Audible Awards $26,000 to 19 University and Developer Teams at Hackathon Organized by NYC Media Lab

Teams imagine “the future of listening” with projects ranging from virtual reality apps to personalized mobile experiences

NYC Media Lab
May 4, 2016 · 4 min read
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NEW YORK, New York — May 4, 2016 — Audible, Inc., the world’s largest seller and producer of digital audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, celebrated budding innovators at the Future of Listening Hackathon, a two-day event held April 15–16, in partnership with NYC Media Lab during which developers, designers and creative technologists explored audio storytelling using the all-new Audible API. Nineteen teams composed of computer science and design students drawn from as far away as the Rhode Island School of Design came together with dozens of Audible employees to imagine “the future of listening” together and vie for cash prizes. The teams competed to conceive innovations that unleash the power of the spoken word, and were judged on their capacity to articulate the customer-centricity of the vision, the depth of technical advances under the hood, the level of innovation, and the cleverness of insight.

19 teams presented concepts, prototypes and live demonstrations to a panel of Audible judges including Don Katz, Founder and CEO; Francis Shanahan, VP of Engineering; Tyler Lund, Senior Manager of Software Development; David Reid, Senior Director of User Experience; and Kalpana Banerjee, Sr. Director Product Management.

“My head is still spinning because of the out-of-the-box and brilliant new ideas and concepts that these young innovators have come up with,” said Katz.

“My head is still spinning because of the out-of-the-box and brilliant new ideas and concepts that these young innovators have come up with,” said Katz. “As Audible continues to grow and thrive, we are thrilled to remain a platform for inspiration, and are committed to mentoring the next generation of innovators.”

In addition to judging the demos on Saturday, Katz attended the event’s Friday evening sessions and welcomed the crowd. At the event’s conclusion, before the winners were announced, Katz generated an additional round of excitement by changing the rules. He exclaimed that each of the teams that did not place would get $1,000 in recognition of their effort. Per the Hackathon’s original rules, only the winning team was expecting a cash prize.

The top winning teams, listed by prize, team members and project description are:

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Grand Prize ($5,000)

Allan Yarmulnik, Harry Slotwiner

Audible Live, a new way to listen to audiobooks with friends that incorporated live video chat.

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First Prize ($3,000)

Will Moritz, Parker Phinney

What color did for video, we’re doing for audio. Musical scores for audiobooks.

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Second Prize ($2,000)

Miyeon Kim, Mikei Huang, Iris Qu, Yue Lin

An app called Audible Kids, bringing together hands-on activities and 3D virtual reality, giving kids the opportunity to express their creativity while listening to an audiobook.

Third Prizes ($1,000)

The hackathon was officially announced by Francis Shanahan, VP of Engineering of Audible on September 25, 2015 at NYC Media Lab’s Annual Summit. NYC Media Lab and Audible representatives targeted outreach and recruitment for the hackathon in March 2016 and visited multiple design and engineering campuses at NYC Media Lab’s participating universities. The information sessions and a marketing and communications campaign attracted over 125 applications to participate in the hackathon.

“We are grateful to Audible for creating this opportunity to engage with the NYC Media Lab community,” said Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. “The volume and quality of the ideas presented is a testament to the creativity and technological imagination of the community, and to the commitment of Audible’s technology team to invest in new talent and new ideas.”


Audible, Inc., an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 250,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.


Founded in 2010, NYC Media Lab is dedicated to driving innovation in media and technology by facilitating collaboration between the City’s universities and its companies. Comprised of a consortium including seventeen member companies and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York University, Columbia University, The New School, CUNY, the School of Visual Arts, IESE and Pratt Institute, NYC Media Lab’s goals include generating research and development, knowledge transfer, and talent development across all of the City’s campuses. More is at and on Twitter at @nycmedialab.

Media Contact: Amy Chen,, +1 (914) 602–9420

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