Spring 2018 Student Hackathon Recap

hackNY returned to NYU on April 7th and 8th for our 17th Student Hackathon! A group of over 200 dedicated students produced some of the best hacks we’ve ever seen. We noticed an extra focus on social good this season, with hacks to protect schools from guns, make online communities safer, bring education to those without resources, and help the world be more accessible to those with disabilities. For a couple of the winning teams, their members came solo and found their new teams and friends at the hackathon. That’s what we love to see!

The Spring 2016 hackers represented over 70 universities, with students coming from as far away as Chicago and Florida to work on projects. Check out all 36 awesome hacks on Devpost!

Hackers learned about APIs and Blockchain technology in workshops taught by hackNY Fellows Sam Agnew of Twilio and Calvin Chan of Airswap.io, and laughed at the improvisational skills of Slideshow Karaoke participants, put on by MLH. Meals and snacks were plentiful throughout the weekend, with hackers enjoying italian, thai, Kings Kolaches, Veselka and Insomnia Cookies, among others.

Our traditional Ladies Storm Hackathons meetup was as fulfilling as always, with women gathering to relax and share their experiences. They discovered many similarities, like the struggle to find mentors, interest in studying abroad, and ideas about integrating interdisciplinary skills into their technology careers. They discussed some of the most difficult issues facing women in the world of technology. At the end, the LSH hackers left with a sense of solidarity, new friends and mentors, and (of course) cupcakes!

After a series of impressive demos, a panel of experts judged the hacks and determined our amazing winners.

First Place: Myo Piano
These hackers used a Myo armband and machine learning to allow users to play a virtual piano. This was their first experience with iOS development, and we were tremendously impressed with their learning in just 24 hours!

 

Second Place: DigiCane
This team took an important goal for the world – equal accessibility to navigation in Google Maps – and interviewed real users to determine how to help them best. They created an Android app that combines navigation with obstacle detection, alerting users with voice alerts and vibrations.

 

Third Place: Vizy
Recognizing that the visa interview process can be confusing and stressful, these hackers created a virtual interview system that guides users through practice interviews and gives them useful feedback based on an extensive dataset. Unfortunately, they had to leave early from the ceremony and we couldn’t get their photo.

 

Best First Hack: TxtEd
After noticing that students at impoverished schools in South Africa had access to phones, but not textbooks, this team made their very first hack about bringing education to everyone. They created a system to provide educational material and quiz students through only text messages, allowing teachers and parents to track students’ progress and adapt material as students learn.

 

Best Social Good Hack: SafeDetect
This team used Clarifai’s image detection API to identify guns in images, and Twilio’s API to text people in the vicinity, warning them of possible danger. They hope technology like this can save people from shootings in public places. This team was also at their first hackathon!

 

Best Hack using an NYC API: RatatouAI
This virtual rat uses the Clarifai API to detect the foods users have available and suggest recipes they can make. Next steps for this team include adding features like customizable nutrition content.

 

Most Fun Hack: Twitch Plays: Horror House
These hackers took the crowdsourced virtual fun of Twitch and brought it into the real world, allowing Twitch users to create experiences in an actual haunted house. They also made an excellent haunted house model to show off their hack!

 

Most Technical Hack: redditBotAnalysis
Bots posing as real users on social media can artificially influence public perception. To combat this, this team worked with the Reddit API, machine learning, and the Levenshtein distance algorithm to determine the overall likelihood of a thread being overrun with bots.

 

Best Hardware Hack: FriendAR
Using HoloLens and the Microsoft Face API, this team created an augmented reality system allowing users to identify the people around them by looking at their faces, providing social media information and the opportunity to chat via text.

 

Best Use of Twilio API: Infinite Loop Thingamajig Supply Inc.

Best Use of GIPHY API: HandyCamDogs & Cats

Best Use of Amazon Web Services: FriendAR

Best Use of MongoDB, Atlas, or Stitch: TxtEd

Best Domain Name Registered With Domain.com: Twitch Plays: Horror House

Many thanks again to our judges, volunteers, and of course our sponsors: Twilio, GIPHY, AirSwap, The New York Times, MongoDB, HistoWiz, Clarifai, David Aronoff, Bloomberg, Foursquare, and Insomnia Cookies.

