YHack November 04, 2014

This weekend I traveled to Yale with friends for YHack, Yale’s huge hackathon. This hackathon was serious. The hackathon takes over a 3 story office building and teams spread out throughout the building. There were a lot of great companies there and some great hacks.

I worked with Kiana and Josh to make a Pebble smart watch the controller for both mouse input and also drive a robot around. It was a good balance of technically challenge yet feasible for us. It was a lot of fun. I worked primarily handling the sensor data and controlling the mouse based off the data we were sending in. It wasn’t pretty. Our initial code and prototype were extremely slow. We had 15 seconds of latency in our system at one point. But we kept reducing the time until updates were possible approximately once a second.

Here are some interesting problems I ran into while working on this:

At the end of the hackathon we had a rough working prototype with mouse movement, right clicks and left clicks. We also had the ability to move the robot but didn’t demo it. As the judging happened we got to show off to a lot of different people and people really seemed to dig the idea and appreciate it a little. As the announcement went out that the judging time was over and it was time to announce the winners we were freaking out. Pebble had never even visited us. The only API we really used and it we weren’t even in the running for an award. Halfway through the general awards Pebble stopped by to checkout our project and it was our smoothest demo yet. The Pebble engineer seemed to really enjoy our app and told us he hoped we kept developing it.

When the API awards were announced we were shocked to hear our name for the Best Use of the Pebble SDK award and we won a second award from Thinkgeek for Craziest Hack Award. It was awesome! We were super pumped and came home with a Pebble Steel per team member and a bag of swag to share. Awesome weekend and can’t wait for our next hackathon!

Our Project can be viewed here on Challenge Post