Featured Developer: Peter Ma and Team Anti-Snoozer
Do you like to connect with other developers and learn what cool projects they are working on and the tools they use? We do. This post kicks off a regular series featuring a developer or hackathon team from The AT&T Developer Program community. By spotlighting a member of our community we hope to connect you with other like-minded individuals and gain insight into how others come together to build and develop applications.
In this first post, we will introduce you to the Grand Prize winner of the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon, team Anti-Snoozer, who took home the $25,000 grand prize for their app to help stop people from falling asleep at the wheel. At the Summit, the team’s app also won a few other prizes including the AT&T Drive and Intel Edison Accelerator Challenges, and the Jasper Kicker contest.
If you missed it, the 2015 AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon in January had over 700 developers from around the world converge on the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Developers put their skills to the test to create an app worthy of winning one of the many prizes up for grabs. After a hectic 24 hours, Hackers submitted their apps and judges had the challenging task of narrowing them down to the top 20 apps to be presented at the end of the day (see video of the top 20 presentations here). The Top 3 teams from the Hackathon then had an opportunity to present on stage during the AT&T Developer Summit Keynote where audience members voted Team Anti-Snoozer as the winner via text.
Team Anti-Snoozer is a team of six, ranging from students to startup experienced developers, who came together from across the country to create the Anti-Snoozer app and take home $40,000 in prizes. Peter Ma, Nancy Ghaly, Stephanie Fang, Solomon Wu, Adarsh Uppula and JeanCarl Bisson all participated in the 2015 AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon.
- Peter Ma
- Location: San Francisco, CA
- Occupation: Rapid Prototype Specialist
- Nancy Ghaly
- Location: Queens, NY
- Occupation: Student, Stonybrook University
- Stephanie Fang
- Location: Queens, NY
- Occupation: Student, CUNY Hunter’s College
- Sung Solomon Wu
- Location: Sunnyvale, NY
- Occupation: Independent Software Developer
- Adarsh Uppula
- Location: Fremont, CA
- Occupation: Co-Founder/CTO at a startup called gogohire
- JeanCarl Bisson
- Location: Mountain View, CA
- Occupation: Co-Founder/web-developer at a startup called Sleek-Geek
We caught up with one of the team leads, Peter Ma, at the end of January to get a bit more insight into his background and the Anti-Snoozer application.
What prompted you to attend the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon?
To learn what new technologies AT&T and partners have to offer, to network with other developers and see where the industries are going, and to build something that’s meaningful throughout the Hackathon.
How many Hackathons have you participated in? Was this your first AT&T Hackathon?
I’ve been to many hackathons, including the AT&T Hackathons in the Bay Area. This was Nancy and Stephanie’s first hackathon ever.
How have Hackathons helped you personally?
Hackathons helped me to learn new skill sets and code rapidly at the same time. They also have provided me opportunities to meet potential partners and investors that helped to take some of my ideas further.
What was your experience at the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon like?
Our experience with AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon was phenomenal, not only did we get to learn and play with so many new tools, we also got to see some of the most passionate developers as well as sponsors. This is one of the first hackathons where I’ve seen many of the sponsors stay up until 2 to 3am in the morning (when I went to sleep) to help the developers finishing up their projects. And the most important of all, we were proud of the project that we’ve built, it’s something that our aunt would be proud of as well.
What does the AT&T Developer Program and AT&T Hackathons mean to you?
To me, AT&T Developer Program means that it’s a technology company that provides eco-system rather than just a service provider. It gives developers ways to build, interact and innovate on top of the technology platform. To be part of this eco-system means we can always get support through developer relations and Developer Evangelists like Alex Donn, and by doing that we can count on the technology being integrated into our own applications. That’s the major difference between checking out the technology for its capabilities and actual integration of the technology.
Any developer-related advice, or lessons learned from your participation in the hackathon?
