HackZurich: This Is How 565 Techies Spent the Weekend
565 registered participants, 152 submitted projects and 20280 hours of coding – the occasion was of course Hack Zurich, Europe’s biggest hackathon and one of the most anticipated events for ambitious hackers. The rainy weekend was the perfect opportunity for hackers from all over the world to get together in the Technopark and develop innovative solutions and new apps for the sponsor’s challenges. The goal: develop an amazing prototype and maybe, even disrupt a whole industry.
Hack Zurich is a 40 hours non-stop hacking marathon, where teams of two to four people spend day and night developing web, mobile or desktop applications. With big name sponsors and every comfort imagined, this hackathon is far above what the premise might suggest. From free pizzas to enough energy drinks to fuel an army of hackers, massages, showers and cool tech gadgets, Hack Zurich did everything possible to create a relaxed, creative and awesome work environment. In the end, the 25 best teams are given the opportunity to present their project in a two-minute pitch, with the top three teams being awarded prizes.
The conversational future of payment
ti&m was part of it all as a sponsor and together with Aduno and Raiffeisen, we posted our own challenge. The challenge, named the conversational future of payment, dared participants to build tomorrow’s vending machine or delivery robot. Imagine a scenario where you enter a food store and just say “I am hungry, bring me a Mars bar.” And as you are saying it, you are identified by your voice or your facial features and the ordering as well as the payment process are triggered. No more pulling out your wallet, no more cash or credit card, just “you being you” as the precondition for the payment.
Hackers tackling the challenge hard at work.
Autonomous delivery rovers used for HackZurich. They are the delivery robots of the future.
It was up to the participant’s creativity, imagination and technical skill to refine such a scenario and bring it to life. For this purpose, we provided the teams with voice and facial recognition interfaces, the interface to ti&m joy, our beacon based shop system, payment API as well as the aforementioned robots and venduinos.
Our team worked tirelessly to provide the hackers with the tools to interpret the challenge. During the event, experienced engineers and developers stayed up just as long as the hackers to offer support where needed and answer questions.
The ti&m team in the middle of the night.
Team pupil giving their pitch at the final presentation.
In addition to the finals, prizes were also awarded to the winners of the individual challenges. We had 13 amazing groups tackling our challenge, with three of them good enough to enter the finals, and it was hard to select a winner. However, in the end the team that convinced us the most was Team Candy Bar.
Candy Bar decided on working with the venduino and focused their efforts on voice identification, with facial recognition as a second factor. Additionally, the vending machine they built was able to detect content that as well as the current emotional sentiment. Based on the mood detected, the buyer would get recommendations tailored to their current emotions.
Runner up and deserving of an honourable mention is Team Banana Car, who impressed us with a great security solution for the autonomous delivery rover and a fun concept. Order a banana and the banana car comes to find you via GPS. The associated app notifies you when the banana car is near and you identify yourself with a QR-Code.
For more information about this year’s event, visit the event website.
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