They came, they hacked, they celebrated.
HackGT invited more than a thousand students to “Expect Greatness,” and more than 800 students representing 107 universities rose to the challenge: Build products to improve the state of software and hardware today. After 36 hours over the weekend, they had completed more than 115 hacks – ranging from apps to management software to smart devices.
As the hacking came to an end, the PickMeUp team from Illinois won with an app that recognizes when a user experiences a bad day and enables business owners, such as those of bars or coffee shops, to offer them deals to help them pick up their mood.
The grand prize – valued at $120,000 – included $10,000 in cash, $50,000 in optional investment from TechSquare Labs, a $60,000 Microsoft Azure credit, and patent assistance through IPSmartup.
HackGT is a student-run hackathon and the largest in the South to date.
Sponsors ranged from eBay to twilio to Microsoft to Bloomberg, with several providing hardware and programs for hackers to improve or to discover vulnerabilities. These include Intel’s Edison modules, the Leap Motion Controller, the Thalmic Myo, and the Oculus Rift.
Thad Starner, a professor with the School of Interactive Computing and the technical lead for Google Glass, gave the closing keynote speech on Sunday, Sept. 21. Scott Grimes, CEO of Cardlytics and a partner sponsor, provided the keynote during the opening ceremony on Friday, Sept. 19.
Judges included Carie Davis, global director of innovation and entrepreneurship at The Coca-Cola Company; Dave Jagoda, technical director at Andreessen Horowitz; Paul Judge, an entrepreneur cited by MIT Technology Review as one of the Top 100 innvoators in the world; Michael Koziol, director of the Atlanta office of Huge, a leading digital design and development firm; and Joe Uhl, operation director for MailChimp.