A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2019

HackTheMidlands 4.0 took place Sat 26th Oct – Sun 27th Oct 2019 with around 250 participants taking part from across the UK. The event has grown year on year, the 2017 event for example had around 150 participants – A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2017 (online). The following Tweets should give you some idea of what the 2019 Hackathon was like. Who knows, perhaps the 2020 event v5.0 may have 300+ participants given the popularity of same.

Links
HackTheMidlands.com (online)
HackTheMidlands Twitter (online)
HackTheMidlands Discord (online)
HackTheMidlands Facebook (online)

BCU Global Game Jam 2018 – Tweet Summary

The 2018 Global Game Jam event took place over the weekend of Friday 26th Jan to Sun 28th Jan. In the case of BCU registrations commenced around 17:00 on the 25th, with the opening ceremony starting at 18:00. The theme for the 2018 event was “Transmission” the previous year was “Waves”.

The event started to finish up around 13:00 on Sunday 28th Jan with the teams uploading their games (online). At 14:00 presentations kicked off, with a number of companies and organisers present to judge and give prizes. The Vice Chancellor also attended for most of this final presentation session along with half a dozen academics from the School of Computing and Digital Technology. After the handing out of a number of prizes, one being to visit Fish in a Bottle (online), the two day event wrapped up around 15:30.

In all over 70 people took part, from universities across the country along with a number of graduates out in industry as well.

The following tweets below, may give you some idea of what the event was like. One can also see a collection of tweets from last years event (online).

I also made a further post during the weekend of the Game Jam – highlighting a good few tweets that depict the use of Tents at these events and Hackathons in general (online). Some large hackathon events have been in tents that would have taken days to construct. Some teams bring tents with them and have in-tent coding going on during the event, while others take more a campfire approach. In the case of one hackathon held in a sports hall, a large portion of same was taken over with tents.

Bring your Tent: Global Game Jam & Hackathon Examples

Over the past couple of years one can see that Tents have been deployed during Game Jam and Hackathon events. You can see in the tweet directly below that a whole section of a sports hall was taken over with tents during the 2017 Global Game Jam.

Another tweet from Global Game Jam 2017 shows a tent and โ€œcampfireโ€ in operation. The theme for the 2017 event was โ€œWavesโ€.

Looks like one group are undertaking โ€œTent Projection Mappingโ€ for the 2018 Global Game Jam, therein incorporating the camping experience into their game idea. The theme for the 2018 event was โ€œTransmissionโ€.

Looks like a โ€œFortโ€ was constructed for the events below.

Here we have an entire team doing some in-tent game development.

This event from Sydney suggests brining your own tent to the Hackathon

These Hackathon events from 2017 takes the idea of a Tent to a whole other scale.

Hereโ€™s one from 2016 with a major Hackathon Tent under construction.

Here is the โ€œPeach Podโ€ Tent from a 2016 Hackathon event.

In Tent coding from 2016.

Looks like this 2015 Hackathon is at quite some scale, with quite a significant entrance way in place.

A Microsoft Hackathon from 2015.

A tent in place for a 2014 Hackathon Event

A slightly different style of โ€œTentโ€ than many of the examples above.

Hereโ€™s just a few other examples of Hackathon Tents.

The following tweets below, highlight some nice examples of Post-it note art on the walls adding a good splash of colour and fun to the environment. Post-its can be useful for many things and not just for planning out your Game / Hackathon idea. Here’s a previous post (online) highlighting some post-it note art on campus.

Having some mascots at Game Jams and Hackathons are always fun too.

Hackathon Examples Around Birmingham in Video

Hackathons are a great way to learn new skills and provides opportunities to work with other students in small groups / teams. Many Hackathons take place around Birmingham with the essence of some of these having been captured in video format. The selection of videos below from past Hackathons should help to give you some idea of what they are like and perhaps help to encourage you to attend such an event in the future if you haven’t been to one before.

Even if you have little to no programming experience you should still go along to a Hackathon. Sometimes you will find participants who have graduated several years before and others who may still be in secondary school depending on the format of the event. Some Hackathons are closed events – focused on a particular University institution, many are more open to all who are interested. Many of the larger more open Hackathons are helped by Major League Hacking (MLH) an organisation that can help you setup and run a Hackathon event.

