On Tuesday, May 3rd, three of the Spring 2016 hackNY Student Hackathon‘s winning teams presented at the New York Tech Meetup to a theater packed with local technologists. Accent, the first place winners, and Peer Wifi, the third place winners, were joined by Drone Regulator, winners of our traditional 8-breaker creativity prize.

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Claire Glendening and Jack Cook demoed their mobile app, Accent (formerly Interface), which helps language students learn outside the classroom by assisting them as they read news articles in their language of choice. Users can highlight words they don’t know to have them translated instantly and then added to Quizlet for future study. Accent is now available on the App Store!

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Andy Yu, Md Islam, and Minh Tuan Tran demoed their mobile app, Peer Wifi, which allows users to sell their excess mobile data to others by letting them connect to their mobile hotspots. Users selling their data set prices for usage time and data caps, and users in the vicinity can pay with Paypal or a credit card to connect. The audience laughed and cheered when they demonstrated their live demo had worked by loading a cat video compilation.

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Sean Bae and Colin King took a bus all the way from Maryland to present their hack, Drone Regulator. They realized that new technology often moves much faster than the law and wanted to provide an easy way for drone operators to follow all FAA regulations without any extra effort. Their web-based drone navigator app displays regulatory information, drone status, and environmental conditions along with a first-person camera view.

After demos, the presenters headed to the afterparty, where they had supporters coming up to talk to them about their projects and future plans all night.

Congratulations again to all the presenters! We will add NYTM’s official video and photos of the demos as they become available.

Last weekend we celebrated the 13th hackNY Student Hackathon with a record number of student hackers from all over the East Coast. Over 260 students hacked on projects over 24 hours, building webapps, games, and hardware hacks. They represented 50 different universities, and many joined with students from several other schools to form their teams.  We were extremely impressed by the quality of the hacks built – nearly half our hackers were attending their first hackathon!

Employees from NYC startups came to present their APIs to the students and mentor them throughout the weekend, including Buzzfeed, MongoDB, Foursquare, Clarifai and Giphy. Hacks included both useful and funny webapps, simulations and educational material using civic data, a hilarious but politically relevant game, and innovative hardware hacks using drones, Oculus Rifts and Arduinos. When they needed a break from hacking, hackers attended a workshop on APIs for new hackers, coding competitions with MLH, and our traditional Ladies Storm Hackathons meetup. At the LSH meetup, 30 women hackers enjoyed sharing their experiences and finding common interests while decorating cupcakes. We also introduced hackers to some of the best of New York’s food, like Halal Guys chicken and rice, Otto’s Tacos, Schnitz Sandwiches, Insomnia Cookies and Joe’s Pizza. The Kings Kolache team spent breakfast with us, heating up their famous kolaches on the spot so everyone had something hot and delicious to fuel their last hours of hacking.

We had over 50 teams demo their hacks to our team of judges, which included developers, entrepreneurs, and the CTO of the City of New York! You can learn more about our 5 inspiring judges in last week’s blog post. Thank you to our judges, local Technical Ambassadors who mentored our hackers, and volunteers who truly made our event possible. Thank you also to our sponsors: Quotidian Ventures, MongoDB, eBay, Datto, Capital One, Andreessen Horowitz, and Twilio!

In the media: NYC Tech Wizards Convene for hackNY’s Spring 2016 Event

View photos from the Spring 2016 hackNY Student Hackathon on Flickr.

Here are the winners of our 9 prizes. Check out Devpost for all the submissions, video stream of the event, winners of sponsor prizes and more. Later this week, we’ll update this post with photos from the hackathon.

HackNY
1st Place:
Interface
Optimizing the language learning experience through foreign language comprehension and accessible vocabulary.

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2nd Place: Toast Printer
An image of any size is scaled to fit on bread and is toasted onto it.

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3rd Place: Peer Wifi

This application provide a platform for the users to sell mobile data, and allows other users to buy.

Our top 3 hacks will go on to present at the New York Tech Meetup

Best First Hack: BunnyBot
A stuffed bunny that uses an Arduino Uno, two touch sensors, one buzzer, and one LCD backlight to sing, purr, and display messages.

