With the aim of spreading awareness of the BBC Micro:bit, Micro:bit SLUG organized a micro:bit hackathon. Held on the 6th and 7th of July 2018 at Trace Expert City, the HackBit Micro:bit hackathon saw teams from 11 universities and 14 schools taking part.
The HackBit hackathon was initially announced by Micro:bit SLUG and opened it for idea submissions in January 2018. The hackathon received around 80 submissions from both School and University teams. Following that, the deadline for submissions came to a close in April 2018 and the submissions were sent to the first panel of judges. These comprised of 3 international judges and 3 local judges.
Based on the decisions of the judges, the top 25 ideas were selected to move on to the final round. In addition, Micro:bit SLUG also partnered with Sarvodaya Fusion to hold the final round of the competition under the support and guidance of Microsoft.
Friday the 06th of July 2018 saw 9 University teams take their place in the auditorium of Trace Expert City for an overnight session of development. Since the ideas of the teams had already been validated, the teams used this time to tie up any lose ends they had with their projects and also to see if they can add additional features to the products.
Teams were energized with coffee and food so that they could stay up all night and finish their work. If any assistance was required, a number of mentors were available to help out. These mentors shared a wealth of knowledge regarding the teams’ products, their business models and any improvements they can add.
Saturday the 7th of July saw teams from 14 schools making their way to Trace Expert City for their chance to show off their skills at the HackBit Hackathon. Rather than bring schools from Colombo and the suburbs, a majority of the schools taking part in the HackBit hackathon were from rural areas. This also included teams from 7 Nenasala centers as well.
Hasitha Abeywardana, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives delivered the keynote speech of the awards ceremony. He thanked all teams for their participation and wished them all the best. Following lunch, all teams gathered together to listen to the judges briefing. 4 PM on Saturday signaled the deadline for teams to out all the finishing touches on their products. Half an hour of preparations later, the teams were ready to make their final presentations.
Kicking off the final presentations at HackBit 2018 were those done by Universities.
This was presented by Team Spacebar. It is aimed at people who have fish tanks at home or the office but might not have time to feed them. Using a number of sensors and a Wi-Fi connection, the device collects a variety of data. This data can be used to monitor a fish tank remotely and handle tasks such as feeding, water replacement etc.
This was presented by Team Codex. The product is an embedded system that Is used to monitor the water levels in a reservoir. In addition to monitoring the water level, the device would also measure the quality of water. If the water level goes above or below a specified threshold, an alarm would be generated via the mobile app developed for the product.
The team has identified that a large number of accidents occur due to electricity leaks. This is mainly due to contact created between high tension power cables and the branches of the trees beside the road.
The team’s solution is “E-lec-ter”. It is designed to inform the Electricity Board when a leak or spark occurs in these cables. It will also inform the public as well in order to keep them safe. The system will inform the relevant authorities about the exact location of the damage and how much damage has occurred. It will also show the ideas of the public about the current situation.
Braille text reader was up next, presented by Team Undefined. Their product is a device that enables any person to read a paper written in Braille, without any knowledge about Braille required.
Rather than invest in a traditional home security system, Team SkyNet proposes their own home security system. This would be a much more cost-effective solution and would have the same functionality as a traditional home security system.
Keeping an eye on babies less than one year of age requires a considerable amount of attention. Unfortunately, with the workload and busy lives of parents, they may be negligent towards their children. This is where Team RAMAKI comes into play. Their product is a wireless baby monitoring system. Using the system, parents can keep a tag on their children and see if they are upto anything dangerous whilst also attending to their work as well.
This was a product by Team TryCatch++. The main objective of this is to provide an efficient and manageable way of collecting garbage and domestic refuse. Doing so would result in minimizing the environment pollution. In addition, it would also make garbage disposal more optimized.
Aiming to solve this question was the task of Team Exterminators. Their product is a smart weather station. Using the device, you can measure the humidity level and the temperature level of your surroundings and any given time.
This is aimed at those students who find it difficult to stay awake during those boring bu important lectures. The WakeUp Headband by Team Horizon is a headband that will automatically generate a small vibratory shock if it detects that the wearer is falling asleep. It does so by means of an accelerometer. It can also be done manually by pressing a button on the headband. In addition to students, the headband can also be worn by those who are driving.
A product by Team Shila64, Sky:Bit is a Micro:bit messaging and communications platform. In a world of missed calls, unread messages and other alerts when one is away from their desk, Shilpa64 provides an easy to use platform to message people in remote areas efficiently without the need for expensive infrastructure and power requirements.
