Rowan University held its inaugural hackathon, ProfHacks, the weekend of Saturday March 12th and Sunday March 13th. A hackathon is a 24-hour competition during which students come together to form teams, build technical projects and compete for prizes. Over one hundred high school and college students competed in ProfHacks and over $3,500 in prizes were awarded for various challenges in three different categories. The event’s theme was physical web: consisting of the categories of sensor journalism, quantified self, and smart buildings. The first place team, consisting of two freshmen engineering students from Penn State, built Code Cubes: a capacitance sensing box that allows you to control the computer cursor by moving your hand in the box. This method of input was then interfaced with a program which visually represented segments of logic and code as 3-D blocks. The user would use the box to control the cursor to make connections between the code blocks to write a program. The team used an Arduino Nano ($5) to implement the capacitance sensing box and stated that the total cost was less than $10. More about the projects submitted can be found at our project site on DevPost.
All participants received a wristband which they could use in their projects. A phone app could scan the wristband and create a live anonymous data set of participant activities.
Over a hundred people attended and had a great time. One of the highlights of the event was when the IEEE chair, Jake Culleny, was pied in the face on his birthday.