HackIllinois awards hardware, software projects

By Yi Zhu

Over seven inches of snowfall didn’t stop HackIllinois 2015, which ended with an awards ceremony Sunday afternoon. By 10 a.m. Sunday, the 36-hour hacking event came to an end.

VR Spec, Pintalk and Teleport were awarded the top three prizes in software category and Oculus Scooter, Cloud Scout and Button Light were awarded the top three prizes in the hardware category.

At 12:30 p.m., the final expo and demonstration ceremony was held in the ballroom of Illini Union, where each team was placed at an exposition table to display their finished projects. Judges, which include faculty from electrical and computer engineering and computer science department, as well as two invited VIP judges gave comments.

“We are really interested to see people combine multiple technologies together.” said Greg Baugues, a VIP judge and developer evangelist at Twilio, Inc. “But sometimes people are doing too much and trying to include too many features in. It’s better to focus on two to three features and do those really really well.”

Baugues added that while judging projects, judges base their views on the project’s technical complexity, how surprising the idea was, how useful it is and how polished the finished product is.

Sam Baugh is a sophomore in computer science at the University of Chicago. His team created a software project called Roomie Connect, which helps roommates keep track of each other’s information. Even though they didn’t win any prizes, Baugh said he enjoyed the process of hacking.

“Our project makes it a lot easier for roommates to keep track, like who paid what bill and contribute to what kind of thing and so forth,” Baugh said. “We don’t come here for prizes, we are just very happy to see a lot of attendants, good energy and good products going around here.”

Zack Peory, sophomore in computer science at Purdue University expressed his dissatisfaction with the hackroom.  

“We have attended many Hackathons, one of the differences we actually didn’t like was that the rooms are pretty set,” Peory said. “So in a lot of Hackathons you are free to move around to meet with other people, whereas we felt like we are almost locked in one area here.”

Sri Vasamsetti, the event’s external operating director, said they will are working on using feedback from the event to improve the mentor, application and judging processes.

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