Bull Hack 2017, Curzon Building

Hack The Midlands 2016, Millennium Point

Local Hack Day Birmingham 2016

Aston Hack 2015

Brum Hack 5.0

BrumHack 4 Final Presentation (2 Hour Video)

BrumHack 2014, Live Demos (~80 Minute Video)

BrumHack 3 (30 Hour Timelapse <5 Minute Video)

Game Jam 2014

Typically Hackathon events take place over a period of 24 Hours, though some can be shorter day long events, or longer 48 Hour events. Often these events have a theme or some suggested areas within which you should try to develop some form of novel / interesting software solution. At the terminus of the coding period, each team will then have the opportunity to give a short presentation / demo of the product. These presentations / demos are often judged by a panel whom award prizes at the end, before the final wrap up. Above all the most important part about a Hackathon is participation, as you never know what potential employers may be in attendance. They also serve as a very useful addition to ones CV and can help to make it stand out.

A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2017

On Saturday 23rd September 2017 a 24 hour Hackathon called “Hack The Midlands” kicked off at Millennium Point in Birmingham. Around 150 attendees turned up to share in the adventure of writing some code in teams. Quite a variety of participants took part including students from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham. Other participants included a number pre-university and several whom had graduated several years before. It wasn’t just students of computing taking part either, but also had participants from disciplines such as Maths, Physics and Psychology. Some of the participants travelled quite a distance to take part in the Hackathon, with several coming from St Andrews up in Scotland and one all the way from Italy. Nine Workshops were also taking place during the event, covering things from web development and Node.js to VR (online).

It wasn’t all just about writing code either with many teams working of electronic based projects such as a 3D Printer, Arduino, Breadboards and the like. A good bit of soldering and de-soldering was also taking place. Was really great to see a diverse range of ideas and projects being brought to light. For some this was their first Hackathon, for others they had been to many before as some of the images below of laptops covered with Hackathon stickers can attest to. A few mascots were also to be found dotted around the desks such as “Otto the Octopus”.

Useful Links
Hack The Midlands Website (online)
HaCS Hackathon and Computing Society, Birmingham City University (online)
HaCS Twitter Feed (online)
Aston Computer Science Society, Aston University (online)
ACCS Twitter Feed (online)
Computer Science Society, University of Birmingham (online)
CSS Twitter Feed (online)

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Keeping Cool
The 3D Printer Project was really quite interesting on two fronts. Firstly for the seemingly random parts deposited in the base and secondly for the innovative use of soft drink cans to elevate the printer to help facilitate systems cooling.

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Day 1 Tweets
Below can be seen a selection of twitter posts from the first half of the Hackathon event.

RGUHack 2016 Hackathon – Tweet Summary

Following on from my previous two posts, this one captures most of the Hackathon’s essence played out on Twitter. A few of the tweets may not be in chronological order as the tweets below are a collective from searches, hastags and @RGUHack tweets.

  • RGU Hackathon 2016 in Video (online)
  • RGU Hackathon 16-17th April 2016 โ€“ Event Photos (online)

RGU Hackathon 2016 in Video

Following on from my previous post highlighting events of the RGUHack 2.0 Hackathon (Online). This post focuses on some elements of video captured during the event. First up is a time-lapse of the 24 hour hackathon, this is followed by some interesting apps that are controlled by a Leap Motion. A Youtube playlist of these videos may be found (Online).

The first of these is a game of basketball, as you can see it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, however it makes for a really interesting way of interacting with a 3D environment and is really fun to play.

The other videos available below show the use of a Leap Motion to control the flight of an AR Parrot 2.0 Drone. Its is quite responsive and is easily controlled, – closing your hand will start it up, while raising or lowering your hand will have a corresponding effect on the drone as you could expect. Tilting your hand will result in the drone moving forward / back. It was really quite fun to fly, and would recommend that everybody should have a go at flying a drone via gesture control.

RGU Hackathon 16-17th April 2016 – Event Photos

On Saturday and Sunday 16th – 17th April 2016 the Second RGUHack Hackathon (RGUHack 2.0) took place with 51 participants coding for a 24 hour period starting at 13:00 on the Saturday afternoon.