The 8-Breaker: Drone Regulator
Fly your drone with a PS4 controller while never breaking drone laws.

Most Technically Impressive Hack: Adaptive Wireless Mesh-Networking
Mesh-Networks allow for advanced adaptive reconfiguration. Possible uses include Smart Cities, Transportation and more.

Best Hack Design: YUGE!
Donald Trump is building a wall, and it’s up to you to stop him! Win as many points as possible before it’s built!

Best Hardware Hack: Tin Cam
A minty, cheap, discreet, cloud-connceted camera that aims to end police brutality and the dangers of walking alone.

Best Hack Using an NYC Startup’s API: Pictorious
Like a race through wikipedia pages in search of some “thing”, but with gifs instead.

Best NYC Inspiration: PillowBrawl

Best use of MongoDB (Sponsored by MongoDB): Hyperios

Best Use of Capital One’s API (Sponsored by Capital One): Make or Break

Best PHP Hack (Sponsored by Datto): CraveSpot

Best use of Twilio (Sponsored by Twilio): RemindMe, DialVG, Pranker

Best Use of Amazon Web Services (Sponsored by AWS): Urban H20

Best Domain Name (Sponsored by Domain.com): Just Bike

Best Developer Tool (Sponsored by Github): Station Location

More than 30 women hackers attended the traditional Ladies Storm Hackathons meetup to share stories and interests, and decorate cupcakes. Photo: Hanne Paine

Hackers worked through the night to build sophisticated webapps, games, utilities, and hardware projects. Photo: MLH

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The Toast Printer slowly comes together from parts. Photo: MLH

View more photos from the Spring 2016 hackNY Student Hackathon on Flickr!

hackNY’s Spring 2016 Student Hackathon is just over a week away! We’ve lined up a team of judges with expertise in programming, design, and entrepreneurship to pick the best hacks. Check out the list of prizes we will be awarding on Devpost.

Minerva Tantoco
Chief Technology Officer, 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.
Stacey Mulcahy
Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
Stacey Mulcahy is a technical evangelist with Microsoft. Prior, she was the Lead Developer working with a variety of technologies at Big Spaceship, a digital agency based out of Brooklyn, NY. She has worked at Teknision and Fuel Industries in Ottawa, Canada, and IQ Interactive in Atlanta in a variety of technical roles. A technical editor and instructor, Stacey enjoys sharing her love for her work in interactive development. She considers her lack of verbal filter and extreme candor just a small part of her charm. She runs Young Game Makers – a program to inspire kids to love code through game making. She says, “hackNY hackathons always have some of the most polished and curious projects, judging is always so much fun.”
Yael Elmatad
Senior Data Scientist, 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 last 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.”
Renee DiResta
VP Business Development, Haven
Renee DiResta is the Vice President of Business Development at Haven, a startup in San Francisco that is creating an automated platform for freight procurement. She is an angel investor and adviser to hardware startups and was previous a VC at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and a trader at Jane Street Capital. Her book, The Hardware Startup, was recently published by O’Reilly Media. She says,  “Participating in hackathons has been one of my favorite ways to meet and learn from new people. I can’t wait to see the exciting projects created by the hackNY participants.”
Courteney Ervin
Developer, New York Public Library
Courteney Ervin works in the space where open source meets social good. She’s a developer at the New York Public Library, where she supports accessible literacy in the city and beyond. “I love seeing what people create when they care passionately about the problems they’re solving.”
Allie Diracles
Co-Founder and CEO, Vidcode

Alexandra Diracles started her career as a photographer and business owner. She studied computer programming in graduate school and fell in love with the creative potential of code. Since then she has made it her mission at Vidcode to create tools that help teen girls find their path and passion to code. “The power to build your own products, tools and businesses with code is huge. I can’t wait to see what the hackNY hackers have created.”

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

On Friday, March 4th, we celebrated 6 years of the hackNY Fellows Program with our annual reunion. Our AlumNY got to hang out at Tumblr‘s beautiful NYC headquarters and reconnect with their friends over dinner and music. We listened to talks by two great technologists and artists, Tega Brain and David Scheinkopf, who told us about their recent work and inspired us to see tech, art, and education in new ways.

