Last week, 40 young hackers descended on the Advanced Technologies Centre at Tameside College to compete in a two day coding competition known as the Tameside Hack. Organised in partnership by Tameside Council and Tameside College, the Hack was sponsored and mentored by several local business, including ourselves.
It’s the first time Mechanised have been involved in a hackathon and were unsure of what to expect. The first few hours were a hive of activity as the teams came together, started shortlisting challenges and delegating responsibilities within the team. Initially, some teams were undecided and swapped challenges part way through day one, but at the end of the two days all the teams produced a working prototype, including a presentation or demo the solution. One of the teams took on two challenges, which is just amazing!
— Tameside HACK (@TamesideHack) February 23, 2018
[Video from Affinity Media]
The challenges were quite open ended which gave the hackers freedom on how they wanted to approach the challenges.
The challenges set by the sponsors were based on real world problems that required a digital solution in the form of an app, website, chatbot or software. Headline sponsor Willmot Dixon challenged the hackers to build a programme which takes data from their BIM software and display it in an easy to read format, allowing contractors, site managers and suppliers reduce wasted materials on site.
Brother UK challenged the hackers to use their AiRScouter technology to help the emergency services use drones instead of helicopters. This challenge attracted a lot of attention as there was a drone and camera headset to play with… how can you say no to that?
Endpoint security experts, Avecto, set the challenge of creating a digital solution to stop cyber bullying, which is a much needed solution for young people growing up with social media. Purple Wifi’s challenge was to create a solution to enhance daily life using accessible data from Google Maps, TfGM data and Yahoo Weather.
All the solutions the hackers produced were very good and it was great to see the projects develop over the two days. A couple of standout projects was a number plate recognition programme used in conjunction with a drone camera for tracking stolen cars and a programme which organises your shopping trip, alerting you to discounts available from shops as you walk by.
There were some great prizes up for grabs for the winners of the main challenges and also prizes for; best in show, most improved, best teamwork and best hacker.
The prizes included;
- Amazon vouchers
- Amazon Echo’s
- A Sonos speaker
- Career days
- and other wonderful tech goodies
At the end of the hackathon we were simply blown away by the talent Tameside had to offer. There were many skills demonstrated over the two days, such as leadership, teamwork, problem solving, presenting and coding in various language. After seeing this we’re confident these students will go far in their careers.
There is another hackathon planned for the Autumn half-term which we’ll be getting involved with and hopefully setting a challenge of our own. If you’d like to get involved you can follow Tameside Hack on Twitter or email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.