problems and adding their own functionality. Throughout the hacking, 25 technical ambassadors from local startups and companies were there to mentor, debug, and help develop ideas. Volunteers from NYU’s ACM chapter as well as hackNY Fellowship alumNY made sure the event ran smoothly.

When our hackers weren’t coding, they had plenty to do. Our Ladies Storm Hackathons Meetup was a great success, including our traditional cupcake decorating and crazy LSH selfie! MLH organized a cup stacking competition. Several late night runs to NYC classics like Halal Guys were organized among hackers. To keep our energy up, we ate delicious tacos (and 4am nachos) from Five Tacos, sandwiches from Perfect Picnic and The Schnitz, and kolaches cooked on-site by the incredible Kings Kolache. Our midnight surprise was Insomnia Cookies plus mooncakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. 中秋節快樂!

Once hacking ended, our team of judges (meet them here and here) used their technical knowledge and startup experience to pick our Top 3 hacks and 7 special awards, 5 of which were completely new! Sponsors and community members also gave awards for API and hardware excellence, the best domain name, Rube-Goldberg-tasticness, and creativity with Unhackathon’s Springboard Projects. Check out our prizes below, and all the hacks on Devpost!

We’ll update this post, and our Flickr account, with more photos this week! Thank you again for a great event – we’ll see you in the spring at our next Student Hackathon!

Winners

Our Top 3 hacks get to present at one of the next New York Tech Meetup events!

First Place

Roam, an Android app for getting directions, checking the weather, and calling an Uber – all without using any of your phone’s data. Instead, it cleverly compresses the data used by each API so it can run on nothing but text messages!

First place winners, Roam!

Second Place

Informant, a Chrome extension designed to enhance YouTube videos. It links to more information on celebrities after identifying them with facial recognition, and performs sentiment analysis on the speakers’ tone and content, indicating the overall relationships expressed throughout a conversation.

Our 2nd Place winners, Informant!

Third Place

Project Horus aims to make language learning more natural, letting users learn new words by seeing pictures of them in context. Users can circle an object in a photo they take, and see it identified with the Clarifai API with several different translation options.

Our 3rd Place winners, Project Horus!
NYU Hackathon 2015 Date: 9/26/2015 AND 9/27/2015

The 8-Breaker

This award is given to an extremely creative hack that isn’t one of Tess Rinearson’s 8 Kinds of Projects You Meet at Hackathons.

Lights, Camera, Location displays movie filming locations on an interactive map. Users can view all the locations a movie was filmed at, or see what movies filmed near their current location.

Most Technically Impressive Hack 

This award is given to a hack with serious technical work on hardware or software, even if it isn’t flashy on the outside.  

Vizu is an augmented reality application that inserts 3D images into any scene. It is especially useful for educators, who can insert symbols that correspond to 3D models into any document and have Vizu display them when it recognizes them.

Best Hack Design

This award recognizes great visual design and UX. Judges look at user interface, graphics, and product design.

HackHub is a central hub where hackathon organizers can post information and announcements about their hackathons. Participants can view it without having to create accounts, and receive desktop notifications for important announcements.

Best Hack Using an NYC API 

Supporting the NYC Tech Community is very important to hackNY. This award goes to the best hack using a local startup’s API to do something awesome.

CoWork24 is a mobile app that allows users to create coworking spaces on the go by setting a location and inviting others to work in their shared environment.

Best Civic Tech Hack

This award was created by our judges during this Fall’s event! 

WaterNY uses inexpensive tools compatible with any smartphone to allow NYC residents to analyze their water for microscopic contaminants.

Best Hardware Hack 

Webapps don’t have all the fun. This award goes to the hack that best incorporates hardware.

After their first hack idea failed, the Keurig Machine team took apart an old and broken NYU Keurig coffee maker, fixed it, and created a hack that allows users to brew a cup of coffee with a simple gesture detected by a Myo armband.

Best First Hack 

This award recognizes technical and creative impressiveness of hacks by first-time hackathon participants, and their learning over the 24-hour hack.

NYC Vehicle Collision displays collision information from NYC Open Data in a visually striking and easy to read format. Users can sort by location and date to view information about incidents and their causes.

Community Prizes

These prizes are created by our sponsors and NYC tech community members.

Best Use of MongoDB

Encabulator, a webapp that maps the best place to hail a taxi – without machine learning.

Best PayPal Hack

PhoneWTF connnects two people over the phone without telling them who is calling, and then records the ensuing hilarious conversations in exchange for PayPal donations.

Most Rube-Goldberg-tastic Hack (Sponsored by Datto) 

The Keurig Machine gets a very simple job done with many complicated and technical steps, leading to hacktastic awesomeness.