Here are some photos from the event!

AlumNY sit with their friends after dinner, listening to talks by local technologists and artists.

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Welcome to our AlumNY Spotlight blog series! This winter, we’re be profiling some hackNY AlumNY who have continued to do great things at the startup where they spent their hackNY Fellowship summer. In our last post, Lisa Luo (hackNY ’14) told us all about her experience building an Android team at Kickstarter – check it out.

In this post we interview Evan Casey (Class of 2014), who interned at Tapad on the Data Team.  In Evan’s words, “Tapad is a marketing technology company that uses algorithms to analyze internet and device data and predict whether two or more devices are owned by the same person.” You may have heard about Tapad recently – the innovative startup is being acquired by Telenor, a multinational telecom company. Evan learned a lot as a hackNY Fellow and helped contribute a major feature to his team’s product. After his hackNY summer ended, Evan was offered a full time job on the Platform team. Eun Woo Song, Director of Engineering at Tapad, says, “Not only does Evan have a great personality and work ethic but his educational background, big data skill set and deep understanding of computer science principles make him a great addition to the team.”

Evan (right) with Tapad engineers Eun Woo Song and Jesse Zhang at a company happy hour

What are you up to at Tapad these days?

I am currently a software engineer on the Platform team, working on data infrastructure. Usually this involves writing batch ETL jobs in MapReduce to import and export data out of various databases we use (Aerospike, Elasticsearch, Vertica), working on our Kafka based data ingest stack, and building new infrastructure to power data applications for our vertical teams.

Recently, I’ve been hacking a lot on Spark and Impala as part of a project to prototype our next-gen analytics stack. It’s been a ton of fun working with Spark in particular, since it’s right at the tipping point of mass adoption and the project is progressing insanely fast. In the past, I built our forecasting delivery prediction engine on top of ElasticSearch which our sales and account teams use to forecast ad campaign delivery.

What did you work on when you were a hackNY Fellow there?

As an intern, I joined the Data team at Tapad and helped ship the first version of Audience Amplify, a new file format for our cross device data that is centered around audiences instead of clusters of device/cookie ids. Audience Amplify turned out to be a huge success, and it was really fun to be a part of a product that grew from idea to generating millions in yearly revenue. I learned a ton about Scala, building data pipelines, and working on an Agile team.

What was your favorite part of being a hackNY Fellow?

It’s hard to pick one specific thing, but the community is by far the best part of HackNY. I met some of my best friends in NYC through HackNY. During the fellowship, if I had an idea of something I wanted to hack on, I could find someone to work with on it pretty much whenever. I loved that. The collective knowledge of 30+ HackNY fellows in one dorm is truly immense. I learned a ton of things outside my specific areas of focus just by talking to other fellows.

The speaker series was also awesome. In specific, I loved hearing the talks from the Branch founders (Hursh and Cemre), Samantha John of Hopscotch, and the Codeacademy founders (Ryan and Zach). I left the fellowship basically just super inspired from hearing their stories.

Evan and Oleksii Iepishkin, another Tapad engineer, at Spark Summit

How has your company grown or changed since your hackNY summer?

Tapad has doubled in headcount since I joined, so there’s been a lot of change organizationally. With that amount of growth, more structure and internal processes have been added to keep everything running smoothly. In February of 2016 we were acquired by Telenor. It’s an exciting feeling to be acquired and I think the entire team feels really proud of what we built.

What did you learn as a hackNY Fellow, and what have you learned since then?

Tapad’s backend systems are written entirely in Scala, so I had to ramp up pretty quickly on Scala and functional programming as an intern. We use the Twitter libraries (Scalding, Algebird) extensively for writing MapReduce jobs which use a bunch of concepts from category theory and abstract algebra. The relationship between monoids and monads and large scale data analytics is really interesting and it’s a cool example of bringing highly theoretical ideas into core production systems. After HackNY, I started working on some of the larger, low latency, high QPS systems at Tapad. By necessity, I picked up some dev ops skills and learned a lot about verifying correctness through testing and monitoring.

Evan skating at a spot in Williamsburg

What do you enjoy doing away from the keyboard?

