ASU's 36-hour hackathon encourages participants to create apps and websites to better the community
When people think of hackers, a picture of someone slumped over a computer in a dimly-lit room often comes to mind; but who knew hacking skills could be used for good?
A 36-hour hackathon at Arizona State University, Hacks for Humanity, encouraged participants to do just that. Oct 7–8, teams of hackers from all over the world gathered together, utilizing their technology and teamwork skills to create apps and websites to better the community.
“After talking with people that have been to other hackathons, they say ‘most people come with an idea, they come with a team pre-built, and they’re just there to compete,’” said Anie Miles, a faculty associate for the Graphic Information Technology program at ASU. “Here, part of the process is building the team, and those are some of the skills you take away from it.”
By including participants from theater to business backgrounds, the Project Humanities-sponsored event shattered the myth that hacking is exclusively for coding and developing experts. Teams needed to not only develop a technology from scratch, but present it in a creative and innovative way, requiring the insight of all participants.
From an app to help users track volunteer hours to a website that encourages mentoring and companionship with people with special needs, the hackers' ideas were creative and varied. Ultimately, a team that created a volunteer matching app called "Envolve" took home first place.
Computer science major Harish Ravichandran talks with his team members about their application, "RecognizeWe," a service app that tracks volunteer hours and rewards attendees with points.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Participants at the Hacks for Humanity event on Oct. 7 gather into groups and disperse throughout the Stauffer Builing.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Lisette Borja, a digital culture major, and Holden Halford, a chemical engineering major, bend over a computer to discuss their project, "Evolve," a website that encourages mentoring and companionship with people with special needs.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Gaurav Deshpande, Eddie Lai and Umta Younadim continue into the night working on creating their application, "Ecofuut." The app is designed to track an individual's energy usage, encouraging users to be more aware of their impact on the environment.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Priti Yadav and Devyash Lodha brainstorm their project idea for the Hacks for Humanity event on Oct. 7.Photo by Jarod Opperman
TJ Cuddy works on his team's application, "RecognizeWe," while relaxing on a chair made of balloons and masking tape. The team was awarded third place at the hackathon.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Deep in concentration, computer enginering major Bing-huei Lin wears headphones to block out any distractions at the Hacks for Humanity event.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Yuyu Bao, Ty Muhammad, Qi Wang, Jeanbat Busisi and Achyut Shrestha brainstorm for their project, "Gabby," a robot that tracks an elder's health and alerts emergency personnel of a critical fall. The team won second place for their idea.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Eddie Lai, a chemical engineering major, lies on a table to rest his eyes while his long-time friend and teammate, Gaurav Deshpande, works beside him.Photo by Jarod Opperman
After a long day of hacking, teams take a break and participate in a "silent disco." Each participant wore wireless headphones and danced to synchronized music outside of the Stauffer Building.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Jacob Robinson, Julia Cannon, Mohitn Doshi and Anthony Nicholas gather around team member Summer Gautier, a 16-year-old high school student.Photo by Jarod Opperman
Christian Chee, a technology entrepreneursip major, leads a discussion about his team's app, "Envolve." The team won first place at the hackathon for their volunteer matching app.Photo by Jarod Opperman