Hack Arizona Spring 2015 Winners


With over 67 project submissions, Hack Arizona is proud to announce that we experienced one of the highest submission rates amongst the major collegiate hackathon circuit. We are all absolutely thrilled to have the privilege to support such a phenomenal community of developers, inventors and hackers. It has been a crazy experience and one that we only hope to scale and improve upon in the hackathons to come.
Keep building things for the sake of building things, pushing your boundaries, breaking the rules and moving the world forward.

Hack On,

~ Ian Tracey, Founder and Chief Organizer of Hack Arizona

Now, here are the winning teams and the challenges they competed in!

A preview of the mobile app ‘Easy Speak’

Hack Arizona included several different types of teams and backgrounds, from beginners with zero programming experience to some of the most advanced programmers. To celebrate this, Hack Arizona included an award category just for beginners: the ‘Best Beginner Hack’. The winning hack was ‘Easy Speak’, a project designed to help facilitate casual second language learning by acting as flash cards over SMS. The team behind Easy Speak had four members: Josh Sommers, Tyler Mitchell, Lisa Zhang, and Josh Djakaria. Each of them were awarded a Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ for winning this category.

While 36 hours may sound generous, Hack Arizona’s time limit was truly that: a limit. In order to recognize teams whose projects were cut off by time, Hack Arizona included the award category ‘Close, But No Cigar’. The winner of this category was the Robotic Algorithms Team, who built a robot that teaches itself how to walk via a genetic algorithm. The team’s four members, Brandon Schmalzel, John Dance, Pierce Simpson, and Amanda Belles, each won a Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+s for their project.

The Robotic Algorithms robot on final demo day

The next award category is ‘Best of Health’. This category recognizes the hack with the greatest positive impact on health, and its winner is Half Full. Half Full is a service which regularly sends users SMS text messages to keep track of the user’s emotional state and, should the need arise, contact friends and family to assist the user. Half Full’s five member team, comprised of Raquel de Horna Garcia, Matthew Poulton, Alice Ferng, Tiffany Son, and Navin Chaganti, each won Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+s.

Team photo of ‘Half Full’

Up next is ‘Best of Sustainability’. Awarded to the hack with the greatest positive impact on sustainability, this year’s winner was GridLock. Gridlock is a simulation designed to model, analyze, and optimize traffic flow at traffic lights. Gridlock was created by John Cava, Christian Robles, and Aritro Majumdar, each of whom received Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+s for their winning project.

Team ‘Gridlock’ posing with Tucson-local company Metropia

We then come to our next award category: ‘Best of Software’. Software is a world of infinite possibilities and there were countless amazing hacks here at Hack Arizona. Unfortunately, we could only choose one winner for this category, and that was Eventify. Eventify is an app designed to simplify and streamline event information, making finding and sharing events as easy as one button press. Eventify was created by Siddarth Ravishankar and Shivkanth Bagavathy, who each received Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+s for winning this category.

Ballin’ like usual with the ‘Eventify’ team

Of course we cannot recognize software without recognizing the other side of the coin, hardware. With the help of sponsors such as Major League Hacking, Hack Arizona was able to provide all sorts of hardware such as Oculus Rifts, Pebbles Smartwatches, Leap Motions, Myo arm bands, and Arduinos and we were happy to see so many of them put to good use. In the end, the winner of our ‘Best Hardware Hack’ category was the Arduino ASL Translator, which used Arduino microcontrollers to translate hand gestures to speech. The translator’s maker, Thomas Pryor, won a Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ for his project.

Hack Arizona organizer David Hung with Thomas from ‘ASL Translator’

Hack Arizona is proud to present the category ‘Best Drone Hack’ in partnership with Raytheon. Awarded to the team with the best overall hack with a Parrot Ar.Drone, this year’s Best Drone Hack goes to ShowMe. The ShowMe drone allows for cooperative guidance controlled through hand gestures via a leap motion through any terrain or area. This streams a direct camera feed to the user of a 3d world via oculus rift using Respoke API for streaming, who in turn shares a video call with the guide, allowing users to tour a house, a new vacation spot, a ropes course, or even a dangerous, unmapped terrain with the assistance of a guide or mentor all from the comfort of their own home. The creators of ShowMe, Taylor Cox, Omri Hazan, David Bresnick, Cameron Morrell, and Nick Bellisario each received their own Parrot Ar.Drone 2.0 Elite compliments of Raytheon for winning this category.

Team photo of ‘Show Me’

Finally, Hack Arizona is proud to present the grand prize winner in partnership with the Global Hackathon Seoul team: an all expenses paid trip to the Global Hackathon in Seoul, South Korea! And the moment we have been waiting for…

Arduino ASL Translator!

Congratulations again to all of our winners. A special thanks to Michele Norin, Raytheon, Melissa Vito, UA Libraries and all of our Sponsors.

Without your continued support this event would not of been possible. We appreciate everything that has been done and we are already thrilled for next year. Lastly, Hack Arizona would like to thank our Hackers. Without you we would have no purpose.

Thanks Again!

~ Hack Arizona Team