Skateboarding, music, film photography, travel.

Despite the harsh winter weather in NYC, I’ve been getting a few sessions here and there at the new Nike skatepark in Williamsburg. In the summer I usually skate LES a lot. I recently got an old school Canon AE-1 camera so I’ve been having fun shooting around the city and when I’m traveling. Music-wise I’ve been listening to a lot of psych/indie rock and electronic lately. Older stuff like Radiohead and newer stuff like Jamie xx.

Do you have any advice for the hackers who want to apply to be hackNY Fellows?

Make lots of side projects and submit a portfolio! Work on stuff outside of class and find other people to hack on stuff with. More than anything, HackNY is looking for people who love to build.

Welcome to our AlumNY Spotlight blog series! This winter, we’ll be profiling some hackNY AlumNY who have continued to do great things at the startup where they spent their hackNY Fellowship summer. In our last post, JS Tan (hackNY ’14) told us about starting a creative agency with his friends and going viral with speculative marketing – check it out.

In this post we interview Lisa Luo (Class of 2014), who interned at Kickstarter and has since impacted several important teams there. Lisa’s mentor, Dan, is impressed with her work as a Fellow and as a leader on the Android team. “Lisa‘s quickly become an important part of the Kickstarter family. During her summer here, Lisa helped build our site’s internal permission system which has evolved into a fundamental part of our application. After her exemplary work, she was invited back over her winter break, and was offered a job starting this past June, after her graduation. She’s now a core member of the team working on the Kickstarter Android app. In addition to cranking out Java, Lisa can be found hanging tote bags on lamps to ‘create the right mood’ at her desk, and creating Slack icons for all of her team members.”

Lisa at her desk at Kickstarter.

What are you up to at Kickstarter these days?

I am currently a junior android engineer on the native team (2 iOS and 2 android engineers including myself), working on our first android release. Since we’re currently building the app from ground-up, I work on building and fixing whatever we need to build and fix!

What did you work on when you were a hackNY Fellow there?

When I was an intern, I was a back end ruby/rails developer. I spent the beginning of my summer actually learning more in-depth rails and how to develop with a professional team. By the end of the summer, I shipped a simple admin roles and permissions internal tool that assigned roles which filtered admin permissions on the admin side of our website. After that I tinkered around with some android prototyping, inspired by some scratch work I did during a company hack day.

Lisa presenting a demo at Music Hack Day in 2014.

What was your favorite part of being a hackNY Fellow?

My favorite part was waking up every morning and not always knowing what I would be doing for the day: after work I often Google-mapped my way to a cool office somewhere in NYC for our HackNY Speakers Series event, where I listened to and chatted with some of the most influential New York tech figures. I also loved living with and getting to know my brilliant HackNY companions, many of whom I consider great friends today. Having the opportunity to spend time with influential people who shared my interests in technology, whether they be CEOs or dorm mates, really motivated and inspired me to explore my potential as a coder and creator.

How has your company grown or changed since your hackNY summer?

Kickstarter has changed quite a bit in the past year. The engineering team itself has nearly doubled in size, the company as a whole growing by about a third. This calls for a little more company structure, i.e. specifiying teams, rearranging the office, etc, but the supportive, open, and brilliant culture remains the same. I find it exciting to work with and know a variety of people with colorful backgrounds.

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What did you learn as a hackNY Fellow, and what have you learned since then?

As a hackNY Fellow I learned quite a bit of rails on the job and how to git like a pro. Since then, besides all of the philosophical self-learning through life and growing up, I’ve picked up a little bit of Swift through SpriteKit game development and have started to learn reactive programming paradigms through RxJava. In my last year of undergrad I learned a fair bit about computational fabrication (e.g. 3D printing), which was cool, and how to make cameraless films.

What do you enjoy doing away from the keyboard?

In a list, I like making films, traveling, collecting things, running, drawing, writing, wandering around New York, and surprisingly, cooking.

