Two weeks ago, eleven teams comprised of university students from all over Melbourne competed at the very first UNIHACK Melbourne. Held at York Butter Factory, the teams had one simple task: build an application or prototype related to this year’s theme – discovery – in 24 hours.
Regular readers of TechGeek would know that I was involved in organising UNIHACK Melbourne – in fact, I wrote a blog post explaining why I created the event in the first place. The event itself was a collaboration between the IT student clubs of Monash University Clayton and the University of Melbourne, WIRED Monash and CISSA respectively.
Being there for the full 24 hours, I can safely say that all the app ideas were awesome and some of them I hope come out publicly soon.
One person – on his own team – created a tool that would generate a Minecraft server for a brief period of time, allowing you to quickly explore the world with your friends without the hassles of setting up one yourself.
Another team had an interesting idea to “gamify goodness”, where you and your friend play each other in a game of pong. The loser of that game must give half of their tokens to the winner, and the other half to the charity of the winner’s choice. These tokens then can be redeemed for gifts, used for further gaming, or donated to a charity.
My personal favourite, however, was an app that would help you find free barbeques on campus. What can I say? I am a university student, and any app that can help me save money not purchasing lunch is a great app to have on my phone.
In the end, there could only be one winner for UNIHACK Melbourne 2014.
The judges awarded the major prize to Team LOKE and Friends with their app Snippet. It can be easily described as Wikipedia meets Tinder. Snippet will show you a bit of information from Wikipedia and if you find it interesting, you swipe right. It will even learn from what you swiped left or right to determine what to display next time.
There were also three minor prizes up for grabs. Both the Best Design and Best Use of PayPal/Braintree API went to Team Discovr. Their app, also called Discovr, allows sellers to target and sell goods to people within a small radius of your physical location. The Most Creative Idea award, however, went to Team Test with Cryptic. The app allowed users to hide everything in objects and allow others to find them.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the members of the judging panel for their generosity and time: Andrew van der Stock (KPMG), Justin Taylor (Readify), Long Zheng (Omny), Hadi Michael (Deloitte Digital), Jason Cormier (Mashery), Joe Brasacchio (PwC) and Nikki Parker (Freelancer).
I’d also like to thank all the sponsors, the volunteers, the participants and both the WIRED and CISSA committees. Without you guys, there wouldn’t be a UNIHACK event at all.
I mentioned this at the Presentation Night that was held on the following Monday, but UNIHACK Melbourne will definitely be back in 2015. If you want to participate next year (you have to be a university or TAFE student in 2015) then follow UNIHACK Melbourne on Twitter and Facebook to find out when you can sign up.
And, I promise that you will not be rickrolled.
(If you don’t get it, I suggest you don’t take a look at the website’s source code.)
Disclaimer: Terence Huynh is a Monash University student, Secretary of WIRED for 2014, and is one of the co-organisers of UNIHACK Melbourne.