Revisiting UNIHACK 2014: A Photo Essay

A collection of photos from the very first competition last year.

… or the part where Terence finally decides to upload those photos after holding onto them for nearly a year.

Compared to this year’s competition, UNIHACK 2014 was a very small affair. 37 university students from all across Melbourne competed for the title of UNIHACK Champion and a $1500 cash prize (plus other goodies).

All they had to do was simply build a prototype within 24 hours. But to make it more challenging, we asked them to build something in relation to our theme, “Discovery.”

After some brief presentations from the organisers and Braintree, it was time to get to work. Everyone rushed to find a table so they can get started with developing their ideas, while the organisers were busy setting up each team’s private GitHub repository.

Some chose to work on the top floor…

… while others preferred the basement. One lucky team managing to score the couches first before anyone else.

And one of the organisers found himself a room.

We had a couple of mentors, some tech talks on the cloud and UI design, and a lot of pizza.

Of course, 24 hours is a long time. Some people talked. Others goofed around — especially on the IRC chat.

By midnight, the top floor was nearly deserted as people went home to sleep in their comfortable beds. They would return in the morning to finish off the rest of their work.

It was a different story in the basement, however, as they were still hard at work making their prototypes. Some tried to sleep in some of the meeting rooms (where they had no light switch).

Others didn’t even sleep at all.

And that’s sadly where we end the photo journey. One of the organisers (*cough*me*cough*) may have slightly forgotten to take pictures during Saturday.

When the clock said 5pm on Saturday, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The hard bit was now over.

After being given a rest day on the Sunday to recover, the teams came back on a Monday evening to present their ideas to the other teams, a small number of special guests, and — most importantly — the judges.

Some were doing last minute preparations to make sure presentations went off without a hitch.

Some were busy tweeting away to give live updates to those following the @UNIHACKMelb Twitter account.

And some were just waiting for the show to begin.

The 2014 WIRED and CISSA Presidents wait… and wait… and wait

There was a wide variety of hacks that were presented: from a one-click Minecraft generator, to an app that helps you find free barbeques on campus (that would be very popular with university students). We had ideas that could would find locations to change your current mood, and a way to “gamify” charity with Pong.

We even had one person showing off a video game they produced within the 24 hours. The main objective was to repair your spaceship before you ran out of batteries.

After listening to each team’s presentations, our panel of judges had the opportunity to question them about their idea — such as how the app was created, and any technical difficulties they encountered when trying to build it during the 24 hours.

Once it was all over, the seven judges went downstairs to deliberate on who should win this year’s competition. The judges found it difficult to decide on the winner with some great ideas presented on stage…

… however, in the end, it was Team LOKE and Friends from the University of Melbourne who won the judges over with a very simple idea: an iPhone app that can easily be described as “Tinder for Wikipedia.”

Called Snippet, the application would present you with a little fact from Wikipedia. It will then learn from your swipes and only present facts that were related to your swipe history (for example, if you liked a fact about hydrogen, it will display more science-related facts from Wikipedia).

Team LOKE and Friends and Team Test with the 2014 WIRED and CISSA Presidents

As the winning team, Team LOKE and Friends received $1500 in cash, seats in PwC’s prestigious Technology Academy, subscriptions to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service, co-working space at York Butter Factory, and other goodies.

The other prize winners (or “runners up”) were:

  • Discovr (Team Discovr, Monash University) won the Best Design and Best Use of Braintree’s API awards.
    This was a location-based goods trading app that takes away the waiting out of selling products. If you want to buy something or sell something, it will target people within a small radius of your location.
  • Cryptic (Team Test, the University of Melbourne) won the Most Creative Idea award.
    The app allowed users to hide everything in objects and allow others to find them.

As I stated before, UNIHACK 2014 was very small compared to this year’s event. We have more than doubled the number of poeple competing this year, and moved to a bigger venue.

It’ll be interesting to see what this year’s competitors come up with. And I cannot wait.

Thanks Steven Cooper (Braintree’s Dev Evangelist) and Tom Solari for also taking some pictures for us during UNIHACK 2014.

We would also like to thank all our mentors and judges for volunteering their time to make UNIHACK 2014 a great success.