HackOHI/O 2016 attracts record participation

What do you get when you take 775 students from more than 40 schools and throw them into a room for 24 hours to develop technology projects?

More innovation than you can shake a lithium-ion, carbon fiber, cloud-connected, Internet-of-things stick at.

HackOHI/O 2016 did just that on November 19 – 20 in the Ohio Union’s Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom.

While HackOHI/O offers the ideal opportunity for computer science students to flex their intellectual muscles, this rapidly growing event attracted students from a wide range of majors, including violin performance, psychology and philosophy.

The event, which celebrated its fourth year, is put on by OHI/O, a group of student-led organizations dedicated to fostering a tech culture at Ohio State. The group collected more than $8,000 in prizes from corporate sponsors, and they invited industry partners to submit real-world tech challenges to inspire the students’ projects. Industry experts were also on-hand to serve as mentors.

Twenty-five teams chose to work on solutions to industry challenges, which came from an array of industries. The other teams devised their own projects.

Team CAD-KD, which won Best Designed Hack and an Amazon Echo, responded to sponsor Amazon Web Services’ transportation challenge to minimize traffic congestion. Team members Halid Ziya Yerebakan, Abdulmecit Gungor and Sarkhan Badirli describe their solution as “an application which finds the nearest parking lot at your destination and shows the driving directions to the parking lot and walking directions from the parking lot to your final destination.”

Real-world application is an important facet of HackOHI/O. Teams like CAD-KD took on serious problems, while others took a playful approach. Carter Hurd and David Frank of team COFFEE won Best Hardware Hack for their automatic coffee maker. They improved upon this common household appliance in a way that could revolutionize humankind’s ability to multitask (and sleep in late): it loads its own filters and grounds, and answer questions with built-in voice command. The team calls the project “a comical look at the future of home appliances.”

Other winning projects included:

  • Polyglot, a web platform and Google Chrome extension that categorizes and flags political news articles based on left- and right-leaning bias
  • Cartune, a program that encodes auditory information into an image format
  • A website with a community review system to rate the accessibility of restaurants, businesses and other public places.

HackOHI/O is seeking alumni and industry, philanthropic and institutional sponsors to help with planning for 2017 and beyond. Email hackathon@osu.edu to get involved.

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