Reporting back from AngelHack
We’re bringing you another guest post from our omnipresent Plug and Play team, this time from the Pearson co-sponsored London leg of AngelHack, the biggest hackathon competition in the world. Involving 6,000 hackers in 30 cities, the London hack ran from April 27 to 28.
Part of a series of hack events spread throughout time and space (well, multiple hack events in different cities around the world), the London event was held at Bloomsberg’s fabulous offices on the weekend of April 27-28. Great organization ensured that no-one was short of food, drink, power, WiFi or indeed advise for the whole weekend (I think this is the first hack I have attended where there were no network problems!!).
There were an impressive 200-250 people creating around 40 hacks by the end of the weekend, all of which were of an exceptionally high standard, and covering a broad range of solutions. The diversity of the hacks was very impressive, including Raspberry Pi’s controlling projectors, charitable donations website, chicken-egg incubator app (really !), mobile virtual golf game and many, many more. A heartfelt congratulations for all the teams for some truly amazing results after just over a day of solid hacking!
Of course, we were particularly interested in the hacks that made use of our Pearson APIs, and we were not disappointed. As part of our sponsorship of the event, we also had two prizes of a place on the TechMeetup Guru program - a ten week mentoring course to help startups with advice and mentoring - so we were looking forward to seeing what would be produced over the weekend. The hacks that leveraged Pearson APIs were as follows:
- Womble Positioning System - a mobile app used to determine where you are in the London underground, and tell you when you arrive at your destination station. Ideal for people using their headphones while on the tube !! The hack made use of our Eyewitness API to give travelers additional information about places of interest at their destination station.
- English for Aliens - teaching game (think of a mashup of MoshiMonsters and RosettaStone) for young children to teach them English in a fun way. Coded in flash, they made use of our Dictionaries API to add audio for words to the game. Lots of great graphics and colours, this is sure to capture the imagination of children, and should make a great learning aid.
- Wintern - a website to make it easier for interns and potential employers to meet up. Hiring of interns is an area of recruitment that lacks a good solution, and the team hopes that their solution will fill this hole. The hack made use of our Brilliant API to provide suggested reading for interns, and could be seen as a way to provide direct purchasing links to publications that could help interns find placements. Very polished webapp.
- Nibbli - realtime rating of restaurants. Use a mobile app to rate a restaurant while you are there, based on four criteria, and have your ratings reflected back in realtime. People can see how a restaurant is rated now, rather than some comments for 6 months ago. Incentives to get people to rate, and business model to work with restaurants to identify when/why business is slow. Uses the Eyewitness API to get geo-location information on restaurants in London.
- Advistro - like a stackoverflow, but for legal, tax and accounting. People could ask questions, and then professionals could provide answers. Also used the Brilliant API to get recommended reading. Again, very polished web app for 24 hours work, and are going to try to take to market.
- Startstrap - automate the setup of project resources, such as Github/facebook/twitter accounts, so you don’t have to go through the same manual process each time.Used the Dictionaries API to get synonyms for words to create twitter feeds, and DKImages to setup background pictures. All done by a one-man team! Impressive stuff.
Our ‘spot’ prizes of the places on the TechMeetup Guru programme did seem to be well received by the teams that entered. While it would have been nice to give an award to all the teams using our APIs, we had to pick two, so we ended up awarding them to: Wintern and Advistro. In both cases, they looked like they may progress with our APIs in the future, and both had commendably polished apps at the end of the hack.
A great weekend with diverse solutions to diverse problems, held in a great venue with a relaxed and fun atmosphere. It was really fun to work with the various different teams using our APIs and seeing how they could make best use of them.
Lawrie Nichols is a developer in our Future Technologies team’s Plug and Play crew.
(via AngelHack London @ Bloomberg (Spring 2013 hackathon) - Eventbrite - Image source)