Hack Upstate: The Results

It was a great weekend of building at Hack Upstate. Twenty projects were submitted to Hacker League to be demo-ed in front of judges. You can check out all the projects here.

The top prize went to Candy Crowd, an app that helps find and rate Halloween candy by household in a simple iOS interface. This is the second project that has won Ryan Gaus an award, this time an Amazon Echo for best overall hack.

The second place hack was also an iOS app. Michael Wagner, Jonathan Byman and their team took home Two Particle Photon WiFi Dev Kits and an Arduino starter kit for a game with a simple concept that had the audience completely engaged. The goal is to keep an ever-growing and shrinking circle in the allotted space by placing and removing your finger from your phone screen. The addition of obstacles, including aliens, at various levels had the rest of the hackers very excited about this project. I’m sure there will be some immediate buyers if this hits the app store.

Metis Consulting Group sponsored the Best Civic Hack (as well as spent time scoping talent, so if you need a gig, head here). Matthew Kopel took home this prize — a MOXO X-1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Floating Levitating Maglev Speaker and a CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Ultimate Starter Kit for his build, LinkCNY, a website with a very simple interface, meant to be read mobile devices. The site lets users find services like shelter, food, medical care and libraries and allows for filters based on location and whether they are open. Matthew’s goal was to make a product that could be copied and used by other municipalities in order to help needy populations. The Metis team was impressed with how easily the project could be distributed and how beneficial it could be to users..

Other projects of note included When Active, a social relationship management product that allows users to schedule tweets for when particular followers are active on Twitter. The amount of work that was done on this product and site over the twenty-four hour event was really incredible; the end product was very polished.

U Don’t Know Me, an online game where users answer questions and their friends earn points based on the correct answers, was well thought out and humorous. It was an engaging enough concept that there were a crowd of people playing during judge deliberations.

As usual, Hack Upstate was a fun event with incredible projects and some excellent opportunities to connect with others in the tech community. For the first time I stepped into the role of participant rather than observer, and I had an great experience building Puppies versus Kittens, but more on that next week. I’m already considering what my spring build might be.

Having trouble waiting until the spring event? Join the slack channel.