Coding in the hills: the ACES Hackathon 2017

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The ACES hackathon is an event that occurs annually inside the Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya. The hackathon is usually organized by the Association of Computer Engineering Students (ACES) and is aimed at the undergrads at the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Peradeniya. The ACES hackathon 2017 kicked off on 05th of May and went on until 07th of May. Here’s what unfolded over the course of these three days inside the University of Peradeniya.

#ACES2k17 begins

The ACES Hackathon 2017 begins (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
The ACES Hackathon 2017 begins (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

Like any other event in Sri Lanka, ACES Hackathon kicked off with the lighting the traditional oil lamp. Afterwards, we saw the welcome speech delivered by the President of the ACES, which was followed by a speech from Dr. Dhammika Elkaduwa – the Head of the Department of Computer Engineering. The podium was then taken over by Prof. Leelanda Rajapaksha, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering for a speech that was later followed by Prof. Saluka Kodithuwa, the Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Following all the speeches and presentation, the organizers announced the rules and guidelines to the hackathon. As per tradition, an individual from the team has to present the idea they’re going to work on for the next two days. Out of 50+ teams that had registered to compete from the two faculties, 24 teams were selected to participate this year. Each team had four minutes to present and another 4 minutes were allocated for the Q&A session. And with that, the Day One came to an end.

Day 02 of #ACES2k17

Unlike the usual 28°C of usual Kandyan weather of these days, the morning on the second day was a cloudy one. The day for the hackathon began at 8 AM, and all the participants had gathered around at the venue forming their respective teams. With the music on the background, the second day began as the teams started building their prototypes.

The teams working on their ideas on Day 02 of the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
The teams working on their ideas on Day 02 of the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

The process of every team was mentored by the Alumni of the University. Throughout the day, the teams had to work on building the product before the final presentation which was the next day, the 07th of May. The day for the students was full of coding, discussing and modifying what they have been doing. The second came to an end around 8 pm. After 12 hours, a few teams had completed their idea and were either working on recording the demonstration or practicing on how to pitch the idea.

The ideas we found at #ACES2k17

The third and final day of the ACES hackathon began at 8 am. The first half of the day was allocated for the teams to do two tasks. The first was to add the final touches to their prototype and second was to prepare their four minute pitch. After lunch was served it was time for the main event. It was time for the 24 teams to take the stage and give their 4 minute pitch.

SMSpot

Team SMSport at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
Team SMSport at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

What do you do when you lose your mobile? If you have an Android phone then you can simply use the Android Device Manager to find your phone. Similarly, if you have an iPhone then you can use Apple’s Find My iPhone feature. But if your phone isn’t connected to the internet, then SMSpot could be the app that saves your phone. The 3rd year students from the Faculty of Engineering have designed an Android app that will help an Android user find his/her mobile without an internet connection. All you have to do is to send a predefined SMS to the phone which will send you its location.

IoT Garbage Monitoring System

The team behind the IoT Garbage Monitoring System (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
The team behind the IoT Garbage Monitoring System (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

Improper Garbage disposal has been always a hassle. This team at the ACES Hackathon wants to eliminate this hassle. To do so, they created an IoT device. This device would monitor the amount of garbage inside a bin and constantly report it to a central server. If the bin was full, then the system would alert garbage disposal units to come and collect it.

Domestic Water Management System.

Every time there is drought, there is a problem in getting water. Here is a system that will manage your water usage during drought. It has a system that will pump water to the tank automatically from the well depending on the level of water in your well and tank. Furthermore, it provides details about the usage of water for the month to the users so that they can make decisions based on the info.

Talking Pot

The talking pot (Image credits: Yathusha Ulakentheran)
The talking pot (Image credits: Yathusha Ulakentheran)

What if you are not home, and you are worried about your plant? This team has a device that was made especially for you. Talking pot will monitor the necessities of the plant in a chosen pot through sensors. It will then notify you if it is in need essentials like water. In a nutshell, talking pot allows you to take care of your pet plants by constantly monitoring them.

FruitBox

Large warehouses of food have issues in ensuring the quality of the harvest once they are stored inside. This team has a product which was built using embedded IoT devices. This Fruitbox will monitor the conditions of the harvest stored inside the warehouse and provide a report on the condition of the goods.

LegoIoT

Team LegoIoT at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
Team LegoIoT at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

This team of first years from the Faculty of Engineering has designed a web based IoT device management system. This system will help you connect a series of devices like sensors and switches you might need with no pre-knowledge about it. All you need to know is how to plug and remove the building blocks. Once you do, you can easily build your own IoT devices like a Lego diorama.

Ghost Guitar

It is a device that could be attached to guitars for those who have a problem with the strumming patterns in guitar. The device will automatically pick the strumming pattern and play with the sense of touching of the strings. And with the creation of this simple device, mastering the guitar became a lot easier.

Train Tracker

Who doesn’t get annoyed when the train is late? Train Tracker is a solution laid in front of us at the ACES hackathon. A device fixed on the train will send GPS coordinates to the server. Afterwards, passengers can see the exact location of the train using Google Maps. So next time you scream and grumble about the train being late, you’ll be able to do so knowing exactly where it is.

Smart Car Park

This team has designed an automated system to manage car parking. The system shall identify vehicles that enter the car park, and the app shall notify the users who are looking for parking slots. This system aims to reduce the time wasted on waiting for a slot to get emptied with the “reserve a slot” option of the app.