Best Use of Twilio

Roam uses text messages instead of data to get directions, check the weather, and request Uber.

Most Creative Hack Starting from an Unhackathon Springboard Project

Draw Anything started from a simple Springboard Project designed to teach websocket programming, and developed into a fully-formed and cleanly designed webapp with multiplayer Pictionary-style gameplay and in-game chat.

Best Use of Presto 

Awkscape helps you escape from awkward conversations by calling your phone when you snap your fingers, detected by Presto’s gesture detection API on Android Wear.

Best Use of Pebble

Pebble Vote lets users easily rate places from their Pebble watch.

Best Use of AWS

Project Horus uses Clarifai, Yandex.translate, and AWS to power a photo identification and translation webapp.

Coolest Use of Domain.com

Domain.com chose Bruhzzfeed‘s bruhhh.co as the coolest domain of the day.

Meet the Fall 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon Judges, Part 2

hackNY’s Fall 2015 Student Hackathon is less than a week away! We are especially excited about the knowledgeable and influential judges we have lined up for the event. Read more about three of our judges here, and see our our previous blog post to meet the rest of the judging team.

Catt Small
Product Designer at SoundCloud and Independent Game Designer

Catt is an expert UX and product designer at SoundCloud. She develops games at Buttered Toast Studios and Brooklyn Gamery, teaches coding and game development with The Code Liberation Foundation; and speaks about the future of gaming and web design. She says, “Hackathons helped me grow tremendously as both a designer and developer. I hope to see lots of designers collaborating with people who have other skillsets to make amazing things!”
Christina Wallace
Founder of BridgeUp: STEM @ AMNH

Christina Wallace is the founding director of BridgeUp: STEM, a new educational initiative at the American Museum of Natural History with a mission to captivate, inspire, and propel girls and minorities into computer science. Previously Christina was the founding director of Startup Institute New York, the Founder and CEO of venture-backed fashion company Quincy Apparel, a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, and an arts manager at the Metropolitan Opera. She brings expertise in technology, education, and design to our judging panel. She says, “I’m thrilled to join the judging team for the hackNY hackathon — I’ve attended the demos for several years now and am continually impressed with and inspired by the projects that arise. Looking forward to seeing what the students create this year!
Minerva Tantoco
Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York

As NYC’s first-ever CTO, Tantoco directs the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation with responsibility for the development and implementation of a coordinated citywide strategy on technology and innovation and encouraging collaboration across agencies and with the wider New York City technology ecosystem. While still in college, Ms. Tantoco co-founded technology startup, Manageware Inc, which was successfully sold five years later. Since then, Ms. Tantoco has led emerging technology initiatives including artificial intelligence, e-commerce, virtualization, online marketing and mobile applications. She holds four US patents on intelligent workflow and is a speaker and author on mobile, security, big data, and innovation.

Thank you again to all our wonderful judges. We are so looking forward to this weekend!

Meet the Fall 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon Judges: Part 1

hackNY’s Fall 2015 Student Hackathon is coming up in less than three weeks, and we’re looking forward to our hackers experiencing the activities we have planned. We are especially excited about the knowledgeable and influential judges we have lined up for the event. Read more about three of our judges here, and meet the rest of our judges in Part 2!


Samantha John
Co-Founder of Hopscotch Technologies

While an engineer at Pivotal Labs, Samantha taught programming classes to beginners. She then co-founded Hopscotch, an iPad app that teaches kids to code by creating and sharing simple games. She spoke about her experience as a startup founder to our hackNY Fellows this summer as part of our Speakers Series. She says, “It’s an incredible honor to be chosen as a judge, I’ve been a big fan of HackNY since its inception. I just got an Amazon echo and I’m interested to see what kind of hacks people could do with their API.”

Whitney Green
Assistant Director and Director of Science Recruitment at Columbia University, and Former General Manager at hackNY

Whitney ran hackNY’s Fellowship and Hackathons for a year, so she brings valuable hackathon experience to the judging team. She is also the former President of Columbia Engineering Young Alumni. As a Campus Recruiter at PWC, she worked with college students from all over the country. Looking forward to her first time attending hackNY as a judge, she says “Yay!”
Yael Elmatad
Yael Elmatad
Data Scientist at Tapad

Yael works on Graph Problems related to building Tapad’s Device Graph. Before coming to Tapad, Yael was an Assistant Professor and researcher at NYU, working with high performance computing to study physical systems. She spoke to this summer’s hackNY Fellows about Tapad’s data science as part of our Speakers Series. She says, “I am very eager to meet more intelligent young computer scientists through hackNY and looking forward to seeing what creative solutions they have come up with.”

In our next post, we’ll introduce more of our judges – Catt Small, Christina Wallace, and more!