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.
UCI’s first annual hackathon was a huge success! HackUCI 2014 was hosted at PeopleSpace, where people can collaborate on common interests in computer science, technology, science, art, and entrepreneurship. The small, cozy venue was packed with awesome ideas and energy during the Memorial Day weekend. HackUCI was so spectacular that some preferred to call it a hack festival!
When HackUCI opened on Friday evening, buses streamed participants five miles from campus to PeopleSpace. As attendees entered, they were greeted by a live performance from Blake & Kurt. As the event started, hackers had access to everything they needed to work on their project during their stay. There was a variety of free food, including muffins and croissants for breakfast, Veggie Grill and Chipotle for lunch, Ray’s Pizza and Dos Chinos for dinner, and Domino’s Pizza and 85 Degrees for midnight snacks. Caffeine from coffee and energy drinks were, of course, a necessity for those who wanted to stay awake for the entire course of the hackathon.
By far, however, the most popular item among the hackers was none other than UCI’s Ring Road specialty: Lollicup Boba! This free drink was probably a first in the history of hackathons judging by the overwhelming response of the participants. Another rare attraction was the dedicated sleeping area located at the back of the venue. Because the area is primarily used as a martial arts dojo, people were able to rest on the mats. The isolated location and dim lighting made it a better place to sleep than inside the bright and noisy hacking areas.
Last but not least, there were mentors at the event. Company representatives from Cylance, Infinite Peripherals, Amazon, SendGrid, and Kloudless came to help and answer any questions. It was very inspirational to see that several hacker participants were willing to help out other teams with their projects. The core values of inclusiveness, diversity, innovation, and creativity exhibited by everyone would definitely make HackUCI’s founders proud.
In the end, all projects were built from scratch over the 36-hour period. The teams came up with some great hacks, but as the hacking period closed, only a handful of these would come out gloriously on top. One of these teams had created Shark Education, which allowed the player to see through the eyes of a shark with the Oculus Rift. For Legend of Zelda fans, one of the best Twilio hacks was a Hylian Transliterator, which could convert English to any of the several Hylian languages found within the games and vice versa.
With about 300 registrations from all over Orange County, HackUCI was possibly the largest event ever hosted by ICS clubs. WICS definitely played a large part in this event, as most of the volunteers were WICS members. All in all, it was due to the hard work, commitment, and sacrifice of the volunteers, committee members, and main organizers that such an astounding event was pulled off. We can’t wait to see how HackUCI will grow next year!
Feel free to check out some of the best hacks from HackUCI 2014 here.