RGU Hackathon 16-17 April 2016

Setup on the Saturday began a little before 08:00 to ensure the venue was ready to go for registration, kicking off at 10:00. The various challenges were presented at 11:00 followed by a spot of lunch. Then at 13:00 the main event kicked off with 24 hours of solid coding and problem solving.

One of the key ingredients of code generation is fuel, therefore at 18:00 a supply of around 45 pizzas from Dominos arrived to keep the coders going well into the night. Further refueling took place again around midnight with plenty of snacks in between until Breakfast around 07:00 – 08:00 on the Sunday morning. Then it was into the final stages of testing and debugging before getting ready to present the work.

Coding time eventually came to an end at 13:00 on Sunday and once again it was time to refuel in preparation for the presentations and prize giving. After that it was time to say farewell to the Coders/Hackers around 15:45, finishing up with some Group Photos.ย  Then it was time to tidy up after the event, all this was done and dusted by around 17:00. Just a few little bits remained to be packed up and posted off to MLH, with the last person leaving the building at 17:45.

Its likely that over the next few days some more photos, videos and the like will be made available online. As a few people were involved in taking pictures during the event & we had 3 GoPros setup around the venue recording a time-lapse at 30 second intervals. I hope you enjoy the 2^7 pictures available below and via the flickr album (Online).

The photos below and (Online) via flickr, should give a good sense of what the event was like, starting with the final group photo and working back to the the very start and the display of the hardware devices available toย  explore. One can get a good sense of what last years Hackathon was like by taking a look at the following Blog post (Online).

A big word of thanks goes out to all the Sponsors – ThePropertyAngel, Codify, GraduateAI, QCode, Sie, Redgate, Brightree, MLH & the School of Computing Science and Digital Media. In particular ThePropetyAngel and Brightree whom had representatives present during the afternoon of Saturday and again on the Sunday to view the presentations at take part in the judging panel. Myself @dcdoolan, John Isaacs @wilefireone and Sean Sturley @TheBitShepherd were present from the School to help ensure the event could take place & help out the student team with the logistics of running the Hackathon on campus.

You may wish to checkout the RGU Hackathon Website (Online), Twitter Feed (Online), or Facebook page (Online) to see more.

A big round of applause should certainly be paid to the team of half a dozen students who were instrumental in making this event a reality. Hopefully this annual Hackathon event will go from strength to strength. I’m sure we all can’t wait to see what RGUHack 3.0 will be like next year.

RGU Hackathon 16-17 April 2016

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24 Hour RGU Hackathon 18โ€“19th April 2015

On the weekend of 18โ€“19th April 2015 RGU’s first 24 hour Hackathon took place. Registration began on the Saturday morning at 10:00 with a total of 31 persons registering to take part on the day. At 11:00 and overview of the Challenges were given and a chance for team forming to take place. The challenges set out were in the general areas of working with hardware, data visualisation and SIE challenges. Hardware use took the form of gear such as the Myo Gesture Based Controller, Galileo Board and the Leap Motion. The second challenge on data visualisation was to make use of readily available data sets, examples included visualizing.org, open NASA data sets (over 9000 data sets available) and Twitter. The final challenge area was from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) with areas such as Health and Wellbeing, Green and sustainable energy resources and Smarter communities and infrastructure. Next on the agenda was lunch, in the form of around 20 Pizzas, all being devoured in a matter of minutes giving plenty of time to get organised and start coding exactly at 13:00 when the 24 hour countdown clock was started. The image below will take you to a Facebook Photo Album of the event.

Facebook RGUHack 2015 Album

The next 24 hours was all about coding coding and coding, with the odd few people taking a quick power nap here and there. During this period there were a few breaks at 18:00 for Dinner, midnight for Late Dinner and 08:00 for Breakfast. Twenty four hours later the countdown clock finally reached Zero at 13:00 on Sunday 19th April signalling the end of the hacking session. It was then time for a spot of lunch, and on to the presentation of the work undertaken by all the teams. Things finally finished up around 15:30 or so with a good number of prizes being awarded and everybody having had a great time. The organisers had everything packed up and the venue put back to normal by around 17:00.

All in all it was a great event with many of the organisers / participants not sleeping for around 40 hours or so. Many people got up around 05:30 to 06:30 on the Saturday morning and didn’t get to bed until 10:00 or after on the Sunday night. Many managed to get through the entire event without even a short nap, just a handful took some powernaps of 1 to two hours, with the odd one or two napping for around 3 hours – leaving still plenty of time for coding.

