In a push to create, learn and compete, students built augmented maps of Cal Poly, tools to help the paralyzed browse the web and ride-share expense trackers over the 24 hours of SLO Hacks.
The hackathon Feb. 3 and 4 hosted 186 students, 148 of which were from Cal Poly, and 30 representatives from corporate sponsors, including Google and GoDaddy. A hackathon is an event where people come together to collaborate on computer programming projects and often include prizes and corporate sponsorships.
A Cal Poly team won the event with CartPool, an app they designed in less than 24 hours to help people in food-deprived areas shop for each other.
Computer science junior Joe Wijoyo, software engineering senior Devin Nicholson, physics sophomore Barrett Lo and computer science junior Karen Kauffman built the app.
“It’s insane,” Kauffman said after the team was given the Nintendo Switches, Fire TV sticks and iFixit kits that came with the victory. “I don’t really have words to describe it. It’s like winning a championship in sports.”
The team, with the exception of Lo, had won a previous hackathon at Cal Poly: Camp PolyHacks.
Lo and Nicholson worked the entire 24 hours, excluding a two-hour nap on the floor of the multi-activity center in the back of the recreation center.
At 1 a.m. Feb. 4, 26 participants listened to Jay Freeman, the creator of jailbreaking customization for iPhones, talk about his experience managing an application known worldwide and the benefits of customization and open source technology.
At 1:30 a.m., 52 students were still working in the multipurpose room of the recreation center. Three of them were playing with lightsabers provided by one of the sponsors, five had built a 10-inch-high tower of Yerba Mate tea.
Mechanical engineering freshman Hunter Morse was holding his own against the computer science majors. He said he came in with limited knowledge of programming ideas, but that did not stop him from participating.
“If you have ideas, you can just kinda figure it out,” Morse said.
Morse’s group, which won third place, was building an augmented reality app that would show people where the nearest hydrostations, bathrooms or restaurants are around Cal Poly based on the user’s location.
Computer science sophomore Selynna Sun directed the event. She said she and the other four directors spent at least 720 hours over the past year bringing SLO Hacks together, motivated by a desire to improve the hacking community at Cal Poly.
“It’s really about the community for me,” Sun said. “I just want to be able to grow the community at Cal Poly for hacker culture.”
Next year, she said she is trying to host an event twice as large.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that this year’s winning SLO Hacks team had won two previous hackathons.