Leeds Hack a huge success

Over the weekend, Futurelabs teamed up with Leeds Hack to run a 24 hour, non-stop hackathon.

Developers from across Leeds joined us to meet the challenges set by the judges. The challenges ranged from mapping all the stars in the galaxy to creating a functioning doorbell for the Futurelabs team. The 8 teams then had to beat the clock to present something that worked within 48 hours.

While devouring a tower of pizzas and gallons of coffee, the teams worked day and night to finish their hack. Many of the team members chose to stay awake through the night coding and fixing bugs. Others attempted to get a few hours of sleep on our sofas, floors or anywhere vaguely cushy. At the end of the 48 hours the teams were brought together and had 5 minutes to pitch their work to a panel of judges. What the teams managed to achieve in such short amount of time was amazing; ranging from creating fun online games to serious data organising.

Blackburn Brothers took on the best .tech hack and the Func-off challenge and won both! The team created a map to show all the software comitts in the world in real time through a their .tech site. The judges were impressed with their ambition and the fact that they managed to create a complex site in such a short time. For this reason, they took home the awards for both challenges.

For the company challenge, ‘Undefined is Not a Function’ took home the prize for their brilliant ‘Chemistery’ game for kids. The team are super passionate about making learning fun so the team created a game that challenged children to combine different chemical formulas to get a reaction. Fully formed with sound and design, the judges could really see the game being used by school children.

For the Arup challenge of ‘Putting your hack on the map’, team Star Tech were declared the winners. The team looked at data sets from various Leeds groups such as Data Mill, Leeds City Council, National Statistics, Reddit and even Pokemon Go. They then used SAS to clean the data & Tableau for reporting. They produced a map that showed where in Leeds is the best quality of life dependant on safety, education and crime levels. They even mapped where to catch the best Pokemon! The judges had a hard time choosing between Star Tech and Team Quartett who used the similar data sets to create a tongue in cheek Leeds Top Trumps game. Ultimately, the inclusion of Pokemon Go won over the judges.

For our own Futurelabs challenge, we asked teams to help create a new door bell system that would  make life easier for our meet ups and staff. Team Undefined Behaviour took home the award for their door bell that could be integrated with notifications from Slack or by text.

The Leeds Uni team won the University Challenge to organise the 40gb of data Gaia sends to Earth every day. The team explored all the different ways to map out the stars in the Milky Way. The team presented the data in the mother of all spreadsheets, and detailed maps showing stars and asteroids. They were also able to structure the data to help classify what was a star and what was ‘unknown’. The judges were so impressed with their work, they awarded the Leeds Uni team ‘Best in Show’.  For their efforts the team were given their own Moto 360 Smartwatches as prizes.

We would like to give thanks to the judges, Joseph Swan from Sky, Jamie Field, Steve Wainwright, Dr Samuel Wilson and Macs Dickinson. We want to give an extra special thanks to final judge Gwen Diagram for supply all the amazing dinosaur/Lego themed 'extra' prizes. Finally we would like to give a special thanks to our sponsors; Arup, Sky, Ticket Arena & Genius Events - without their support, our event would not have been possible.

We have had a fantastic time hosting Leeds Hack and have really enjoyed seeing the Leeds tech community coming together to create some amazing things while having fun.  Can’t wait till the next one!

See all the pictures from Leeds Hack over on our Facebook and Twitter.

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