Event Recap: AT&T Mobile App Hackathon – Portland
<04.24.15 Update> Dodecatimer is the winner of the community choice award. Thanks for voting everyone!
What happens when 100+ hyper-motivated and creative developers & entrepreneurs get together in one space? Open discussions, great networking, new friendships and projects getting launched. In the course of two days, there were 18 teams formed around some exciting projects. At the end of the day, AT&T Hackathons are all about creating an environment that supports developers with new opportunities, life learnings, new friends and business connections.
A massive shout out goes to mbient, Hackster.io, Wunderbar, and Intel for their collaboration on the event as well as outreach to the local community. Also, we really have to thank the local community for helping to pull together the event, especially Clarissa, Hesper, Rex, and the mentors that helped the teams polish their presentations. Since Portland is home to Intel, they showed up with numerous engineers to help the developers get going on the Edison boards.
If you have a chance, check out the mbient website because their ARM+Bluetooth LE Platform has abstracted away the need to build custom hardware! mbient’s board is an insane low power unit and provides access to sensors via an API so that you don’t have to do the hard work of setting up a microprocessor with the requisite sensors. you can essentially download their sample iOS app and have immediate access to a number of different sensors without having to setup any hardware. If you want to add sensors, the mbient board can handle that as well! #mindblown
The projects that were pitched on Sunday were technically difficult, ranging from robots that could draw to remote control chicken coops! Most exciting of all was the number of developers who showed up and stayed for the entire event. We had to make a couple of extra trips to Costco just to keep up with the rate food and snacks were being consumed! These hacks were created with the intent of building community and to date, I have hosted over 100 hackathons with ever more demand. Please feel to email me at email@example.com with any questions you may have and you can find out about our upcoming events here.
Hackathon Event Overview
AT&T Hackathons bring together developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurial types to launch projects and startups in a very short amount of time and enable developers to show off their development skills and ideas. Attendees pitch ideas, form teams and build prototypes within the short time frame, and guest judges help pick the winners. The best part is that many of these aspiring entrepreneurs continue the pursuit long after the weekend is over and strive to launch a business from the concept.
This time around, we supplied the developers with quite a bit of hardware from Intel, Ardunio and Raspberry Pi along with an insane amount of sensors and other electronic components. We also had our AT&T M2X team on-site to provide walk-throughs of the API in conjunction with the available hardware.
Day 1 – Lightning Talks and Team Formation
We kicked off the event on Saturday morning with a full house and had over 100 entrepreneurs pack out the venue. The event then moved into lightning talks to orient the developers as well as previously successful entrepreneurs who rallied the crowd to get excited about staying up all night to build apps! Attendees then came up to pitch their ideas and skills to their peers. They had only three minutes to sell their concept and communicate:
- Who they are and their super power
- The problem they want to solve
- How they’re going to solve that problem
- What they need to solve that problem
Participants networked to self-organize around ideas that they liked and finalized 18 ideas, which are listed at the end of this blog.
Day 2 – Code Completion and Pitching!
A number of teams worked right up until we shut down the venue at 11PM on Saturday night and then were right back with us bright and early on Sunday! To everyone’s amazement the snacks were thoroughly picked through and the soda fully consumed. So a bunch of us made extra trips to Costco to replenish the snack counter with enough sugar and caffeine to keep everyone bouncing till the 6PM presentation time.
Team Chicken Coop really impressed the judges with an app that enables you to remotely monitor your chickens and even open their door for them. Happy chickens. Even though some teams were further along than others at the end, everyone was ready for the 6PM presentations.
The winning teams clearly communicated the problem as well as the solution. This was followed by a demo of the prototype that walked the audience through the solution. The judges assessed the potential of each team, provided candid feedback to the presenters and selected the winners. The top teams were:
- AT&T Best Use of AT&T M2X API ($500) – Team Augmented Marathon Running
- AT&T Best Mobile App ($500) – Team Chicken Coop Monitor
- AT&T Best UI ($500) – Team Dodecatimer
Big Thanks to Everyone who Came Out!
These events are made possible by the generosity of the sponsors, amazing team of organizers, volunteers, judges and mentors. If you’re interested in receiving updates about future AT&T Hackathon events, please connect with me on Facebook and Twitter!
Here is a list of the projects that were pitched:
Team TARDIS Call Button – Helping hackers help themselves with a MetaWear beacon. This is a little wearable TARDIS that I carry around at hackathons. I’m usually stationed at the hardware table, offering materials and advice, but sometimes called into the trenches to help with everything from signing up teammates to reading LightBlue Bean position data. I was looking to 3D-print a little TARDIS so I could have a keychain flash blue and buzz whenever I’m needed. So I headed downstairs to the 3D printer room with an STL, but when he heard what I was plotting, Ken Olsen pulled out a box with a fully-printed TARDIS that was even better than the one I’d found! It’s much more translucent, and designed for almost exactly this application, as well as having a loop for a necklace chain. It’s a little bigger, but now I’ll be less likely to lose it, I guess… and my hacker swag will be more visible. 😉 Here are the files (thanks, Ken!): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:519685 Plus, this fits in well with the ethos of REUSE that is so necessary in a maker-focused culture! I try to promote mindful creation.
Team Dodecatimer – Simple interval timer. Simply place the timer with the time interval you want uppermost and let it be. In the allotted time, a sound, light or shake alerts you to the elapsed time.
