Creativity Rules at Internet of Things World Hackathon | Cypress Semiconductor
Creativity Rules at Internet of Things World Hackathon
What would you create if you were given a development kit, a team of strangers and a deadline?
Nine teams accepted that challenge at the hackathon event during the Internet of Things World conference last week in Palo Alto, Calif.
Participants were encouraged to team up by interest. They were armed with 30 hours of project time and development tools from companies like Broadcom, which handed out 50 of its WICED connectivity platforms to potential participants: 25 WICED™ Wi-Fi and 25 WICED Bluetooth SMART kits.
Teams were asked to create projects in either of two categories: consumer products and business Internet of Things (IoT) products. Once the clock hit 11 a.m. Tuesday, the conference room at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto became a tech lab. Strangers formed teams and ideas started to become reality.
As the event headed into its final stretch Wednesday afternoon, cans of energy drinks and water bottles had lined up next to laptops and bundles of wires throughout the hotel conference room.
See photos from the Hackathon on Broadcom’s Facebook.
Qinwei Wang’s team kept working after the conference room doors closed at 11 p.m. Tuesday. The team moved to nearby office space and worked until past midnight on their project. They were back again as soon as the doors opened Wednesday morning. The team’s goal was to get kits from different companies — including a Broadcom WICED SMART™ kit — to communicate via a touchscreen device. She and a teammate worked on the connections at the table, while others worked on the floor nearby, building a foam-board display.
At another table, Phillipe Furlan’s team was using a Broadcom WICED SMART™ kit to drive a small motorized robot with bright red wheels. Eight AA batteries provided the power and a smartphone app would act as a remote control. Furlan said his team’s hardware and software specialists were key to building the robot.
Ram Vayyuru and Shavish Jamethe met at the hackathon and joined the team building a tool to control door locks. They linked a Broadcom WICED™ Wi-Fi kit and a small motor to a lock. Jamethe demonstrated how they were able to unlock the doorknob with a swipe via a smartphone app.
Jamethe, a software developer in his day job, said the inspiration for the project came from a source close to home for him.
“My preteen daughter asked for something like this,” he said.
Hackathons like this one give tech tinkerers a platform to be creative and spontaneous, said Paul Doherty, one of the MCs at event. These events also put a practical spin on that creativity by encouraging tangible products that could become part of the marketplace one day.
“These are the folks that get to take big stuff and become entrepreneurs,“ he said. Doherty is president and CEO of the Digit Group, which organizes similar hackathons at other industry events.
The winners were decided by a panel of judges from sponsor companies who rated the projects for the ingenuity of their ideas and competency of their coding. The competing teams created projects in either of two categories: consumer and environmental IoT products. In first place in the consumer IoT group was team Tracker for a teeth grinder tracker, which is designed to collect information about users’ teeth-grinding habits. The winning environmental IoT group was team Aqualung, who created a device that measures water quality (including PH and oxygen levels and temperature) using a module from Electric Imp, based on the Broadcom BCM43362 chip.