The 2013 OpenSauce Hackathon
(Source files for the projects are incoming in the next few days - please bear with us!)
Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April was the time for our 2nd Annual Open Sauce Hackathon hosted at Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics
Basically, a 'hackathon' is where a large group of people (mainly slightly geeky ones!) convene to design, build, and present a project in a short amount of time. It's not about doing it perfectly, either - more about getting something up and running!
Hackathons are popular, too. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Dropbox, and Twitter host them, too, encouraging innovation outside the regular work day.
So, over two days, our group of caffeine, sandwich, and chocolate fuelled geeks built a plethora of awesome ideas, based on two themes - 'automation' (making a project do something else automatically) and 'open' - making whatever you want.
The projects were:
Individual Hacker Award!
The unfortunate demise of Google Reader has created a void in the world of RSS Readers - one that GoNuts attempted to fill. Jamie created an alternative for the discerning person wanting to keep up with their favourite RSS feeds.
GoNuts (Jamie Hall) - RS3 (Google Reader replacement)
The guys visiting from EEESoc designed a system to detect a falling object (in this case, a water droplet) and take a photo at the right focus with a camera, making for some exciting possibilities for photo projects.
EEESoc (Geraint Shipsides & Sam Partridge) - Digital Camera Automation
Open Award (First Place)!
This project provided a web service (using Django) for students to effectively manage living in a house together, including support for showing bills, shopping alerts, event notifications, and a system to alert landlords to issues.
Danny Dyer's Chocolate Humunculous (Joseph Redfern, Walter Carvalho, and Charlie Mills) - Kuushi (Home Management System)
Open Award (Runner Up 1)!
Non-Committal built a website to suggest movies you might like, based on the similarity of soundtrack and genre between movies.
Non-Committal (Will Webberly, Chris Gwilliams, Matthew John & Ross Taylor) - eartube.es (Movie Recommendation System)
Open Award (Runner Up 2)!
The Keyboard Warriors designed a game using Java, with an interactive map, and an awesome character chooser. Considering they were the only first year students at the Hackathon this year, they did their year proud!
Keyboard Warriors (Jack Rimell & James Rees) - Hacky (Game)
Most Marketable Idea (First Place)!
Problem: Awesome students without industry experience, and cash-strapped small businesses. Solution: Vinternship. This project was a central website for 'virutal internships' specifically for university students, making it easier and faster to find appropriate internships on the web. This allowed small businesses to get small jobs done for free - in return, providing valuable employer experience for a student's CV.
Wolverines (Robert Dragan, Ned Pepper, & Tomas Basham) - Vinternship (Virtual Internship Website)
Most Marketable Idea (Runner Up)!
Martin likes beer and music, but often can't decide where to go some evenings for these things. So, he designed a system to combine events from different sources (Foursquare, Facebook, and LastFM) and display these on a map, making for a centrally-located record of what's happening near you!
Martin Chorley - Dionysus (Local Events Map)
Coggard (James Cohen & Henry Hoggard) - Chocolate Sundae (Photo Portfolio)
Henry and James' project utilised photos from a person's Flickr (with a future objective of using Instagram too), turning them into an impressive online photo portfolio for that person.
Matt Williams & Kirill Sidorov - Tracking System for Flying Drone
Some of the organisers of this event (hence not competing) decided to experiment with a flying drone, prototyping the vision tracking in MatLab, then implementing in pure Java, using the JavaDrone API. This enabled the drone to 'track' and follow around a target (a pink ping-pong bat), held by a person walking around the room.
Lazy Automators (Jake Davies) - Library Book Renewal System
Sick and tired of unfair 'stealth' library charges for late books (with no notifications!), Jake designed and built a system to automatically renew university library books, and email the user when this had been done, reminding them to return the book if they no longer need it. Jake is currently improving the project to become a web service which would schedule renewing automatically for the user.
Flax Capacitor (Adam Flax & Umair Khan) - PasteBin Alternative
Flax Capacitor implemented a PasteBin alternative, enabling users to paste in code whilst keeping the formatting, and share with others. A particuarly awesome feature of this project was the ability for the website to unpack .zip files and display them in a list, then repack when needed for download.
John - Mesh Data Structure for Java
John designed a mesh data structure for Java, used for things such as storing geometric data in an easily-processed way. Stemmed from a personal need in a current project, John managed to hack together a complex system in two short days to benefit him considerably in the long run.
A massive thankyou to the sponsors of this event:
Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics, Box UK, Digistump, linode, eysys, and GitHub.
Thanks to George Sale for the write up. You can find more of his work on his blog.
Blog Post by Martin Chorley
cfhack Twitter page
EventBrite Signup Page (Archived)
GoNuts (Jamie Hall) presenting RS3
EEESoc Digital Camera Automation project in action
Team DDCH presents Kuushi
Keyboard Warriors with their game, Hacky
The Wolverines working on Vinternships
Martin Chorley's Dionysus