11 Hackathon Projects To Start Our Year

by: | Jan 5, 2015

Coming back to work after a holiday break can be like being doused with a bucket of ice water. But for the team at ArcTouch, 2015 began today with flames and sparks — and a big dose of ingenuity — as our three-day hackathon kicked off. Eleven different teams assembled to take on projects with goals ranging from automagically opening the office door to a drone that follows you, touching on a wide range of devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).

Our hackathon has three goals, according to ArcTouch CEO, Eric N. Shapiro.

“First, we wanted to get EVERYONE physically together in the office — we’re so project-focused and working with our clients, that we don’t often have the chance to all be together at the same time,” Shapiro said. “Second, it’s an opportunity to explore interesting new tech and see what kinds of opportunities are out there. And third, is to have fun — we get to work on solving some problems we’re really passionate about.”

Here’s a quick overview of the projects we’re working on; come back to our blog later this week for a wrap-up of where we succeeded… and where we failed!

A Door That Knows You

Lose your keys and forget the door code. How about a door that simply unlocks as you approach? One of our teams is hacking together a solution that uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to recognize our employees’ phones — and unlocks the door so all we have to do is push it open. As someone whose fat fingerprint rarely seems to work on our current biometric lock, I’m looking forward to this one.

Square Phone, Round Watch

Taking inspiration from one of our most popular blog posts of 2014, one of our hackathon teams is attempting to make a Moto360 work with an iPhone. Many iPhone users find Motorola’s circular form factor a more attractive option than rectangular options like the Apple Watch — so we’ll see if we can make the two speak to one another.

hackathon moto360


The Drone Companion

GoPro nailed it with its gear that allowed sports enthusiasts to wear the portable device and film themselves in action. Why not take it a step further? Our team is trying to create a hack that will give a Parrot AR.drone the ability to hover above and follow their owner and take pictures while they bike ride — with virtually no interaction.

Robot Who Likes His Distance

We recently discovered a cool “toy” robot, MiP. It comes with a mobile app, but it got us thinking: What if you could control more than one robot? And what if you could control it remotely? Think: race with real (physical) robots from another location. Or perhaps the world’s smallest and least intimidating robotic security system.Hackathon MiP

Apple TV: A Real-Time Data Dashboard?

With the growing number of large screens and Apple TVs in offices, why not put those screens to work as a real-time dashboard? Our team has the goal of setting up a server for things like project tracking, financial performance — and then displaying them in real-time directly via an Apple TV.

The Digital Project Pocket Companion

One of our company challenges is integrating our systems so that anyone — especially new hires — can find all the information they need to be an expert on current or past projects. This app would give a high-level snapshot of our past projects — then the ability to drill into the details with links to assets and tickets in our project management system.

Smart Watch, Smart Home

We think 2015 will be a big year for home automation in large part because of Apple HomeKit. One of our hackathon teams is creating a HomeKit app for the Apple Watch. They’re working with a three-bulb LED light and a HomeKit gateway, and hope to use the Apple Watch to change the color, hue and brightness of each bulb independently.



Virtual Greeter

Let’s face it, we all like a cheerful greeting when we walk in the door. Why not automate it? This hackathon team is attempting to build a mobile app based on a tablet running facial recognition software that maps to an employee database so that when one of our team members walks in the door, they get a personal greeting with their name — and maybe even a favorite song or music video.

Fitness App for Coaches

There are dozens of training apps you can use and countless fitness classes you can sign up for at your local gym. Our team is trying to make an app that lets real fitness coaches set a personal training program that is driven by an app. You’ll get notifications when you need to exercise, what you need to do and when to do it. And your activity, via the phone GPS, will all track back to goals your coach set up for you.

The Automated Office

While home automation is getting alot of attention, we’re also excited about office automation and the Internet of Things in the workplace. One of our teams is taking on the task of automating our office in Brazil — and doing things like controlling equipment, lights, the thermostat and more via an app.

Wearables Meet Commerce

With wearables on the rise, there’s going to be a need to perform transactions on wearable devices. One of our teams is underway working on an open-source library that will enable people to send money using their Android Wear device.