With an endless supply of caffeine, pizza, and APIs, hackathons are a great place to test out new technologies, learn and build a product in 36 hours (no sleep required). These marathon-like events are increasingly popular with keen students and future looking tech companies. The students get to meet like-minded people, get hands-on experience with the latest software or hardware gadgets, and eventually create some cool new technology. Companies get to quickly develop new software technologies, test their existing ones, cultivate culture, talent and interest, and locate new areas for innovation and funding.
Already, the Ultrahaptics Academic Program has attended its first hackathon in March 2017. I’m very excited to say that we got to mentor four outstanding teams, two of which were awarded winning prizes out of the 400 participants in total. A-MAZE-BALL got the overall “best-hack” award, and Bongo Hero got the “best VR hack” award. In fact, we were so impressed by Bongo Hero, that we will be inviting the winning team to intern at Ultrahaptics this summer where they will perfect their prototype and get to experience first-hand what it’s like to work at Ultrahaptics and therefore positively influence their future career paths.
If a group of undergraduate students are able to realise such cool prototypes in 36 hours, can you imagine what a team of experienced engineers can put together? To that end, I’m super excited about the diversity in applications that Ultrahaptics finds use in and keen to see how far and wide the academic community can take our platform. Hackathons are great opportunities to kickstart such use cases and so I’d welcome any future invitations to participate and support.
Dr Orestis Georgiou is a researcher and an author of over 60 publications in the areas of Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, and Medicine. He is currently the Director of Research at Ultrahaptics Ltd. and aims to expand, explore, and accelerate innovation in mid-air haptic technologies and their applications.