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.

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)

Spring 2016 hackNY Student Hackathon Recap

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!

Spring 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon Recap

The Spring 2015 hackNY Student Hackathon has concluded and it was filled to the brim with awesome! Over 240 students came ready to hack, representing 50 universities from all over the Northeast and trekking from as far as California and Florida. Teams of students hacked overnight at Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Over 30 technical ambassadors came to help and were identified by bright red hackNY trucker hats. These volunteers and mentors are a staple at hackNY hackathons and consist of engineers from various sponsors and NYC startups.

When not busy hacking, students had the opportunity to engage in plenty of other activities. Workshops for various interesting technologies such as iOS and Arduino were filled to capacity, a Ladies Storm Hackathons meetup was well attended and fueled by homemade cupcakes, and a mini-rave party at 2am commemorating Daylight Saving Time energized the group, complete with a DJ and glow-sticks.

At the end of the 24 hours, all the students came together to show off their work, in 2-minute long rapid fire demos. There were over 50 hacks demoed, from all different genres including games, mashups, social good projects and hardware hacks. The judges noted that quality of hacks overall was incredibly high and several of the top hacks were recognized. See list of winners below!

The demoes were emceed by Ivy Schultz, Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at Columbia University. The distinguished panel of judges consisted of Amy Greenwald – CS Professor/Brown UniversityNaz Erkan – Senior Data Scientist/Twitter, Noemie Elhadad – Professor/Columbia University and Bonnie Eisenman – Software Engineer/Code Academy.

hackNY prides itself on creating a welcoming hackathon environment, encouraging diversity, learning, connecting with others and building awesome things. We at Team hackNY thank all the volunteers, sponsors, judges, and most importantly hackers that have continued to make hackNY hackathons awesome since 2010. We’ll see you in the fall for our 12th student hackathon!

Relive the magic through multimedia:
Demo video stream – http://www.twitch.tv/mlh/v/3876718

List of all hacks presented can be found at http://hackny-s2015.challengepost.com/

WINNERS

First Place
GLaPEP8 by Adam Obeng
A Python debugger that sings errors in the voice of Portal’s GlaDOS

Second Place
(Chirp) by Adam Obeng
A tool that shortens words and phrases, replacing long words with shorter words and emojis

Third Place
Chintastic Photo Booth by Nicole Ansbacher, Bob Gardner, Omayelli Arenyeka, Julie Pan
Crazy multi-media mashup that makes your upside-down chin the star of it’s own lip-synched video

Most APIs
nlt: never leave terminal by Tim Hung and William Jagels
Access loads of APIs directly from the command line

Funniest Hack
NO-K Cupid by Calvin Chan and Kimberly Leon
Place bets against your friends’ relationships and whether or not they will last

Hardware Hack
Gym Buddy by Ray Parker, Jordan Dunne, Daniel Schlegel, Shankar Rao and Jackson Zhang
electronic wearable glove that tracks exercise, weights and repetitions. Uses Arduino, Bluetooth, MongoDB, iOS and more

Most Technically Impressive
romdom by Sam Agnew and Manuel Lopez
A Javascript NES ROM hacking framework that emulates something similar to the DOM for programmatically editing NES games in real time

8 breaker
What’s up? by Nancy Minyanou and John Doner
Tool to track mental health and communicate with support system. Draws from several different NYC startup APIs

Best Command Line
troll.sh by Josh Matthews
Funny shell pranks that discourage leaving your workstation unlocked

Additional prizes were awarded by sponsors and can be found on ChallengePost.

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!