The 24 hour Hack Midwest hackathon took place last weekend in Kansas City at Johnson County Community College. Developers mainly from Kansas and Missouri gathered at the school’s gym and stationed their workspace on its basketball floor surrounded by a huge track. Three teams using the Mashery API Network each won Hack Midwest’s Best Design, Most Entertaining, and the Mashery prize.
Hack Midwest organizer Michael Gelphman kicked off the Saturday morning opening ceremonies. I presented the Best Use of the Mashery API Network challenge and announced our prize: up to 3 Sparki Arduino powered robots.
Sponsor representatives from Rdio, MasterCard, Clarify, and Speedy Cash were also on-site presenting challenges. prizes, and providing support to participating developers.
Look! It’s Keith Casey!
Shortly after, contestants organized their teams and began hacking. Early in the event, I met a beginner developer eager to learn app development, and in just an hour with my little guidance, she registered for her Active API key and used I/O Docs to make calls, explored the Mashery API Network to obtain her Beats Music API key and built the HTML5 Beats Music App using Intel XDK. Her app accomplishment was impressive and she quickly began work on her next app using the HarperCollins API.
I later met a four member team addressing problems in medical emergency field. They built their “KwikER” app to provide users the fastest access to hospital emergency rooms and used the TomTom API to provide hospital locations.
Another team took the challenge of developing an app for the Pebble watch. Their app “R2DJ” allows users to DJ music with other users and provide additional information about music artists such as concerts using the JamBase API.
The winner of the Mashery prize was awarded to the three member team that created “Racio.” This music trivia game used the Rovi API to supply game questions. Team members demonstrated their app by having the audience log into and play the game live. Individuals raced against each other by successfully answering music related questions. The presentation screen displayed players progress through color bars and the first to reach the finish line won. The app experience was fun and intense.
Two other teams using the Mashery API Network achieved victory. “Blast Best Buy” won Hack Midwest’s Most Entertaining app. This app, created by a single developer gamified the shopping experience by placing users in a first person shooter virtual world, firing at products (data pulled from the Best Buy Categories API) and breaking down their contents to provide more detailed product information. Once a product was completely blasted (aka fully explored), users were awarded points. This app brought many smiles to the audience, received a thunderous applause and was definitely a crowd pleaser.
The Hack Midwest Best Design prize was awarded to an awesome five member team that created “Coder Coupling.” This dating app for programmers used the Yellow Pages API to provide data for possible date locations such as restaurants. It was amazing to see this app’s design evolve throughout the event which resulted in an eighties retro video game look inspired by Pac-Man.
I want to thank Michael Gelphman and all participating volunteers at Hack Midwest for helping organize this awesome event.
See more pictures from Hack Midwest here