Fall 2017 Hackathon Recap

This past weekend saw our Fall 2017 hackathon, hackNY’s 16th hackathon, return to Columbia University. For 24 hours from Saturday into Sunday, over 240 hackers from nearly 50 different colleges built apps to help you fight procrastination, hacked hardware to help save energy, made memes more accessible, and questioned the correct pronunciation of “gif” (it’s definitely with a hard G). Over 40 enthusiastic teams presented their 90 second demos to the judges and audiences and showed just how creative, determined and innovative they could be.

We started the weekend off with technology presentations from NYC companies Clarifai, Giphy, ProPublica, NYTimes, Foursquare, Buzzfeed, Twilio during opening ceremonies. Once hackers got started, we invited them to workshops such as Jessica Garson’s “APIs 101”, Anthony Johnson’s “Deep Learning Based Search Engine”, and Natarajan Krishnaswami’s “Tour of US Census Data”.

Jessica's Workshop
APIs 101 Workshop with Jessica Garson

During a super successful Ladies Storm Hackathons Meetup, our very own Hanne Paine (h’14) helped our women hackers savor their accomplishments with brownies and an “I can” poster they all contributed to!

LSH Meetup
Another great Ladies Storm Hackathon Meetup

Our hackers ate delicious food from Otto’s Tacos, Inday, Insomnia Cookies, Schnitz, Kings Kolache, and Vanessa’s Dumplings. GIPHY brought their super fun Giphy Frame to take GIFs of the hackers in motion.

IMG_9822
Hackers in VR

Thank you to our awesome judges: Becky Case, Courteney Ervin, Deborah Estrin, Jacqueline Garavente, Shani Offen, and Stephanie Yang for giving us their time and insight. And a big thank you to our awesome sponsors and partners a16z, BuzzFeed, Datto, Spotify, Giphy, The New York Times, MongoDB, Codecademy, Kickstarter, Microsoft Research, Twilio, Clarifai, Flybridge, Insomnia Cookies, Columbia Engineering and the awesome ADI student group there, and MLH for supporting the NYC tech community and the next generation of hackers.

First Place
First Place team BodyID with judge Becky Case and MLH’s Mike Swift

First PlaceBodyID

Second PlaceDeluminator

Third PlaceRemembrance

Best Social Good HackOcean Cleanup

Most TechnicalTraeC

Best Hack DesignMapping the Times

Best Accessibility HackWhere’s My Bus

Best Hack Using an NYC APIEmergency

Best First HackGrab It by the Giphy

Most Likely to Go Viral (sponsored by Giphy)Grab It by the Giphy

Most Likely to Go Viral (sponsored by Giphy)Feel Your Gif

Best Use of Encryption (sponsored by Datto)Anxiety Bot

Best Use of TwilioTalk Me-me 2 me

Best Domain Name from Domain.comGifMe

Best IOT Hack Using a Qualcomm DeviceLionBike

Best Use of AWSRemora

Honorable MentionTalk Me-me 2 me

[Photos by Libby Grace – View more photos on the hackNY Facebook group]

Announcing the Class of 2017 hackNY Fellows!

Meet the Class of 2017: This Fellowship of 28 students comes from 25 universities, spread over 3 countries and 3 continents! Our Fellows are interning at 22 different New York City startups this summer and learning everything they can about New York’s tech scene. They are an impressive, diverse group, with great tech skills and strong ideas about the future of our industry. Thanks to the generosity of a varied community of supporters, the Fellows program includes community-style housing in Union Square as well as a series of pedagogical lectures introducing the hackNY Fellows to founders, investors, journalists, technologists, and all-around leaders from the NYC startup community. Fellows will be sharing their unique skills with the group by hosting workshops – from neural networks to origami and unicycling to various dance styles! Alumni from the program return to mentor the Fellows during the summer, helping them navigate their new internships, New York City and life in general. This year the Fellows will also be working on several social good projects that use their various backgrounds and technology skills to help others. We are so excited the Class of 2017 is joining our community!