I think my advice would be what can be accomplished through a team greatly trumps what can be done by one person. And in a team, always ask what you can do for the team, and not what the team can do for you. The sum of us is greater than all our parts. You can always make your project better, and it’s up to individuals to figure out how they can contribute to the project. The world is built by the collaboration of our ancestors, and the leadership skill is much more useful in the long run than the coding skills, figuring out how you can fit into a team is one of the best leadership skills that one can learn and improve upon.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming developers, especially those who are going to attend their first hackathon?
We do not need to reinvent the wheel all the time, there are many great open source projects out there that we can utilize and improve upon. You can build something really good by improving upon existing projects that can be accessed by everyone.
What is your development background?
What type of development background do team members have?
How did you form your team? Was it set before you arrived or did you pull it together on site?
We knew each other prior to the hackathon, but we didn’t really know how the teams or ideas would come together prior until half of the team flew in from New York. My sister, Nancy, had always wanted to come to Vegas, and knowing I’d be there after the New Year, I asked if she wanted to contribute to the project.
Once the team was together in Vegas, we all sat down and decided to work on the Anti-Snoozer project. Nancy came up with the name Anti-Snoozer and authored our pitch. JeanCarl and Adarsh had started working on another project, utilizing AT&T WebRTC, Jasper and BlueMix, and we used their code for AT&T WebRTC and Jasper integration since it was relatively easy for them to add another use case in their code. In addition, JeanCarl and Adharsh also worked on the marketing strategy.
Favorite AT&T API?
AT&T M2X – it is so useful to store the data and get real-time analytics. It is so simple to use, and it can be used across so many different platforms including Arduino C!
Preferred coding languages?
Favorite mobile application development tool, and why you like it?
Eclipse, there are many complaints about the program, but after all, it has everything you need to build an Android application.
What technologies are you most passionate about?
Currently, I am most interested in developing with Intel RealSense and Edison, I believe Internet of Things (IoT) will make a big impact in the next few years. We’ll see a lot more connected pieces that would utilize both of those technologies.
How did you come up with the idea for Anti-Snoozer?
Most of us know friends, family, and loved ones who have been impacted by the grueling aftermath of drowsy driving. Getting behind the wheel in a sleep-deprived state is shockingly common amongst many drivers, but what’s more shocking is the lack of awareness and preventative action.
A few years ago, my uncle made the decision to operate a vehicle whilst feeling sleepy and disoriented, an action that placed my aunt (who was a passenger to the incident) in a wheelchair for life. The grief overcame our whole family; we sat around and wondered how such a seemingly minor fault in judgment could cost so much. I wasn’t ready to sit around waiting for the next accident; I decided to create Anti-Snoozer, an application paired with a prototype that would serve as a preventative action against such incidences.
What is the purpose of Anti-Snoozer?
The purpose of Anti-Snoozer is to optimize prevention of drowsy driving through the utilization of the app’s many mechanisms: detection of notable sleepy facial expressions, vibration of smartwatch (initiated upon sleepy detection) so as to jerk the driver awake, and more.
What technologies did you use in Anti-Snoozer?
How does your Anti-Snoozer app work?
This driving app uses facial recognition to detect yawning, frequent blinking, shifting of the pupils, and closed eyes. Upon detection of any of the above triggers, your smartwatch will vibrate to try to wake you and will also appear on your smartphone and in your vehicle through AT&T Drive. To disable the alarm you need to look straight towards the road (or the camera, which is situated on the car’s dashboard in the general direction of the road). The app will also set off red LED lights to alert other people on the road that you are being a hazardous driver, as well as text friends and family at home.
What are your future plans for Anti-Snoozer?
We are working with Intel and AT&T to see what the next step is for Anti-Snoozer, I am currently working on polishing the application. The polished version will be demoed at SXSW at Intel’s booth on March 16, 2015. We’ll develop it further and see if we can push this to a production level app to be integrated into real world situations, hopefully by doing that, we can prevent more fatal accidents that’s happening on the road.
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