Bus tracking app

The team behind the bus tracking app (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
The team behind the bus tracking app (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

Unsure about the arrival time of the bus to your halt? Or confused about the routes? Bus tracker would help you locate the bus on its way and the buses that you could get into if you are new to the place. A handy app for tourists or if you’re visiting a town where you might be unfamiliar with the route the buses take.

Pollution Monitoring System

The team behind the pollution monitoring system (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
The team behind the pollution monitoring system (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

It has become our responsibility to preserve the environment since we are the ones who have been destroying it. This team has built a device that could monitor the quality of the environment through various sensors. If the measurements exceed the standard limits, it will be notified to the authorities who can take actions against it.

Expert Miners

Mining is a risky job, and it is necessary to locate the exact place of mines. The team of 2nd years from the Faculty of Engineering has come up with this system by using HSI to figure the location of the natural earth resources found in Sri Lanka.

WakeMEup

Team WakeMEUp at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
Team WakeMEUp at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

This is an unusual alarm clock. This is a smart alarm clock has been designed that wakes you up by detecting whether you are asleep or not. But that’s not all. It has a multi plug that could be connected to any appliances like kettles or rice cookers. And through this multi plug, you can make them function on predefined commands. In a nutshell, WakeMEup is a smart alarm clock.

Fat to Fit

Team Fat to Fit at the ACES Hackathon (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
Team Fat to Fit at the ACES Hackathon (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

Let’s say goodbye to the gym, and do exercises from home. This team, Fat to Fit, has built a system that could be worn (as a chest band at the moment) to monitor your progress during the exercise. The team has also developed an app that would keep store data of your activities and of your friends who are connected through the app so that you are motivated to do exercises to beat the number of times your friends have done on a specific day.

doPost

doPost is a web based system that connects the buyer, the seller, and the delivery person in a platform. Think of this as a platform that ensures that goods are delivered to customers, similar to HireOne. While the platform could be a helpful one, there are many complications with regards to logistics that go beyond a simple web based system.  None of them being simple ones to solve.

ChatnCode

In simple terms, this is a web application that’s a combination of Skype, TeamViewer, and email. Coders have had a hassle when it comes to discussing and figuring out a bug in a code written by someone else. Therefore, this team has developed a system that allows group chats, video chats and real time code editor among the programmers. Apparently, this system would replace the above said three applications that by being one single app!

vTag

On Facebook, when you add a groupie, Facebook automatically tags the people in that photo. However, there is no such plugin to tag people on video, says the vTag team. This is why they have designed a system that allows you to tag people on video. It then stores the data in a database so that they are automatically tagged in the next video.

Timbre

Timbre is a mobile application that is capable of adjusting the call volume automatically. It also automatically filters off the unnecessary noise from the environment. A simple application, that aims to make your calls clearer and helping stop people from asking, “Can you hear me now?”

Wic

It is hard to provide a microphone to everyone in a large gathering where questioning is allowed. To solve this problem, the Wic team wants to help convert your phone into a microphone. To do so have built an app that allows users to use their smartphones as a microphone by connecting them to Wi-Fi.

Smart Sonic

Team Smart Sonic at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)
Team Smart Sonic at the ACES Hackathon 2017 (Image credits: Gauge Photography)

If you are listening to a song and someone talks to you, then you have to remove your headset and press the pause button of your favorite song. This team, Smart Sonic, has built a headphone that would pause when you remove the headset from your ear. Thus, eliminating the need for you to use buttons of your mobile.

Smart Energy Saving app

Lots of household electrical appliances and long digit numbers of the electricity bill. It is an issue in most of the houses now. 2nd years from the Faculty of Engineering have designed a system that processes in real time and shows the usage of electricity graphically. Plus, this will give you suggestions on energy saving based on the previous month usage as well.

ACCIO

Despite the name, this team at the ACES Hackathon 2017 didn’t craft a spell from Harry Potter. However, what they built is a device that functions exactly like the spell. Accio is a wearable device that controls a robot’s arm. The user can wear this device on his arm and can control the arm of the robot. According to the team, it’s primarily designed for telemedicine and mines disposal.

WatchDog

Watchdog is a system that monitors the vehicles that enter and leaves the premises. It can be added to the existing CCTV system of the premise and keep and record of all the vehicles that enters the premise. An interesting addition but the value addition is something that’s yet to be seen.

Efficient Parking

Tired of getting to a car park and finding no parking spaces? This team of 2nd years from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Peradeniya want to help solve this problem. This where their app Efficient Parking comes in. As the name suggests, it keeps track of all available parking spaces and keeps you informed of free parking spaces.

Those were the ideas by the 24 teams at the ACES Hackathon 2017

Once the presentations were over, we saw a few speeches as the judges debated amongst themselves. Once the judges had concluded their intense debate, it was the time everyone had been waiting for. It was time for the results to be announced. Following a drumroll, the winners of the ACES Hackathon 2017 were:

  • The award for the most popular idea: Bus Tracking App
  • The award for the best idea: Expert Miners
  • The winner of the network category: Smart Sonic
  • The winner of the Software development category: Expert Miners

With the awarding for the winners, the secretary of ACES delivered his vote of thanks. He thanked the sponsors, judging panel, mentors, and everyone who had given their support for the event. With that, the ACES Hackathon 2017 came to an end.

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