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Hackathon 2015 challenges students to ‘build something awesome’

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The Ohio State College of Engineering hosted the third annual OHI/O Hackathon this past weekend, a 24-hour event where students and faculty from all over the Midwest work together to code and create software that are designed to address an ongoing issue in today’s society.

At the event, participants work independently or in groups to design and create new software by manipulating existing technology and ideas.

There were more than 500 participants that attended over the weekend, dwarfing the first and second OHI/O Hackathons in 2013 and 2014, said Matt Faluotico, a fourth-year in computer science and engineering who was one of the organizers of the event.

“2014 to 2015 was a big jump. 100 percent growth is cool, but we settled for a little bit more,” Faluotico said. “We went from 200 people to 500 people.”

Faluotico said that there were 20 people in charge of this year’s planning committee; last year, there were four.

There were more than 100 teams coding and designing at this year’s hackathon, 50 mentors to help students when they ran into technical problems and 60 judges to decide the top ten teams.

Josh Keuhn, a second-year in computer science and engineering and an event organizer, said the participants were being judged on creativity, real world application and how technically challenging the project was.

Prizes for the top ten ranged from cash to GoPro cameras to Apple Watches. These were given out by various sponsors of the event, such as the Wexner Medical Center, Transitional Data Analytics, Esri and Fuse.

One of the top 10 teams had an idea related to using quick response codes to fill out hospital forms. Another team created a game similar to “Missile Command” to teach people about how the body fights off viruses and disease.

The team that won, however, created an app called Valet, an event-based parking system where users can rent parking spaces from other people. Ritvik Vasudevan, a fourth-year in engineering physics and one of the app’s creators, described it as “Airbnb meets parking.”

“It’s not just about building an app that connects people. It’s about doing it in a way that makes people trust the service and trust each other,” Vasudevan said.

People’s parents might need a parking spot for the next home football game, and Vasudevan said he can offer his spot if it is not being occupied for that time.

Vasudevan and his team received an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone and a Samsung Gear VR head-mounted display for first place.

Kuehn said he was satisfied with this year’s event.

“Some of the presentations get a little bit long, and they get little bit technical,” Kuehn said. “(But) it’s really fantastic for people to say, ‘Whoa, I had no idea that somebody was doing that. That’s really cool.’”


One comment

  1. Somewhere there’s a decent picture of me presenting my hack and I will not rest until I find it

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