Photos and Tweets were generated by many of the attendees and organisers, right throughout the event. One can see quite a few tweets available from eventifier.com. Of the nine teams took part with eight surviving to the very end.

Well doneย to the Organisers
Well done to the student team who put in so much time and effort into organising, planning and hosting the event. Hopefully RGUHack 2.0 will not be too far away and will also be bigger and better. Perhaps the RGUCompSoc that has been quiet for the past 18 months may reform and come back with a series of mini hackathons, to get some hackathon coding practice and perhaps organise a few other events too.

Thanks should be mentioned to all the Office and Support staff who helped with booking the venue / sorting out the hardware. Thanks to the Academics who popped in during the event as well, – in order of appearance: Roger, John, Sean, Robin and Mathew, a particular thanks to John who provided some Intel Galileo Boards that were used by several teams & and was also present right throughout the night, keeping busy playing GTA V.

Student Tasks
Stan Main organiser and event host
Ross Radio, press, shopping, and generally helping out during the event
Alex AV systems, generally helping out during the event, judging panel, reception desk
Haroldas Website
Eimantas Wireless access
Lewis Event Photographer

Online Coverage
Hackathon Website (http://rguhack.uk/)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/RGUHack)
Facebook Photo Set (Online)
RGU Hack Facebook Page (Online)
Article in Press & Journal (Online)
Eventifier RGUHack 2015 (Online)
Eventifier RGUHack 2015 Twitter Contributors (Online)
Major League Hacking Website (Online)

The Teams, Projects & Winners

Team Project
Aberduino Developed quite an interesting app that was able to take input from a Myo Gesture Controlled Armband and display the type of gesture on LED Matrix display being controlled by an Arduino Board. One could readily build upon this to create some very interesting applications \ games using this alternative form of data input and processing.
Insomniac This team developed a Windows Phone Life Planner mobile App. The application had a number of screens including login, projects page, task list, schedule, friends signup. Overall the app had quite a user friendly and elegant design having the potential to be further developed.
Thinkstars Developed a Web App around one of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise Challenges. The main idea was to provide a site whereby one could learn about first aid techniques and home remedies to various ailments. It also included a Lifestyle survey feature to allow users to get a sense towards what degree of a healthy lifestyle they were leading.
Bits Please The project was designed around the idea of people moving to a new location. It provided a social environment where one could select language and location & could then find out info about the area, get to know others, and help improve oneโ€™s understanding of a foreign language.
Java The Hut Took on a Data Visualisation challenge, making use of a Leap Motion Controller and a data set on Meteor Strikes available from NASA. One was able to interact with Google Earth by making gesture movements in the vicinity of the Leap Motion such as swiping left/right to accordingly spin the globe around.The team also worked on a second app called โ€œSnooze You Looseโ€, the idea being that once could take geotagged photos of where your sleep and give a rating. Such an app could be useful for those doing lots of travelling.
Gallilop IT The Gallilop IT group developed a version of Bop It making use of a good deal of electronics mounted on a breadboard attached to a Galileo Board.
Answerity Created a web based app whereby one could ask questions and get answer in return, on any topic of interest. The idea being simple questions that were location specific. Users could up-vote or down-vote particular answers depending on how useful they were. The project made use of many technologies including Javascript, Backbone, jQuery and Bootstrap to name but a few.
AbertayHackers This group looked at Data Mining tweets. They first looked at geotagged tweets but less than 5% of tweets seemed to include geotagged data, thus didnโ€™t provide as much data as hoped. The team made use of cree.py in this task. Further work was done in the area of Sentiment Analysis looking for tweets that had a positive / negative meaning. A Python based web scraper was developed that allowed graphs to be generated giving an indication of the general positive/negative trend of specific search terms.

Winning Teams

Award Team Prize
1st Place AbertayHackers Dell Venue 8 Tablets & MLH Medals
2nd Place Answerty Raspberry Pi Model B
Special Mention Aberduino 8 Pack Redbull
Special Mention Bits Please 24 Pack Coke

Before and After Group Photos

Prizes and Presentations

Other Fun Tweets