Hack The Planet 2015
Major League Hacking 2015 Season World Finals
After a quick break in Chicago, I flew to the beautiful state of California. I came for a couple of reasons but mainly for the Major League Hacking Season World Finals, Hack The Planet 2015. Immediately after my plane landed, I took the next Caltrain to Mountain View, dropped my luggage at the place I’m staying in and headed to San Francisco to meet up some friends.
San Francisco 4th and King Street Station was packed!
My friends and I walked around the city like tourists. We went to AT&T Park, the curvy Lombard Street, China Town, and Little Italy just to name a few. After lots of walking, we decided to get something to eat and went to Fisherman’s Wharf to get the classic Clam chowder.
We still had some time to spare after our meal, so we went to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The view was phenomenal! Boats of different sizes sailed across the strait. People were running by the shore. Kids were playing with their kites and building sand castles. The weather was perfect! How I wish weather back home was like this all year round!
Golden Gate at the Golden Hour
I had meetings for the next few days before the event, but once I got the free time, I took advantage of it. I went to Google’s Headquarters to checkout their campus (with a G-bike, of course).
Google bikes galore
I also went to Palo Alto to visit some companies and the Stanford University campus. The school has a very different vibe which I really liked. People are always outside studying or playing. The engineering quad looks fantastic. It’s also close to well-known startup companies like Pebble, and Palantir. I’d definitely put this school in my list for graduate school.
Hack The Planet 2015 took place in the Computer History Museum wherein top hackers from all around the globe came together to build some amazing projects over a 36-hour period.
I worked with a very strong team of hackers and designers coming from different backgrounds:
- Malika Aubakirova, University of Chicago
- Matt Jacobs, University of Michigan
- Joseph Milla, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Rumaisa Mughal, Draper University
- Bryan Ngadimin, University of Rochester
I don’t know where they got that cart
During the event, I met a lot of new people and some good old crazy friends from school.
After 36 hours of hacking and not sleeping, we ended up with a project called Rideaway as an entry for the BMW ‘Ride More’ Hack:
“RideAway helps bikers share routes with friends, or discover other bikers in their location. This feature lets riders share their passion with others, while never having to ride alone. The other very important aspect of RideAway is to keep the riders safe, by checking how alert they are while driving. This is done through a novel way of tracking the driver’s eye movement and body motion. Riders can even even set up automated calls to emergency contacts in case they are in danger.”
It’s a system that integrates both software and hardware to encourage safe motorcycle driving in a very novel way. It uses sensors to detect a driver’s alertness and other conditions while driving. It then sends its data to an iOS app that could notify the users for their driving status. There are also statistical information to give the users an idea of how they performed during their rides over a period of time. On top of that, we also added a social feature in the app to help users have their friends “ride-along” with them.
We presented our project on the last day and received a lot of very positive feedback from it. We plan on improving the app to make it more stable and reliable for users who intend to use it.
For more information, please checkout the project here.
After staying up for more than 40 hours now, I can say that I really had fun during these past couple of days. It was very hectic and stressful but it was all worth it! I would definitely do it again, given the chance. For the meantime, it’s time for me to relax and get some sleep.