I’ve been into making weird little films and animations since I was a kid and have been in the process of putting together a short film based on my family and travels in China in 2013. I’m a music enthusiast who plays guitar, bass, and Chinese hammered dulcimer, have been to at least 20 concerts so far this year, and have a budding record collection ranging from Motown to Mac Demarco. I think I’m also a compulsive collector; I’m currently in a phase of collecting business cards because I love the quirks in their designs. Staying fit keeps me sane, running long distances clears my mind, as much so as writing, which I regrettably have much less time to do these days. Finally, I am surprised by my enjoyment in cooking because I believe that is my first step of accepting adult life.

TL;DR I love the keyboard, but I enjoy doing many things away from the keyboard.

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Applications for the Class of 2016 hackNY Fellows are now open. Do you have any advice for the hackers who are applying?

When I applied to hackNY for the Class of 2014, I thought there was no way I would get accepted. But I did, and quickly learned that I was silly to have so much self-doubt at that point. I say, believe in yourself and be confident, but most importantly, be thoughtful in writing your essays and expressing yourself — your written words are pretty much the one window we have as reviewers to get to know who you are, behind your Github stats and LinkedIn skills and tweets and whatnot. If you’re worried about your code, experience, or projects, just be genuine about sharing something you care about!

Today we’re featuring a guest post by JS Tan (hackNY ’14). Along with two classmates, he founded Hello Velocity, a creative agency in New York. In this post he shares the story of Hello Velocity’s founding, some of their strangest and most exciting work, and what he’s learned about art, viral marketing, and working on a team. 

My name is JS and I was part of hackNY 2014, where I interned with Buzzfeed! I graduated this past May from the Brown+RISD Dual Degree program where I studied Computer Science at Brown and Furniture Design at RISD. After graduating, I founded Hello Velocity, a digital marketing agency X creative studio, with my classmates, Lukas and Kevin. We’ve been working out of NewInc, the New Museum’s incubator since September.

Being a part of hackNY was an invaluable experience. It not only provided me with the technical competency and confidence to take on any of our projects, but also exposed me to a community of talented and incredibly generous people. Coming into hackNY, I didn’t expect the community to interested in the kind of work I, as part of Hello Velocity, was doing – making marketing campaigns for celebrity meat (bitelabs.org), trying to buy McDonald franchises to put in churches (mcmass.com), making fake Chinese artists for political commentary (godplayground.com). But my hackNY class flipped those expectations; throughout that summer, I ended up having many fun and useful conversations about each project.

BiteLabs' homepage looks surprisingly believable.

Hello Velocity began in 2014 with the creation of a project: Bitelabs, a satirical marketing campaign advertising meat grown from celebrity tissue samples and made into artisanal salami. At that time, the three of us, Lukas Bentel, Kevin Wiesner and I were still 4th year students in the Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program. Having already collaborated on many art projects, from making large scale installations to building in-browser art games, we already had years of experience working with each other. But unlike those other projects, we knew Bitelabs was different.

Within 2 weeks of launching the campaign, we were tweeted about tens of thousands of times and had been picked up by Wired, Vice, LA Times, Huffington Post, USA Today and many other international publications. We even got written about in the hardcopy of Time Magazine. Shortly after the campaign, we created “Hi Sorry We Died”, an anonymous art collective who would claim Bitelabs, which would eventually grow up to become Hello Velocity.

What began as an art project about celebrity culture in the social age led us to larger question that we spent our final year of school trying to answer: how do ideas spread in the social age? After Bitelabs, we went on to create The McMass Project, an indiegogo campaign with the goal of raising 1 million dollars to buy a McDonalds franchise to put into a church, as well as Genecoin, a startup that wanted to store customer DNA into the bitcoin blockchain. Like Bitelabs, both these projects went viral.

JS with the Class of 2014 hackNY Fellows. His internship at Buzzfeed helped him something something

In the midst of these projects, I had joined hackNY 2014 and been paired with Buzzfeed. Aside from having a wonderful experience as a software engineer and a fantastic mentor at Buzzfeed, I was also immersed in an environment obsessed with the mechanics of sharability, and discovered that it was a great space for me to explore how ideas spread in the social age. By the end of that summer, the hacker-centric environment of hackNY had given me the confidence to be the technical spine for Hello Velocity, and Buzzfeed’s sensibility for sharable content had became part of Hello Velocity’s everyday practice.

