1400 developers stormed LA Hacks last weekend. This three day collegiate hackathon located at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion brought together hackers from around the nation, and across the seas from as far as Asia. Members of the MLH (Major League Hacking) defending championship team, Terrapin Hackers from the University of Maryland, arrived to the event as competitors and volunteers, true champions indeed. LA Hacks was poised for groundbreaking innovative excellence with a much anticipated surprise keynote speaker, leading industry mentors, speakers and guests, and a fun learning component known as LA HackCamp, a special track at La Hacks focused on teaching passionate beginners how to code.
LA Hacks transformed Pauley Pavilion into a concert like setting with an enormous video screen and stage for Friday night’s opening ceremony.
The mystery keynote speaker was none other than Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat. The crowd greeted him with a thunderous applause. His keynote message emphasized the importance of human relationships formed through passionate conversations.
MLH co-founder Jon Gottfried served as the event’s host, outlined hackathon details to attendees, and gave the green light to begin hacking.
The Pauley Pavilion floor was filled with developers working on their projects. As I made my way through the hundreds of hackers, I met many familiar faces from previous hackathons including HackTECH, BoilerMake, and HackPSU.
It was awesome to meet the international team Jiffi, comprised of members all the way from Singapore and Canada.
There were so many attendees eager to learn from my workshop “Building a Mobile App with the Mashery API Network,” that I made it a mentor mission of mine: “To teach all, and leave no hacker behind.”
LA Hacks and LA HackCamp attendance for my Mashery workshop grew from tens to hundreds. Attendees built their very first mobile app using the Beats Music, World Weather Online, Rotten Tomatoes, and CrunchBase APIs (all part of the Mashery API Network), and successfully used the mobile app builder tool, Intel XDK to create their app in just minutes. It was an amazing experience.
The Mashery sponsored prize for the “Best App Using The Mashery API Network” was the DiscoRobo “Dancing Robot.”
A whopping 224 apps were submitted for judging. The Mashery prize was awarded to “Ask Andy,” the voice controlled assistant for the home created by an awesome two member team from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Jose State University.
This software and hardware hack (using the Rasberry Pi) informs users of the weather (invoking the services of the World Weather Online API), automatically sends email and text messages, and changes the channel on your television simply from the user’s voice.
Tinder CEO, Sean Rad awarded the $5000 grand prize to “Tread” a virtual reality adventure experience in which a users is secured into a treadmill wearing the Oculus Rift Headset and special shoes, and is immersed into another world. This winning app, created by a three member Terrapin Hackers team also used the Arduino micro-controller board and Unity game engine to create this visually stunning, virtual reality experience.
I want to thank the LA Hacks team led by Hadar Dor for giving hackathon participants the opportunity to express and challenge themselves through app building.
And thank you participating volunteers and sponsors for making LA Hacks an incredible event.
See more pictures from LA Hacks here