IntraCity Geeks Youngsters visit Brown University Hackathon

“It Was Awwwwwesome!!!”

Hack@Brown hosted their second annual hackathon over the weekend in several buildings on Brown University’s Main Green. Some of our IntraCity Geeks visited the hackathon on demo day to soak up the amazing, cutting-edge, high-tech demos, ask questions of the hackers, and gear up for their own IntraCity Geeks Hackathon at the beginning of April

When asked about their first hackathon experience, the students responding with a resounding “It WAS Awwwwwwsome!!!”, as if they where members of a high tech choir.

The first highlight of the fieldtrip were the awesome inventions, gadgets and apps that were being created by the Hack@Brown participants.

“Access and inspiration are the words of the day and for the IntraCity Geeks students who went to Hack@Brown, it was like traveling into the future.” Said Arnell Milhouse, CEO of IntraCigy Geeks.  “It wasn’t a superficial experience by any means.  They retained a great deal of information and detail regarding the different inventions, devices and super cool software  that they witnessed.  More importantly, however, it fueled their own excitement and eagerness to participate in their own, upcoming IntraCity Geeks Jr. Hackathon.”

The second highlight of the fieldtrip to Brown this Sunday was the swag bags that greeted the Geeks as they entered Sayles Hall. Free food and company goodies brought smiles to all of their faces. The Hall is lined with portraits of past University Presidents, and this weekend the open floor was lined with rows of tables full of coders, designers, hackers, and Geeks.

As the judges began making their rounds to judge projects, the IntraCity Geeks began doing rounds as well. We began with a demo of a game that locates the player in a particular city. Using data about fast food restaurants in that city, the game becomes easier or harder as a character tries to cross the continuous screen without running into fast food items that make the character larger, and eventually ends the game. The Geeks took turns trying the game and asking some questions about a couple of glitches with matching the character to the pixels as he enlarges.

Next we demoed a hardware hack. A group had made a small wifi-enabled robot that wheeled around the room via a remote controller. The camera on its front allowed them to drive it anywhere, and the wifi meant that it could drive no matter the distance from them so long as the wifi connection remained intact.

The next group we visited had turned stock prices for several companies into songs representing their gains and losses for the previous year. Some of the Geeks were still taking their turns at Mario Kart in the background and joined us to hear how Oracle, Google, Apple, and others did last year.

The next demo we saw was for a music recommendation app that sends songs similar to the one you suggest to your friend, producing a music trade. When put on the spot, one of our Geeks chose a Justin Bieber song since, “It was the only thing that came into my head.” This was the only moment of disappointment for this Geek during the demos. It was easily progressed past as we moved to the next demo station—a clear favorite.

The next group demoed a game they had created to be viewed with an Oculus Rift. IntraCity Geeks had a great time taking turns with the goggles on, exploring this pixel-based world. They also greatly enjoyed making silly faces in front of the person with the goggles who could not see them.

Back in the main hall, our IntraCity Geeks tried a game on the iPhone, viewed with Google Cardboard. They loved getting lost in the cyber world behind those cardboard goggles.

One of the projects that ended up winning a prize was a game that could be controlled by various iPhones, which represented characters on an island. Seeing our young IntraCity Geeks playing this game, it was clear that the ideas for their own projects were brewing.

We eventually made our way over to Salomon Hall for the demos of the finalists and the culmination of the judging. We lined up our Hack@Brown Bears and cheered for the various teams. Go IntraCity Geeks!!