Team StormSafe – A personal storm warning device with realtime lightning detection and GPS-based weather alerts to keep you safe as you walk, hike, or bike! An estimated 6000 to 24000 people are killed annually due to lightning strikes. In the US, the most fatalities occur while fishing, camping, and boating. What if you were personally warned when lightning was a nearby risk, without having to continuously monitor the radio or NOAA? This project plans to pair a realtime lightning detector, which has a sensing range of 40km, with a mobile device for getting an accurate lat/long position. It queries a WeatherUnderground API to get local details and screens the results for thunderstorm alerts. Any of these will trigger a color-coded LED to warn the user to seek lower ground and shelter. The lightning sensor I am using is the AS3935, on a breakout board from PlayingWithFusion. I’ve verified its functionality with an Arduino UNO.
Team AntiText – An #IntelEdison device that deactivates the texting capabilities on cell phones when driving. #KeepHandsOnTheWheel. Our project will stop texting while driving. We decided to make this because we were tired of seeing people driving down the road with their eyes are trained to a four-inch screen. The build list and how to assemble is on github so feel free to give us a look.
Team Chicken Coop Monitor – IoT technology for monitoring the status of a chicken coop and it’s environment.
Team Augmented Marathon Running – Guide yourself with temperature, accelorometer wearables that gives you a real time feedback about how you are doing while you are running.
Team GlanceBoard – A quick glance for daily information. The Glance Board is a device that provides daily information such as the time, date, and current weather conditions. The Glance Board uses an Intel Edison and Arduino development board expansion shield made by Seed Studio. The weather conditions are recorded by a personal weather station. The data is sent to Weather Underground and pulled down wirelessly to the Glance Board via the Weather Underground API. Every five seconds the screen changes, first displaying the time, date, and outdoor temperature, then indoor temperature and humidity, and finally wind conditions and real-feel.
Team LowCostWorkshopBot – I need to create a low-cost robot project for workshops that will actually drive accurately and be fun to work with. Our cover image, selected at the spur of the moment and the basis of the team name, is by John Schwegel.
Team SoundofSpeed – Provides sound effects through the radio in the DeLorean cued by acceleration, turns, car power up, etc. Sound drives emotion. Imagine driving the DeLorean with the rush of a jet engine as you accelerate, the screech of tires with every gentle turn, the sound of a collision when braking too quickly! Add to that other effects we dream up. With the speed of processors available now, we should be able to modulate an AM radio frequency signal directly on a microcontroller I/O pin. If we have a PWM that can run close to a MHz we are easily within the AM band. By modulating the pulse width, we can control the signal amplitude to output an audio file. Power can be drawn from the DeLorean cigarette lighter plug. If that is switched it can also provide car start information, but it would need battery backup. Acceleration, braking, and turns can be sensed by an accelerometer.
Team LarsonScanner – Kitt lights on a DeLorean with weather and touchscreen inputs. This project runs a node.js server on an Intel Edison. When you connect with a browser, you can control the speed of the scanner. It will also use the Weather Underground API to find the weather at your location to set the color of the lights according to the temperature.
Team BabyMonitor – A cloud-connected wireless monitor with multiple sensors.
Team Bike Navigator
Team Snoopy – Snoopy is a small robot with sensors (camera, sound, environment) and mobility that can be deployed by a drone to monitor a remote location. In an emergency, like a fire or other disaster, it could save lives by scouting through a building. Smoke and flame may limit the ability of a drone to explore the floors, and limited flight time may prevent monitoring an area for very long. Send in Snoopy! With a camera, microphone, air temperature sensor, and a simple robust wheeled platform Snoopy the telepresence robot can be your virtual scout. Find an area to keep tabs on? Just park Snoopy and let him keep watch for hours! The prototype can be based on an Intel Edison with hacked RC servos for motion. A simple, robust 3D printed frame would hold the servos, processor, battery, and sensors.
Team EdisonCoil – A network of musical keyboards allowing people to play music together. We heard you like keyboards. So we turned a keyboard into a keyboard. https://github.com/instantinfrastructure/edisoncoil
TeamHeartSpace – Wearable that combines bio and environment data empowering everyone to enhance their creativity and well-being. This wearables project builds upon recent findings in creativity research and seeks to empower everyone to nourish their creativity and personal well-being by accumulating and providing visualizations of data about the spaces we inhabit and the our corporeal responses. Do you require more light, more quiet time, or more travel in your days? HeartSpace Circadian Muse will help you know! This device combines bio data (heart rate, body temp, body movement), information about the physical spaces we inhabit (room size, activity and noise levels, light levels), and environmental data (temperature, air pressure, precipitation, GPS locations and total distance travelled, length of day).
Team BuzzTrain – BuzzTrain is a smart dog collar that allows pet owners to remotely monitor their dogs and their environment. It is not easy to train a dog to use an iPhone–the ergonomics just aren’t right and dogs don’t have opposeable thumbs. Now there’s an answer, BuzzTrain. The BuzzTrain fits on your dog’s collar and communicates wirelessly with your smartphone or computer. A camera and microphone allows you to see and hear what your fur-baby is doing. Access real-time GPS coordinates and give commands via buzzer. Check out this video from PBS! Researchers at the North Carolina State University are investigating new ways to talk with dogs! Parts List: Intel Edison – 3D design using free version of Autodesk’s Fusion 360 – 3D printed shell – Lithium rechargeable battery – Circuit board enabled with camera, temp sensor, mic, speaker – Free Azure account to log and serve data – Dog collar with built-in LED strip (or hack your own).
Team MotionControlRig – A motion control and intervelometer for timelapse photography, controllable via a mobile app.