CalHacks debuted on October 3, 2014, as the largest collegiate hackathon in the nation. The first event of its kind in the Bay Area, more than 1,500 student hackers and innovators from across the nation converged on UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium for the opening ceremonies at 10:00 pm, followed by 36 straight hours of creative hacking, workshops, prototyping, making new friends, and power naps.
CalHacks is co-hosted by CITRIS and organized jointly by two student groups: the Kairos Society and Hackers@Berkeley. Student mentors from the CITRIS Invention Lab and the CITRIS Foundry incubator were on hand day and night to assist dozens of teams with technical and creative questions. CITRIS-sponsored buses transported more than 125 students to the event from our campuses at UC Davis, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz.
Peter Minor, co-founder of The Foundry at CITRIS, served on the judging panel to award the following sponsored prizes:
Best Social Impact Hack
The winning hack is a mobile phone app called Transliterate Me, an iOS-based tool that uses a predictive keyboard to rapidly map English phonetics to character-based languages spoken by more than two billion people globally. Users can quickly type and auto-translate their messages into another language using the standard English keyboard. The app is functional in over 20 languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Persian, Russian, Telugu, and Urdu. The team is gearing up to launch the app online under the new name KeyNounce.
Best Hardware Hack
The winning hack is Nextile Shurt, a motion-capture garment using flex sensors, accelerometers, and real-time data display using the firebase web app. Potential applications include physical therapy and immersive virtual reality experiences that incorporate the user’s body movements.
Best Mobile Hack
The winning hack is Parcelly, an Android-based app that uses the Uber and Venmo APIs to pair Uber car drivers with ready-to-ship packages. The result is a same day, low-cost, consumer-driven solution for local parcel pickup and delivery.
Additional coverage of the inaugural CalHacks event:
- CalHacks.io website
- ChallengePost list of all submitted hacks for CalHacks 2014
- “Student inventors do battle at CalHacks” (UC Berkeley News Center)
- “Hackers gather for 36-hour hackathon at California Memorial Stadium” (The Daily Californian)
- “CalHacks 2014 Recap: All 12 Teams Included” (berkeleyByte)