Despite the traffic situation prevailing in the Colombo suburbs, we found ourselves once again at the Dialog Iconic Store. More specifically, we were at the Dialog Auditorium on the 15th floor of the building. Why? Because of HackX 2017.
Organized by the Department of Industrial Management at the University of Kelaniya, HackX is an Inter-University Hackathon revolving around Information Technology & Innovation. Taking place over the duration of 12 hours, students from universities both private and state would stay up all night to get lucky, as it were. Out of the 96 team that had registered for the preliminary rounds, 15 teams had qualified for the final rounds and it was now time for them to gear up.
HackX 2k17 kicked off on the 15th of September 2017 and would end 12 hours later, on the 16th of September., After the singing of the University Anthem (certainly a first that we’ve seen at a hackathon), it was time for the teams to introduce themselves. There was nothing formal, in fact, it was quite a chilled out atmosphere, particularly because of the air conditioning. Once the introductions were done, it was time for the teams to get to work.
Throughout the night, participants could be seen soldering, coding, assembling, disassembling and reassembling various components of their products in a race against time. In order to help them stay focused, the large screen in the middle acted as a video/audio display courtesy of Dialog. They could send the song name to a redefined number and their song would play. Needless to say, we too added our own playlist of songs to the mix.
Saturday Morning dawned bright and early. As we walked into the Auditorium, we sensed that the teams were indeed ready for their final presentations. After a hearty breakfast and some last minute spruce ups, we were ready to move on to the final presentations.
The team started off by identifying that 4.77 Billion people use mobile phones. In the event of an emergency, however, contacting someone via mobile phone can get a bit difficult. Therefore the team presented “SaveMe”.
This is an app that is used to alert people such as your loved ones and close friends in the event of an emergency. Available for both smartphones and feature phones, the platform will notify emergency contacts based on their location. They make use of Ideamart’s API platform for USSD codes.
Aimed at Farmers and those involved in Agriculture, CloudAgri, the team’s product is one that allows you to monitor the status of your crops. They are planning to sell the product to the Government and also to give modules to 2500 farmers who have to have at least half an acre of land. They will tie up with mobile service providers as well.
The team’s product, Kinderwatcher, is an app to monitor the internet usage of your children. You can monitor and view messages, check call history, check the location of the phone via GPS tracking and monitor web browser history. The parent would receive a notification when the child starts using one of these services. At the end of each month, a report will be given to the parents with all the details. Here, if a URL is deemed negative by the parent, it will be blocked.
They presented Draway, a story building and story drawing platform. You can invite a friend to draw a story in collaboration with you. Once drawn, you can share it via social media as an image or as a video of the story and how the contents were added. They draw inspiration from Google’s Autodraw API (pun intended).
Their product Easy Go, is an easy to use efficient ticketing system. It is essentially a mobile app for traveling when using public transport. Simply enter the route number, starting and ending location and a QR code will be generated. Upon scanning the QR code, the amount will be deducted from the account. There’s no ticket or card, just your Android mobile phone. According to the team, the app has a number of benefits such as a fixed amount based on locations and can also track your travel history
The team has identified an issue when it comes to monitoring electrical leaks, especially in the case of natural disasters. In these situations, an electrician would make use of a Non-Contact High Voltage Indicator. The issue here is that the power lines are not always safe to approach or are in unreachable locations. Thus, they have developed a drone with an NCHV Indicator to reach electrical cables that are hard to reach and in unsafe environments. They call it Evolta 1.0.
The drone has a circuit that is used to amplify the electromagnetic waves generated from AC power lines to monitor the signals. Once a signal is detected, the app will notify them and they can begin operations. The drone can also be made to hover. As a future advancement, they plan to make drone swarms to help.
The team’s product iHypeNG is what they call the next generation of interactive advertising. We first saw the idea at HackLN which took place the previous week. iHypeNG makes use of augmented reality to give users a newer way to experience advertisements and even games. Simply take out your phone and point it to a solution of this nature and you will have a fully interactive experience at your fingertips.
They presented LexiLapp – a community based review system. The app is perfect if what you want is not in stock and you need to know a good alternative It takes into account image recognition to identify products and is also GPS based. You can search for products by camera or by product keywords. Once scanned and identified, you will get reviews and details of the identified product. In order for them to earn revenue, the app would have companies advertising their products. Further, they would sell the data they collect to companies for big data analysis.
What started off as a simple knowledge sharing platform developed into a full online marketing platform for university students. If you have any content on a particular topic, you can sell it for a reasonable price. Think of it as eBay for students. Apart from old notes and educational resources, you can also sell, tickets, clothes, etc. Their idea is that if you have items you want to discard, why not sell it and make something out of it? Makes sense, I guess.
Their app, Yamang an IOT based bus tracking solution. It is geared towards private buses in rural areas on unpopular routes. The app can locate buses, monitor traffic, and also monitor the density of the bus to see how crowded it is. The login takes your mobile number and a PIN code you receive. In terms of the driver, they can implement methods to increase visibility of the vehicle.
Their app, TurnHere is a digital intelligent driving assistant. It can be used to improve and enhance security while you’re driving. The app will provide a maximum and minimum speed for driving depending on your location. It will also generate alerts if you’re not driving safely. If you are stressed or sleepy, it will let you know and provide methods to overcome it.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and a greater social overreaction, that’s the team’s opening statement. They present CLiMAX. A community driven, community oriented platform to post complaints or problems regarding topics such as transport, technology, education, society. The community can then rate these problems and take appropriate action.
The last team to present was Team Void with Beacona, a smart shopping assistant. The app offers a platform to advertise special offers to a user’s mobile phone. Business owners can pitch their offers. The web system allows shop owners to add products and offers. The mobile app will list down the items you are looking to purchase and add it to the app. Once added, you can see all discounts and offers by shops. When a user adds an item the system will guide the user to the nearest shop via a guide to help the user. Uses Bluetooth to notify users of nearby offers from stores.
The teams (and us) indulged in some refreshments. Shafraz Rahim of Ideamart was on stage to address the teams. He spoke about how Ideamart has helped teams such as these to go forwards. He encouraged the teams to go forth with their ideas and always keep the drive an energy up to go to market and make their dreams a reality to make an impact in society. Not only about good engineering, but also that we have good products and good startups to showcase our talents across the world.
It was then time to announce the Winners of HackX 2k17. After 12 hours of intense coding and assembling, the results were in. Here are the winners along with their Awards.
With the awards being handed out, HackX 2k17 officially came to an end. Overall, the ideas seen here were quite interesting. Hopefully these teams will take their products onwards and go on to become successful startups. We wish them all the best for that. Now the clock ticks for HackX 2k18.
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