In a strange turn of events one of the winners of our previous hackathons was also involved in organising the first hackathon at the University of Oxford. Not only that but so were the awesome Major League Hackathon which I’ve previously blogged about.
The hackathon was held in the Saïd Business School which describes itself as “a young, vibrant, and innovative business school deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university.” It was a fantastic venue due to the fact it was bright and airy. Most hackathons can end up being stuffy and dark. I turned up on the Saturday morning with abundance of swag waiting for me which was delivered by our awesome Community team. I’m sure almost everyone of the 120+ participants got a piece of Mendeley swag. There was an overall cash prize of £1000 and a runner up of £500. Also, we had categories for Best First-Time Coders and Best First-Time Hackers.
It always amazes me what students can come together and build, even with limited time and experience. One team developed an app called Howami. It used the Digit-Eyes app to read the Unique Product Code (UPC) of a food item and finds the ingredients of that food item. Sometime afterwards, 30 minutes, the app would ask you how you were feeling. It would then analyse your feeling, good or bad, and try and identify allergens. This sort of app would be invaluable to caretakers or child carers.
As a judge we were asked to consider weighting the criteria on 40% idea, 40% execution and 20% design so with this in mind I awarded the Mendeley prize to EasySkim. The team, Rebecca Morgan, Keller Scholl, Deyan Levski and Josh Cai, provided a solution whereby they would summarize the abstract and the conclusion in papers. As students they often get told to read 20+ papers and some of the papers have extraordinarily long introductions, particularly older papers, so they wanted a tool that would allow you to get the jist of a paper so they could either consider or discard it.
The team all met through the website Codelaborate which brings together self-taught coders at university (Oxford based for now) so that they can come together and help each other and build awesome stuff. I love hearing stories like this and if you are Oxford based then I suggest you check it out.
On a final note if you know of any upcoming hackathons then please get in touch with us here in the Mendeley API team. We are trying to make plans for next year and would love to hear from you.