Today Hello Velocity works out of NEWINC on 231 Bowery, an art incubator hosted by the New Museum. We spend half our time doing client work, creating brand identities and marketing campaigns for customers. And we spend the rest of our time developing our own research projects, where our topic of research has shifted from how ideas spread in the social age to more specifically how do brands command identity in the social age.

The Hello Velocity team at BYU, where they were invited to speak about digital marketing.

In February of 2015, we were invited to Brigham Young University, Utah, to give a lecture in a bio-tech entrepreneurial seminar series about bringing emerging technologies into the media’s attention and the power of the speculative image.

Having only graduated 6 months ago, we’re still trying to figure out what it means to run our own digital marketing agency / creative studio. We’ve grown from a small group of 3, to a slightly bigger team of 5, and do projects that range anywhere from developing toilet seats to web services. In the coming year, we plan on working with bigger and more exciting clients, as well as working more closely with startups.

Five years down the road, I think Hello Velocity will be completely different. I think that my founding partners and I will continue to challenge what it means to be working as a creative business, and will continue to explore how brands exist an increasingly social world. I’ve also been thinking about what it means for Hello Velocity to scale – but unlike software startups that typically have a user base, there isn’t a clear model for how digital marketing startups or creative studios should grow. Do we scale out by get more customers and hiring more people? Or do we scale up by becoming more selective and charging higher premiums? No matter which it is, I’m sure Hello Velocity will continue to grow.

Two winning teams from the Fall 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon presented their projects at the November New York Tech Meetup this Tuesday. Team Roam, our First Place winners, and team Lights, Camera, Location, winners of the 8-Breaker creativity prize, demoed as smoothly and impressively as the startups on the program. After their demos, they answered questions from the audience about their technical processes and plans for the future.

Here’s a full video of the NYTM demo lineup. Skip to 47:08 for the hackNY demos! You can also view all the photos from the night on NYTM’s Facebook page here.

Team Roam, winner of First Prize at the Fall 2015 hackNY hackathon, and team Lights, Camera, Location, winner of the 8-Breaker prize, getting ready to present at NYTM.

Team Roam, winner of First Prize at the Fall 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon, and team Lights, Camera, Location, winner of the 8-Breaker prize, getting ready to present at NYTM.

Roam, a team of Stony Brook students Amit Bapat, Bethann Polinsky, Philippe Kimura-Thollander, and Varun Sayal (Bethann wan’t able to attend the meetup), impressed us at the hackathon with their Android app that allows users to get directions, check the weather, and call an Uber all without using phone data or wifi. Their polished app hides the details of interacting with APIs using SMS, and presents data beautifully and naturally.

Roam preparing to present their app.

Lights, Camera, Location’s team, Alina Lalji and Zain Hemani of the University of Western Ontario, flew all the way from Toronto to present their hack. Their app scrapes internet databases all over the Web to provide filming location data for any movie you search – all in under 9 seconds. The NYTM audience especially enjoyed their visualization of NYC filming locations.

Photo credit: Craig Williston of QoolFoto / qoolfoto.com

Photo credit: Craig Williston of QoolFoto / qoolfoto.com

After the demos and Q&A, the hackers attended the NYTM afterparty where they talked with attendees about their projects with cake and swag. Many of their visitors had to ask again how long they’d spent on the projects, barely able to believe that they’d completed so much in 24 hours! We are very proud of our hackers, and hope to see them again at future hackNY events.

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Welcome to our AlumNY Spotlight blog series! This November, we’ll be profiling some hackNY AlumNY who have continued to do great things at the startup where they spent their hackNY Fellows summer.

In this post we interview Emmett Butler (Class of 2012), who worked at Parse.ly as a hackNY Fellow and has helped it grow into one of NYC’s hottest startups. Parse.ly provides an analytics platform for digital publishers, helping them to act on audience insights with a data-driven approach. Emmett is a great contributor to open source projects, and develops games when he’s not working. He also has great advice for applicants to our incoming hackNY class!

Emmett at his home workstation, where he works remotely as a software engineer at Parse.ly

Emmett at his home workstation, where he works remotely as a software engineer at Parse.ly

Read more…

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.