On 21st-22nd November, developers around the country and beyond gathered for 24 hours at the National Library of Romania to attend DevHacks, the hackathon where you code for a good purpose and drive change in society. DevHacks’ long term purpose is to provide the right set up and stakeholders to develop smart solutions in order to create a better local reality. During this year’s edition, the focus was Smart City.
Having to choose between 3 main themes, the majority went for Smart building, while the others took up the challenge to develop either a software or hardware solution that indicates the public safety points and first aid stations, or a solution to improve transportation and shape the Smart traffic of tomorrow.
After a nutritious breakfast along with a good cup of coffee and inspired by a series of insightful talks on Smart City, the participants were finally ready and eager to dive into the 24h coding marathon. The competition was rough and intense and time wasn’t on their side. Nevertheless, the contestants faced up to the challenge and managed to turn ideas into impactful apps and smart devices.
Driven by passion, the possibility of winning 2500 Euros, pure ambition, the idea of making new friends or the desire to learn new things, over 150 developers accepted the challenge and signed up for DevHacks, which turned out to be a valuable source of inspiration and creative solutions. Each team was guided by a group of IT specialists who assisted them throughout the coding process and helped with advice and feedback whenever the teams faced a problem.
Amongst the mentors there were also present Andrei Craciun – Senior Software Engineer at Intel Corporation, Ion Meitoiu – DevOps Engineer at Adobe, Mike Elsmore – Developer Advocate & IBM Cloudant at IBM, Radu Amarie – Head of Engineering at Findie, Adrian Gaspar – Senior Layout Engineer at Microchip Technology. In addition, more professionals with admirable work experience and vast expertise in IT&C joined us at the event and helped the teams find the right direction and tools in order to finish their prototypes in time. If you are interested, you can find the entire list of mentors and jury members here.
Smart solutions presented at DevHacks
The magic mix of passion for coding and hard work reflected on the final presentations. The demos were really insightful and provided relevant solutions to the existing problems. Below you can find some of the prototypes presented at the end of the event.
Corporate Bulldog Studios created Foinder, a real-time indoor positioning system. The app is a personal guide to your destination and it is Beacon oriented.
In the future, all the buildings will have Beacons or other positioning mechanism. As you enter the building it will push the building plan, beacons’ position and points of interest to your device.
Fat Cats developed an application named CommunityHelp which is addressed to those who need to receive first aid as soon as possible. The product is an Android app for client and includes a Google App Engine python server, datastore, Google Cloud Messaging for push notifications on clients’ phones , a background service listening for notifications, a Location Manager for exact location (GPS+GSM+wifi) and Google Maps.
In shaping their idea, Stack Spanners addressed a common problem : office buildings need to use a smart energy management system. Thus, they come up with a solution for this problem : a system that will assure lower energy consumption without sacrificing comfort. How? The needs are predicted by learning the habits of the occupants.
Their proposal was to create a smart box which would be placed in each room of the building and would be connected to different sensors and interactors (room thermometer, weather service, cooler ‘’motor’’-AC, Heater “motor”, knob for manual override, presence sensor, date/season.)
The smart box has full autonomy on the room’s temperature and adjusts program according to the usage habits of the room. The device also logs all the transitions and sensor readings to an analytics server for future data mining and uses energy efficiently by keeping the temperature at constant levels.
Team Goldie Lab developed a common language for all of the devices in a home that can be accessed through the mobile phone or through web. The device is called Mango and here is what you can do with it.
Smartrus created an app for tourists who don’t want a guide and prefer to use their phones. The app is based on a map which indicates the possible routes you can take from the point that you’re standing. After the user chooses a route, he can point the mobile camera towards an objects from the proximity and, with the help of augmented reality, he receives details about the place he’s at and also clues about the next objective. See more about it here.
Even though the participants focused mostly on developing software solutions, one team came up with the idea to actually create a device, thus choosing to approach the matter from a hardware point of view. The team we’re talking about is Robopit and curiously enough, their IoT solution scored the most points from the Jury and consequently they won the competition.
The team managed to create a device with the purpose of monitoring old buildings and prevent unexpected events such as gas explosions or fire. They used ArduinoYun in the development process and a 3D printer for the box. The device is ought to be placed on the pillars of the building and in case something happens, the habitants receive push notifications and SMS alerts. Below you can see how the prototype looks like at the end of 24 hours of hardcore coding.
“We felt really good at DevHacks. The mentors offered us moral support and very important advice on how to prepare for the final presentation. Thank you for your appreciation and we will surely meet again at the next event!” said one of the members of Robopit.
Robopit wasn’t the only winning team, as SoftArtists also received in exchange for their hard work, a special prize from Accenture : “Look & Feel”. SoftArtists successfully developed a solution for safety and first aid. Their thoughts on the event : “We would like to congratulate you for the organization! We felt very good during the event, the environment was nice and the location – appropriate for this sort of event. The 24h of coding were very tiring, but we had full support from the organizing team.’’
Corporate Bulldog Studios also shared their opinion on DevHacks : “The hackathon was well organized and during the entire 24 hours not only we worked efficiently, but we also had fun! We didn’t lack anything”.
Furthermore, HACKuna Matata cared to mention that they felt very good at DevHacks : “For us it was a very interesting event and we learned a lot. I don’t think that any of us has anything else to say about the event, aside from good things”.
Deloitte Deamons also sends their appreciation. In their own words : “Thanks for your hospitality, we felt great and welcomed. We really enjoyed the event and we believe that it was well organized. Keep up with the good work!”
Judging by the feedback received from the participants, the event was overall highly appreciated and the contestants were more than happy with the environment, the tasty food and the organizers ,who were very helpful and attentive.
However, the event couldn’t have possibly go so well if it were not for the support of DevHacks’s sponsors. Our appreciation and gratitude go to Accenture, IBM, Teamnet and Brainspotting. Furthermore, many thanks to all DevHacks’ community supporters, such as Onyx Beacon, DevAcademy, ANIS, Viva Telecom and many others. To see the full list of supporters, please click here .
We support cool IT projects & young talent
Last but not least, we would like to let you know that Dev Talks Romania supports cool IT projects and talented young developers. Adrian Gaspar, Senior Layout Engineer at Microchip Technology and also one of Robopit’s mentors at DevHacks, coordinates a robotics team, formed only by Romanian developers. Very active, the team takes part in a lot of international contests, such as “All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament, which took place in Tokyo, in December 2015.There, Gaspar’s team managed to conquer 2nd place, 3rd and 4th place. Here’s a short video from the competition in Japan.
In order to encourage these young talented developers to continue with their work and pursuit their dream, they need support, so if you would like to be a part of the team’s development and future success, don’t hesitate and contact Adrian Gaspar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dev Talks Romania is thankful to all developers and sponsors who joined us at DevHacks & Dev Talks this year and we promise next editions will be even more awesome! Stay tuned for DevTalks 2016 and DevHacks 2016 and let’s add value to our local IT community!