My first hackathon

Had the opportunity to take part in a hackathon – my first to be exact. The hackathon was about gathering software developers, creatives, UX/graphic designers or anyone interested to make a mobile game app. The client is Coca-Cola and the creative brief was to put across the message that a can of coke classic only contains 139 Cal, which is 7% of your daily Cal intake. This is to dispel the notion that a can of coke is grossly high in Cal.

The event was held over last weekend at the offices of the organiser, the BBH MakerLab. BBH stands for Bartle Bogle Hegarty, an established advertising firm whose logo is a black sheep. You can see a sculpture of a black sheep below at their building. The idea behind their logo is the motto that when all the white sheep “zig”, the lone black sheep will “zag”. The idea is to be individually unique and go against the mainstream in the creative process. Black-coloured sheep are extremely rare and is caused by a recessive gene.

BBH1

We used an experimental IDE or a software development platform called “Gamology” by Gingee Games (an Israeli company). The platform allowed us to quickly prototype a mobile phone app that can be immediately deployed onto a phone. No need to know any programming languages, just drag and drop interfaces and media assets. It helped that the CEO and lead programmer of Gingee Games were here personally and helped us to familiarise ourselves with the platform and trouble-shoot any problems.

BBH2

I took part with a friend. Although we didn’t win, I think the judges got excited about our idea. We came up with an idea to use augmented reality markers in supermarkets as part of a game to allow users to collect information about Cal of different food products, including a Coke can. The markers would be read by the mobile phone camera and the data processed by our app called “Calorie Coke Counter”. The brief is here and our presentation slides are here.

BBH3

It was a great learning experience although I didn’t have time last weekend to do much else. I enjoyed the creative process and working in an environment with other creative minds. The organisers were really friendly and helpful and one of the judges gave really good feedback. I knew some of the other participants and 4 out of the 9 teams were students or alumni from LASALLE. In fact, the winning team were my ex-classmates from LASALLE! I’m glad my first hackathon was an enjoyable and memorable one.

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