Lights, Camera, Hack-tion
Everyone has heard of telethons, but if you’re not part of the tech community, you may never have heard of a hackathon, a multi-day event during which teams work intensively and collaboratively to solve an engineering challenge.
In May, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering was the site of Hack NYU, and more than 20 groups tested their skills in programming, design, time management, and teamwork to develop apps aimed at making life at NYU better.
Sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the student club Patent Pending, Hack NYU resulted in several innovative ideas, including VChronos, an app that would help students pick an optimal class schedule, and (on the other end of the spectrum) Unplastered, a personalized app that would calculate blood alcohol level and text a friend for help if the user became incapacitated.
One app, NYU Events, which has already launched officially, uses crowdsourcing to consolidate events from all NYU schools and student groups, making it easier to RSVP to organizers and maintain a jam-packed calendar. “[That one won] best design because it was built over the course of 48 hours and it was surprisingly well-designed, which I think was pretty fantastic,” Earl Co, the School of Engineering student who helped organize the hackathon, said. “It was an app that I would use myself; I admin several groups on Facebook and saw it personally as an app that I could use to tag specific things.” Users should definitely start thinking of their own ideas and make sure to tag the 2015 hackathon once it’s announced.