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 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)

Announcing hackNY’s Fall 2013 hackathon on Sept 28th-29th!

Every spring and fall, hundreds of students from scores of universities around the country flock to hackNY’s student hackathons, where they participate in collaborative and creative coding challenges in a 24-hour coding sprint. The events open with API demos from New York City startups selected by the student organizing committee, after which students work in teams to build projects based on these APIs. Students work around the clock, and the event culminates in a presentation before a panel of judges the next day.

hackNY is excited to announce its eighth student hackathon on September 28th-29th at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

We are excited for this event, and we are looking for sponsors to help us make this happen. For more information on sponsorship and to discuss becoming a sponsor, please contact Team hackNY at [email protected]

Students interested in attending can register on Hackerleague!

Richard Stallman to address hackNY and NYC Technology Community on August 5

HackNY is delighted to announce a special addition to our 2013 speaker series: Richard Stallman. Richard Stallman will speak about the goals and philosophy of the Free Software Movement, and the status and history of the GNU operating system, which in combination with the kernel Linux is now used by tens of millions of users worldwide. This talk will be held at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and open to the New York City Technology Community (space permitting).

Richard Matthew Stallman, also known as RMS, is a software freedom activist and computer programmer. Early in his career, he worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. While at MIT, he wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor and developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance. In 1983, Stallman announced the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to be entirely free software, and has been the project’s leader ever since. This marked the beginning of the Free Software Movement and in October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation, of which he remains the president.

During his career, Stallman developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system. The GNU/Linux system are used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers, but the distributors of these systems often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws.

HackNY is thrilled to have Richard Stallman speak on August 5th to discuss the history and the future of the Free Software Movement. Please join us in welcoming Richard Stallman to the New York City Technology Community on August 5th at 251 Mercer Street, New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, room 109 from 7-9 PM.