Jun 23, 2016

UTSA Students Team Up for Inaugural “RowdyHacks” Hackathon




UTSA students that competed in the 2016 RowdyHacks hackathon competitionUTSA Students that participated in the 2016 RowdyHacks hackathon competition

Modern technology has revolutionized the way people work, live, and play. The demand for technological advancement and innovation is undeniable in today’s growing dynamic world.

To that end, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) hosted its first hackathon where students formed teams and collaborated in a special 24-hour competition dubbed “RowdyHacks.” The event took place April 8th and 9th at the 1604 main campus North Paseo Building and was open to students from all departments.

Participants formed teams of up to four members and started the competition at 6:00pm on Friday night. Teams were instructed to build any type of project their hearts desired, encouraging students to think outside the box and create something they are passionate about.

During the event, participants had the option to take a break and attend a workshop on the Google App Engine. Projects were due at noon the following day and then each team spent 15-20 minutes presenting their final product to a panel of judges.

The first place winning team designed a virtual reality action game named “Saucer Swarm” for Google Cardboard devices.

“In Saucer Swarm, the player is in a fixed position and uses the Cardboard head tracking to aim and fire at approaching UFOs,” explained Taylor Gates, UTSA sophomore engineering major and Saucer Swarm team member. “The game was created using the Unity 3D game engine and some assets were created using the modeling tool Blender.”

Another notable team project includes “Bee Adventure,” an application game utilizing Amazon Alexa API voice commands to create an interactive story. “Bee Adventure” received the second place award and the Amazon Alexa Challenge award.

The conception of RowdyHacks came from the UTSA chapter of The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), who had heard about hackathons back in September 2015. The ACM funded travel opportunities for student members to attend and compete in local hackathons, including CodeRed (University of Houston) and HackRice (Rice University).

“We knew this was something UTSA had never seen before and wanted our student body to experience,” said Kurt King, senior computer science major and vice president of ACM (UTSA Chapter). “By January 2016, we were in contact with the Computer Science department to see if we could actually make it happen.”

With the support of the Computer Science department, ACM members had four weeks to coordinate the event, which included members building a website and reaching out to potential sponsors for funding assistance. ACM was able to raise $4,500 for purchasing prizes, shirts, and giveaways for participants throughout the event.

“We had a team of members who would show up on Sundays at the [library] to plan for hours,” King said. “We would not have been able to make this event as special as it was without their help.”

ACM plans on teaming up with Major League Hacking (MLH) to improve the competition and make it an annual event for UTSA. MLH is the official student league that sponsors collegiate hackathon events in countries including the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“This time we are starting early in hopes of making this the biggest event the [Computer Science] department has seen at UTSA,” King said. “With the help of MLH, we will be able to open up RowdyHacks to students all over the country to come compete at UTSA.”

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1st Place Team (and winner of Best Hardware Hack award)— Saucer Swarm

Javier Faustino (Computer Science and Cyber Security)

Taylor Gates (Engineering)

Patrick Stockton (Engineering)

Ruben Asebedo (Engineering)

2nd Place Team (and winner of Amazon Alexa Challenge award) — Bee Adventure

Paul Szyller (Computer Science)

Kristin Mendoza (Computer Science)

Chris Doege (Computer Science)

Mostafa Dabas (Computer Science)

 

3rd Place Team — Tinder Archive

Tirston Scallan (Computer Science)

Trase Westbrook (Computer Science)

Al Chavez (Computer Engineering)

Jonathan Villanueva (Computer Science)

 

UTSA and ACM would like to thank the following sponsors for their support in making this event a success:

 

Southwest Business Corporation (SWBC)

UTSA Computer Science Department

Promoter.io

Amazon Alexa

USAA

San Antonio Youth Code Jam

 

For more information on the UTSA chapter of the ACM, visit https://acm-utsa.org/


 

Modern technology has revolutionized the way people work, live, and play. The demand for technological advancement and innovation is undeniable in today’s growing dynamic world.

To that end, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) hosted its first hackathon where students formed teams and collaborated in a special 24-hour competition dubbed “RowdyHacks.” The event took place April 8th and 9th at the 1604 main campus North Paseo Building and was open to students from all departments.

Participants formed teams of up to four members and started the competition at 6:00pm on Friday night. Teams were instructed to build any type of project their hearts desired, encouraging students to think outside the box and create something they are passionate about.

During the event, participants had the option to take a break and attend a workshop on the Google App Engine. Projects were due at noon the following day and then each team spent 15-20 minutes presenting their final product to a panel of judges.

The first place winning team designed a virtual reality action game named “Saucer Swarm” for Google Cardboard devices.

“In Saucer Swarm, the player is in a fixed position and uses the Cardboard head tracking to aim and fire at approaching UFOs,” explained Taylor Gates, UTSA sophomore engineering major and Saucer Swarm team member. “The game was created using the Unity 3D game engine and some assets were created using the modeling tool Blender.”

Another notable team project includes “Bee Adventure,” an application game utilizing Amazon Alexa API voice commands to create an interactive story. “Bee Adventure” received the second place award and the Amazon Alexa Challenge award.

The conception of RowdyHacks came from the UTSA chapter of The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), who had heard about hackathons back in September 2015. The ACM funded travel opportunities for student members to attend and compete in local hackathons, including CodeRed (University of Houston) and HackRice (Rice University).

“We knew this was something UTSA had never seen before and wanted our student body to experience,” said Kurt King, senior computer science major and vice president of ACM (UTSA Chapter). “By January 2016, we were in contact with the Computer Science department to see if we could actually make it happen.”

With the support of the Computer Science department, ACM members had four weeks to coordinate the event, which included members building a website and reaching out to potential sponsors for funding assistance. ACM was able to raise $4,500 for purchasing prizes, shirts, and giveaways for participants throughout the event.

“We had a team of members who would show up on Sundays at the [library] to plan for hours,” King said. “We would not have been able to make this event as special as it was without their help.”

ACM plans on teaming up with Major League Hacking (MLH) to improve the competition and make it an annual event for UTSA. MLH is the official student league that sponsors collegiate hackathon events in countries including the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“This time we are starting early in hopes of making this the biggest event the [Computer Science] department has seen at UTSA,” King said. “With the help of MLH, we will be able to open up RowdyHacks to students all over the country to come compete at UTSA.”

1st Place Team (and winner of Best Hardware Hack award)— Saucer Swarm

Javier Faustino (Computer Science and Cyber Security)

Taylor Gates (Engineering)

Patrick Stockton (Engineering)

Ruben Asebedo (Engineering)

2nd Place Team (and winner of Amazon Alexa Challenge award) — Bee Adventure

Paul Szyller (Computer Science)

Kristin Mendoza (Computer Science)

Chris Doege (Computer Science)

Mostafa Dubas (Computer Science)