With the University teams done with their pitches, it was time for the school teams to finalize their products and take the stage at HackBit 2018.
Team Chalana’s solution was up first. This is a system with an ultrasound generator. The sound can be used to drive animals away from vehicles so that they would not be harmed by the vehicle. In addition, the system also has 4 thermal sensors on each wheel of a car to detect body temperature of a child or adult to make sure they’re not around when the vehicle is moving.
Presented by Team Fanatics, this is a wearable device that measures several health and environmental aspects. It ensures that the user is in a safe environment and not exposed to harmful conditions. (High levels of UV radiation, electronic radiation, sound levels, sexual abuse, etc.) The device will alert the user or take action.
Team </NAYAKENZ> presented a device that can identify electronic devices. If a device goes through this doorpost, it will emit an audible beep. Think of it as a scanner that you see at airport security. The device will also show how many entries were scanned at the end of the day.
Presented by Team Dyanimc Dudes, this too was a smart weather station. The device was capable of displaying the current humidity levels and temperature levels as well. In addition, it would also show the current weather and help you organize your day to day activities as well.
This was the goal of Infinity Innovations. By means of a Bluetooth device, you would check if your wallet was in your back pocket. If the wallet were to go out of the range of your smartphone, it would generate an alarm.
Akin to a smartstick we looked at a while ago, Team Optimus’s walking stick would help those visually impaired with their daily traveling. If any obstacles within 3 meters’ pops up, the stick will inform the user about it.
Team Hunter presented a home security system that also couples as a smart home. The system can control door locks, keypads, fingerprint readers and cameras for a security system. For the smart home, it can control lights and Wi-Fi.
A platform by the Antonian Cmputer Fraternity, the purpose of this is to help those visually handicapped and the elderly. They plan to make devices and solutions using low cost materials. This way, even those who are not financially stable can afford these devices.
This was by Royal Hackers. It simplifies the process of giving saline to a patient. If the saline bottle is over and needs to be changed, an alarm will be generated to notify the nurses.
Team Marvel Gates had an interesting device. This can be used to control the heat inside an incubator. The plus point here is that these incubators are developed using low cost materials. This would be extremely beneficial to farmers and villagers.
Team Creative’s product is aimed at those who are deaf. The device uses a micro:bit controller and allows deaf people to talk and communicate common phrases in case of an emergency.
Presented by Team Cyber Ghost, this is an automated system for closing the side mirror in your vehicle. It would be extremely useful especially in situations of traffic as they can be damaged. The device would detect any vehicles in close proximity and then close the mirrors.
Team Trojan presented a device that would act as an automatic electricity breaker in the event of an earthquake. The first thing we do in the event of an earthquake is to rush to a secured spot. But we also ignore the electricity cables that could get damaged during said earthquake.
Saving electricity is the goal of Team Challengers. Their product is an automated system for a bathroom in the event we forget to turn off the lights. As such, the device would turn off the light if there’s no one in the bathroom.
Binary Hackers too want to save electricity. Their focus is more on the electricity wasted when a monitor is turned on and no one is using it. Using a micro:bit device, they proposed a solution to save electricity. If no one uses the monitor for a certain time, the monitor would switch off.
With the presentations done, the judged convened to tally their scores to pick the winners. There was an air of excitement around the auditorium as everyone was eagerly awaiting the final results.
In terms of awards and prizes, Winners and Runners-up under the University category would be awarded cash prizes worth LKR. 100,000/-, LKR. 75,000/- and LKR. 50,000/- respectively. FOr the School category, the Winners and Runners Up would be awarded gifts worth LKR. 50,000/-, LKR. 35,000/- and LKR. 20,000/-
We had chat with Prabhath Mannapperuma – Executive Directorr at STEMUp Educational Foundation to ask him his comments on HackBit 2018. He explained that “As STEMUp Educational Foundation, we are always trying to empower each and every kid in Sri Lanka with quality STEM education. As a result of that, we introduced this amazing device called micro:bit to Sri Lanka. After taking it to students in rural and urban areas in the country, we wanted to evaluate the progress of activities we did in the last 12 months”.
Prabath went on to explain that their expectation was not only to see commercially viable products especially in the school category but to also give them the opportunity to make this competition a turning point of their lives.
With awards and certificates being handed out to the winners and runners-up, HackBit 2018 officially came to an end.
If you would like to learn more about micro:bit Sri Lanka User Group, you can click here.
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