On Jan 24 developers, designers, artists, and makers of all types came together at the PEI Developers Winter Hackathon!
Early on Saturday, January 24th, 2015 the doors opened at the Atlantic Technology Centre in downtown Charlottetown, PEI. The forecast for the day called for a nasty winter storm but snow, Ice, nor slush could not keep the PEI Developers from creating a storm of their own.
Now that everyone was well caffeinated and had met each other, it was time for Bob Shand to intro the day!
With the schedule understood and the rules laid out, it was time to get down to business. Some consider the next part of the day to be the most creative part of a hackathon: The Pitch. This was an open themed hackathon, and we had no shortage of ideas to be built in one day.
Everyone in attendance had an opportunity to pitch one or more ideas for the day. Everyone who had an idea got 1 minute to convince the group their idea should get a team.
"Who likes art? History?" ... Tech meets the humanities in this pitch pic.twitter.com/8245IljlfT— PEIDevs (@PEIDevs) January 24, 2015
The wall rejected all projects, so we moved to a table. Each idea was laid out and everyone at the event put their name on the idea they liked best. Viola, teams are formed!
Attendees sign up to work on an intriguing pitch/idea pic.twitter.com/8Ne8NjAizl— PEIDevs (@PEIDevs) January 24, 2015
12 Hours of Blood, Sweat, & Tears! Well, mainly typing. But with Great Conviction…
Now begins the building. The teams quickly formed and moved on to vetting and scoping what they could accomplish in 12 hours. By the end of the event, we would see working applications for 8 vastly different projects. The theme was open for this event and that resulted in a wide range of applications being built. Web apps, mobile apps, games, virtual reality, and hardware interfacing apps were all being constructed.
The pitches turned to white boarding; the white boarding turned to team discussions; the discussions turned to code. The energy from the morning turned to focus through the day. All the teams had carved out their space and were heads down. There was a significant amount of cross team help at this event. If one team needed help with a specific technology, someone from another team would step up. What ever storms may have been brewing outside could not compare to the fury of creativity that was raging inside. But, like all storms, they needed fuel. Lunch and dinner arrived and the hacking continued!
The clock was up. It was time to show off the accomplishments of the day. All the participants moved back to the theatre, it was time to demo!
Virtual Comic Book Reader
The first team to demo was made up of huge comic book fans who were also very lazy. They created a virtual comic book reader for the Oculus with the goal of being able to turn pages through head motions alone. Look Mom, no hands!
The next team up stayed in virtual reality with another Oculus, but this time paired it with a Leap Motion device for hand tracking. They were able to combine both technologies and write software to create a prototype of a fully virtual reality dart game. Now this just needs to be in every virtual pub out there!
GTA VI aka Giant Tortoise Attack
The next team built and demoed a very polished 2d game. They used the LÖVE Lua-based game engine to build a world where turtles crave crystals and you are the lone protector. Waves of hard shelled enemies must be stopped from taking down the crystal all while trying to keep the hero on his feet as well!
In a world full of choices where there is no clear path, one man had a vision of a world without the veil. He and his companions started a quest to use technology to answer one of life’s darkest questions: where are the cheapest Doritos. This team built an awesome app that scrapes and pulls all the data from local grocery stores, stores that data, and then exposes that in a nice web app to help consumers find where the best deals are for their shopping list. Some of the technologies uses include PHP, MySQL, and XPath.
Greenhouse Monitor and Automation
Here on PEI we have the rare combination of farmers who can code. The coding farmer is always on the lookout to improve things around the farm thus, to that end, the Greenhouse Monitor project was born. This project consisted of a spark core with environmental sensors and a web interface to report the greenhouse data as well as make any modifications to the greenhouse remotely. Python was used for the pin I/O with the Spark Core.
Arduino Test Bed
Next up is the most hardware focused application of the day: The test bed for arduino devices. The idea for this project stemmed from a need to verify that all the functionality for a given piece of hardware can be easily verified. This project consisted of a breadboard where circuts could be plugged in and then software and hardware test cases could be executed against the system under test. There is both software and physical feedback via LEDs from the tests to help the user see when there is a failure. This verifies that the hardware is operating correctly and also allowso for tests as you modify the configuration.
We get back to the fun and games with Squirrels! This team pivoted to create a 2d unity game full of beautiful artwork and the foundation for an awesome game. The team learned unity, built all the sprites from scratch, and had a prototype demo of an onslaught of angry squirrels.
After 12 hours and gallons of coffee all 8 teams at the hackathon had produced solid applications and projects that could be demonstrated. This is no small feat and is amazing what small teams can accomplish in a single day.
The code was written and the apps run. It was now time to wind things down and hand out the door prizes and thank our supporters once again. These events promote community, innovation, and fun and we thank all of our participants that attended as well as all of those that supported us to make the day possible. If you want to be a part of this exciting community, please join us at the PEI Developers meetup site.
We couldn’t have done it alone!
Thank you to all our supporters! In addition to the supporters mentioned above, these great companies, organizations, and people helped make this event happen!
Going to the Hackathon tomorrow? Once you create something awesome you should host it with @linode. Another superb supporter— PEIDevs (@PEIDevs) January 23, 2015
Do you know what a bluetooth beacon is? If not why not find out at our Hackathon? Thanks to @Estimote you could take some beacons home— PEIDevs (@PEIDevs) January 18, 2015
Shout-out to @OReillyMedia for sponsoring some e-books as door prizes. Thanks!— PEIDevs (@PEIDevs) January 24, 2015