Not only did Hackpoly 2017 break an attendance record for the second straight year, the annual challenge to bring ideas to life also ventured into uncharted territory.
For the first time, a college from outside California competed among a field of nearly 600 would-be inventors. A team from the University of Arizona made the 460-mile trip to campus.
When the 24-hour competition ended, 71 entries were completed, a 54-percent jump from the 2016 hackathon.
The hackathon, organized by the student club Poly Founders, was open to any college student with the perseverance and endurance to produce a new product in a day. The final field was whittled down from an initial list of 1,500 entrants.
“Hackpoly has become something much more than just a hackathon,” says Rushi Shah, president of Poly Founders and a senior majoring in management and human resources. “It has transformed lives and has become a centerpiece for innovation.”
Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval and President Soraya M. Coley kicked off the Feb. 11 event with words of encouragement to the competitors.
Inventions varied from mobile phone apps to a smart closet, but all were vying for prizes including a VIP tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which event organizers say has a retail value of $1 million, and drones.
Here is the list of winners and ideas that grabbed the judges’ attention:
Apeeling Eats: Overall Winner, Best Beginner Hack
There are many apps that recommend restaurants based on reviews. Apeeling Eats is unique because it also scans the content of reviews, then provides first-time diners with menu selections based on the popularity of a dish.
Four UC Riverside students initially tried integrating IBM Watson into the program, but scrambled to develop their own language after hitting the supercomputer’s 1,000-query limit during beta testing. The entry was completed in time to earn first place.
Battle of the Bards: Second Place, Best Game Hack
Five Cal Poly Pomona computer science students banded together to program a role-playing video game that added a twist to the popular format by using a guitar-shaped controller from Rock Band to navigate through the game.
Kyle Turchik, Game Design and Development club president, Marilyn Hercules, Natasha Tambaoan, Andy Cook and Colin Trotter pulled an all-nighter to complete Battle of the Bards, which was the top-finishing all-Bronco team.
Echo Rice Cooker: Third Place
Motivated by hunger at night after a long day of midterms, three UCR students partnered with a UC San Diego computer science major to build a smart rice cooker.
By simply saying, “Alexa, make me X cups of rice,” the correct amount of rice and water are measured into a bowl. Cook time is determined by quantity and notification is sent when the rice is ready.
Facebook AntiBully: #HackHarrassment Winner
FacebookAntiBully automatically protects a user from potentially hurtful comments. By immediately detecting and removing the negative posts, the bully is stopped from gaining the gratification that often leads to continued bullying.
Skynet Watches: Best Use of Amazon Web Service
Competitors from the University of Arizona built Skynet Watches, a facial recognition software that identifies people in any image posted publicly on the internet.
Smart RC Car: LEAP Best Education Hack
A one-man team from UC Riverside built an autonomous vehicle out of a remote-controlled car that communicates with a drone to navigate, avoid collisions and detect obstacles. It was one loose wire from being fully functional when Spyridon Catechis presented it to judges a day after arriving to Cal Poly Pomona with a box of parts and some ideas.
Daisy’s Closet: JPL Best Internet of Things (IOT) Hack
Daisy’s Closet is an Internet of Things shopping experience. Take clothing off the rack and try it on. Daisy will automatically decide which object has been removed and add it to the customer’s virtual shopping cart accessible from a mobile device. Alternatively, clothing can be added to carts using voice commands. There’s no need for a sales associate and inventory is tracked for the retailer.
Stop Annoying Messages (S.A.M.): Best Domain Name from Domain.com
S.A.M. Don’t Spam helps Facebook users reduce spam messages. Add S.A.M. as a friend and it will send a private message when your name is mentioned in a group.
Wolfram Alpha: Best Use of Wolfram Tech
UCR Population Visualizer: The 3D visualizer displays trends in population in cities around the world along with weather information.
Wolfram Speech: The program uses a Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine to answer any question its owner may have.
Wolfram_Beta ChatBot: The program keeps Facebook sessions open while users search the internet.
Alphafy: The app identifies models, makes and trim levels of automobiles. Not sure about the year of a car is or its make? Just snap a picture.
Wolf: The app turns a common Amazon Echo into a voice-activated binomial/Poisson calculator.
MC Alexa: Simply say, “Alexa, rap using … ,” and the electronic device becomes a lyrical genius, laying down a series of rhymes based off any word it’s told.