Since 2010, hackNY has partnered with over 100 host startups to host over 200 hackNY Fellows. This year, our 28 Fellows will be hosted by 22 exciting startups. We look forward to continuing the long partnerships hackNY has had with many host startups, and we are also excited to be working with 10 of our host startups for the first time. View all the host startups we’ve worked with and more program details on our Fellows site.

Announcing Demo Night 2017: An evening of demos and celebration will take place Friday, August 4th. This event commemorates the end of the summer and is a chance for the Fellows to show off the summer projects they worked on, both professionally and personally. Demo Night is open to the tech community, and RSVPs and more information will be coming soon.

Adisa Malik
Yale University

Andrea Dean
Lewis & Clark College

Annie Zhang
Columbia University

Bethany Davis
University of Pennsylvania

Christina Zhu
UC Davis

Cynthia Zhou
MIT

Denis Kazakov
University of Colorado, Boulder

Derek Tsui
Stanford University

Diana Navarro
Rutgers University

Doug Rudolph
Rutgers University

Ekua Awotwi
Stanford University

Franky Liang
University of Florida

Gustavo Poscidonio
Stony Brook University

Heman Gandhi
Rutgers University

Hugh Han
Johns Hopkins University

Jacob Aronoff
Northeastern University

Jun Woo Shin
New York University

Kush Maheshwari
University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign

Marley Alford
Bard College

Melanie Sawyer
Columbia University

Norman Mu
UC Berkeley

Reid Horton
Stony Brook University

Samantha Ong
Wesleyan University

SaraAnn Stanway
Rutgers University

Sean Zhang
Boston University

Shelly Bensal
Carnegie Mellon University

Suzanne Wang
Wellesley College

William Held
NYU, Abu Dhabi

Announcing the Spring 2017 hackNY Student Hackathon Judges

With our spring 2017 student hackathon only a week away, we’re excited to announce the judges who will dole out prizes to the best hacks! Check out the full list of prizes on Devpost!



Anne Bauer
Senior Data Scientist at The New York Times


About hackNY:
“I am excited to see what problems the HackNY hackers will attack, and how they will create new solutions!”

Anne Bauer
Anne is a senior data scientist at the New York Times, where she builds models and data products to interpret and act on the company’s data with a variety of groups including marketing, print circulation, and the newsroom.


Before becoming a data scientist she was an astrophysics and cosmology postdoc in Barcelona and Munich, and received her Ph.D. in physics from Yale. She enjoys building systems to turn intractable amounts of data into usable insights.



Jenn Schiffer Jenn Schiffer
Community Glitch Engineer at Fog Creek


About hackNY:
“I’m always excited about tech communities that recognize a need in the overall industry and turn their focus to it–in the case of HackNY that’s civic tech. It’s time for technologists to help others more and be celebrated for it, and I look forward to witnessing that first-hand.”

Jenn works on Fog Creeks latest product, Glitch, an in-browser IDE with a focus on inclusive community, ethical tech, and creativity. Along with making art and jokes and apps, she runs the meetup JerseyScript in Jersey City and co-emcees/organizes Brooklyn JS. She has never swum across an entire river but she could probably do it easily.



Robyn Burgess
Conversion Director at BounceX
Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Runaway Apricot


About hackNY:
“I love how resourceful hackathons force participants to become. The skills to overcome the time crunch and manage clashing personalities on a team are as invaluable to life in business as the creative problem solving inherent in hackathon challenges.”

Robyn Burgess
As a Conversion Director at Bounce Exchange, Robyn turns website visitors into customers for a portfolio of clients by tailoring websites to user behavior. Previously Robyn was a Client Relationship Manager at Experian Marketing Services, where she developed strategic cross-channel marketing solutions across the entire spectrum of the customer life cycle.


Robyn’s growing expertise in all facets of digital marketing is joined with a lifelong passion to explore the question: Why do we eat the way we do? As an Anthropology major at Columbia University, Robyn founded Runaway Apricot, a food blog committed to teaching people the skills to be better cooks and the resources to be more enlightened consumers. Her essays and recipes for local, seasonal and healthy cooking from scratch now reach over a million readers per year.


