With anticipation looming large, a night before the day of the Hackathon, we were excited! Having an unexpectedly huge number of registrations from participants from all across Bangalore and other cities, over one thousand to be precise, we were under the weight of delivering the best to the choicest talent.
The next morning, we arrived at the venue to a sea of participants waiting at the reception, many hours before the start. Our energies doubled. We rushed inside to make sure our last minute arrangements were made before we could welcome the surge of geeks. Our registrations, revealed a diverse mix of people, right from a team of 12-14 year olds to hard core hackers and seasoned professionals with over 17 years of experience. All awaiting to witness what was to unfold.
When it all began:
Seats were all taken. The ambiance was buzzing with pleasantries and strategies. The curtain was raised with a headcount summation demonstrated with a divide and conquer algorithm . After a quick run-down of the day’s events and formation of teams, Hacking began.
Coffee and code:
With their morning dose of caffeine, programmers got on to hatching their plots and creating flow charts to execute their ideas. Since the theme endorsed was on building mobile and web applications on any domain, we had hackers letting their hair down to a host of technologies and domains. By the first half of the Hackathon, before they could all break for lunch, concepts were taking shape, ideas exchanged were being fused into design and teams huddled around their laptops to bring ideas to conception.
For code huggers:
Hack Trilogy, a prelude to the event was followed with some more nerdy surprises at the Hackathon with spot quizzes thrown out as challenges post lunch. One of the quizzes that gripped everyone’s attention was a live programming challenge in which a game was spontaneously developed and anyone who could replicate it in their respective languages bagged a prize.
As messengers of the future:
Letters to the future was a hearty surprise thrown at the end of the hack that got the crowd rushing to the letter booth. The booth consisted of a post box and colorful blank inmail letters. Participants could write letters to their future self- with things that they would like to see come true. We’ve promised to scan and mail their letter back to them exactly a year from the day of the event, for them to see if their predictions, hold true.
We had in our panel of Jury, Pankaj Rai- director of Dell Global Analytics, Ranjan Malik- Innovation facilitator and methodology developer, GBS Bindra-Founder & CEO at Tagos, Salil Godika- Chief Strategy & Marketing officer at Happiest Minds, Bharathi Muniswamy- Pre Sales Head, Thulasinathan Rajamani- Delivery Leader from Wipro Digital and our Chief Geek – Vivek Shangari. Despite their vast experience and knowledge, they did not hold back on their hunger for new ideas and intently heard out to contrasting views.
When the sun set:
Running last minute tests, polishing on their presentations-Programmers were on the edge of their seats. Hacking stopped. A range of applications and ideas came out of this hackathon. Some of the applications that stood out were, one that could control watering systems for crops, a hardware hack by which the wheels of the model car could be controlled by facial movements. Our youngest hackers in the house were brilliant, giving the likes of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana a run for their money, with their web based voice recognition app.
All in all, we had over 80 odd teams presenting a unique program each. Despite the evaluations running beyond the scheduled time, our participants at Code the Future didn’t let their spirits deter. They went on to present and encourage their fellow hackers. The facilitators, technicians and support staff from Wipro Digital also need a huge mention for their relentless effort to kept the wheels of the hackathon in motion.
As the stage was set, the judges were all seated for the finale, the anticipation among the 7 presenting teams grew stronger. As the teams came in one by one, the audience gathered closer to the stage to get a better look at the as interesting display of each idea. While every team stood out from the other, only one could be crowned winner. With the concluding presentation, the score sheets were gathered to determine the champions of Code the Future.
The last lap:
Team Zense emerged as sublime champions for their application that uses Near Field Communication technology to simplify the experience of commuting through digital pass that can be topped up anywhere- anytime.
Inching in as the first runners up were Team Hexagonal Loop- their application presented aimed at optimizing limited cabs in the city by sending cab-sharing requests to potential passengers who are heading to a common destination.
Team Smart Sprinklers came in as second runners for their application that has the capability to control water levels for crops based gauging humidity and climate conditions.
At the end of it all:
As we drew curtains and bid farewell to our audience, we sat in retrospect awe-struck at all that was achieved in just a day. Witnessing technological miracles, collaborating with people from all walks- proved to be greatest learning of all. We concluded that the future rests in the hands of exceptional minds, who go beyond the tried and make the impossible true with sheer grit and might of the mind.