Glasgow University Hackathon Winner 2015

My team achieved first place at the Glasgow University Tech Society Hackathon of 2015! Here's a little about what we created.

The 2015 GUTS Hackathon was hosted at Glasgow University on the 02-04 October. I went along with a bunch of friends, not quite knowing what to expect this time around. A few of us formed a team called Dynamic Dorks (pictured below), and much to our surprise we ended up winning the whole thing!

The team consisted of myself (Isaac Jordan, 2nd on left), Ewan McCartney (2nd on right), and Dylan Stevenson (furthest right).

Together we built two applications with the aim to help the Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow (a challenge presented by Morgan Stanley). Both applications made use of Microsoft’s Kinect 2.0 and their new API, in a C# environment.

The main application was a game called ‘Germz’ that challenged users to work together to wipe a hospital room clean from the angry germs that invade over time. The spawn rate of the germs was exponential over times, so it led to some funny moments.

There is a demonstration video of the application on YouTube.

The second application was a small tool designed to make it easy for children to use a computer without risk of infection. It made use of the Kinect’s gesture recognition to allow kids to manipulate an on-screen mouse pointer using their hands.

The code for both applications is available at GitHub.

During the Hackathon, most of the development time was spent on Germz. A large portion of my time was spent trying to get the multiple output streams of the Kinect (such as the 1080p image stream and the 512x424 depth stream) to work together to identify the location of any humans, and remove the background sections.

The code to achieve this is available here.

If you would like to see any more in-depth discussion of any aspects of the application feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll happily write another post giving more detail.

Overall, I thought the hackathon was an amazing, pizza-filled, sleep-depriving experience.

It was also rather rewarding as we all received Pebble smartwatches, fancy MLH medals, £100 of Amazon vouchers, and amazing internship opportunities. My team mates were both offered internships at Morgan Stanley (a sponsor of the hackathon), and I believe the win played a role in achieving my internship position at Amazon.

Many thanks to Neil O’Connor from Morgan Stanley for the technical advice over the weekend, everyone at the Glasgow University Tech Society, and all the sponsors who make it feasible.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out my other blog posts.