Runa Sandvik Runa Sandvik
Director of Information Security,
Newsroom at the New York Times


About hackNY:
“Hackathons are a great place to experiment, be creative, learn new things, and meet people who are passionate about what they do.”
Runa is a privacy and security researcher, working at the intersection of technology, law and policy. When she is not hacking rifles or writing articles for Forbes, she teaches digital security to journalists and helps media organizations improve their security posture.


Runa loves to travel and has spoken at numerous conferences around the world. She is a former developer with The Tor Project, a technical advisor to the Freedom of the Press Foundation and a member of the review board for Black Hat Europe. She tweets as @runasand.


Tracy Chou
Founding Team Member at Project Incude


About hackNY:
“I love that hackathons are all about the ethos of creativity and creation with code; can’t wait to see what people build!”

Tracy Chou
Tracy is co-founder and CTO of Elucd, a new startup that measures and quantifies community sentiment to enable data-driven management of public sector institutions. She is also a co-founder of the Arena Summit and Project Include.


Previously, Tracy has been a tech lead and software engineer at Pinterest, Quora, and the U.S. Digital Service. Tracy is most well-known for her work pushing for diversity in tech; she was named to the Forbes Tech 30 under 30 list in 2014 and has been profiled in Vogue, WIRED, The Atlantic, and other outlets for her advocacy. She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Thank you again to all our wonderful judges. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone (and their hacks!) next weekend!



To see who else has judged for hackNY, take a look at our hackathon judges from Fall 2016, Spring 2016, and Fall 2015 (part 1 and part 2)

hackNY presents: the Fall 2016 Student Hackathon Judges

Our fall student hackathon is less than a week away and we couldn’t wait to share the news! We’re excited to introduce our fall 2016  judges. These leaders in engineering, product development, and data science will draw on their expertise to determine the hacks most deserving of this fall’s awards. Check out the full list of prizes on Devpost!



Jimena Almendares
Former Chief Product Officer at OkCupid


About hackNY:
“Hackathons are a great place to identify talent. Not only will you be building innovative new products, you’ll also be building important future relations. Take an opportunity to spend time with your peers, have fun, and do the best work you can!”

Jimena Almendares
Jimena was most recently Chief Product Officer at OkCupid where she led the product, design, marketing, f/e, app development and business development teams. She was one of the two C-level executives leading the company towards its IPO in 2015, as part of the Match Group (MTCH, 1.2B revenue forecast for 2016).


Previously, she held different leadership roles at Meetup, Zynga, Eventbrite and Facebook, as well as in strategy consulting and analytical operations. Jimena has an MBA from MIT and an MA and BA from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).



Liz Crawford
Former CTO at Birchbox


About hackNY:
“I’ve worked with the HackNY internship program since its first year. It’s been a joy to be able to give so many brilliant young people support early in their careers.”

Liz Crawford
Liz was most recently the CTO at Birchbox. At Birchbox she built the engineering, product, and data science functions. She oversaw the scaling of Birchbox’s systems and consumer presence from supporting thousands of subscribers to more than a million people, across 6 countries, online and in store.


Liz earned her PhD at Carnegie Mellon. She has a long standing interest in developing personalized experiences. Liz has published papers on topics ranging from Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, to Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Robotics.





Yael Elmatad
Senior Data Scientist, Tapad


About hackNY:
“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.”

Yael Elmatad
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 the 2015 hackNY Fellows about Tapad’s data science as part of our Speakers Series.



Courteney Ervin
Developer, New York Public Library


About hackNY:
“I love seeing what people create when they care passionately about the problems they’re solving.”

Courteney Ervin
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.



Sarah Guido
Senior Data Scientist, Mashable


About hackNY:
“I’m looking forward to seeing the level of innovation that hackNY participants will bring to the table.”

Sarah Guido
Sarah is currently a Senior Data Scientist at Mashable, a position she started very recently. Prior to working at Mashable, Sarah was the Lead Data Scientist at Bitly, where she worked on bringing a greater level of insight into the audience of content creators. Sarah has spoken at a number of conferences on topics such as machine learning, Apache Spark, and Python. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

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