On Friday night November 20th, 400 students from UCI and beyond lined up outside of the eSports Arena in Santa Ana. After waiting patiently to sign in for HackUCI, they were greeted by numerous sponsors eager to find potential employees; among these were Cylance and Microsoft, HackUCI’s two biggest sponsors. As hands filled with free T-shirts and drawstring bags, the rows and rows of empty tables began to fill up. Eventually, everyone claimed their spots and settled down. The opening ceremony started, and kicked off Orange County’s biggest hackathon.
Thus began 36 hours of hacking. When hackers weren’t sleeping or diligently hacking away at their projects, they were attending tech talks or participating in competitions. The competitions varied from an early morning Smash tournament to coding challenges put together by UCI’s ACM club. For the hackathon in general, the prizes varied from 1,000 dollars in cash to an Oculus Rift for each member on the winning team. The skill levels of the participants were varied as well, but the overall commitment to creating something great was consistent. This was shown through the 47 projects that were presented at the expo concluding the hackathon. The participants truly took advantage of the hardware and mentorship available at HackUCI. One team created bots out of cardboard to do bot fighting, and integrated virtual reality into the experience; this is just one example of the many innovative projects presented. The ideas and accomplishments that came out of this hackathon were immeasurable, and we hope to bring that same energy again next year.
Feel free to check out some of the best hacks from HackUCI 2015 here.