In the News

February 21, 2018

HackUCI’s Large Turnout Leads to Innovative Creations

Close to 500 participants filled the Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom for HackUCI 2018. “The turnout was amazing. This was arguably one of the most successful hackathons we’ve had at UCI,” said Wesley Tseng, the fourth-year UCI computer game science major who helped organize the event. For 36 hours, starting on the evening of Feb. 2, 2018, undergraduate and graduate students created 73 projects, up from 39 last year. The event featured $3,625 in prizes, with judges taking into consideration the project’s technical difficulty, polish, usefulness and originality.

Award-Winning Hacks

The winner for “Best Overall,” taking home $500 to be split among the five team members, was HaleCoin. This fitness app lets users earn virtual currency and place bets with real money, so they can compete with friends and colleagues to make money while staying fit and healthy. HaleCoin was also awarded “Best Social Hack” by Pariveda Solutions.

AORUS handed out three “Most Polished Game” awards. The first went to Pink, a brain teaser in which players use both the mouse and keyboard to solve a variety of puzzles. The second went to ChickInfinite, where the goal is to catch eggs that are being hatched by a chicken. UCI computer science major Justin Lonh helped develop the game, and this was his first hackathon. “HackUCI gave me the opportunity to create something interesting without any limitations or the fear of getting a bad grade. It was an awesome experience.”

The third game, Pokegatchi, also won Templarbit’s award for “Most Addicting App.” The game combines the physical aspects of Tamagotchi with virtual renditions of Pokemon to create a new augmented reality experience.

Kareo’s “Best Health and Wellness Hack” went to Valerian, a chatbot that provides access to mental health resources and personalized feedback from an unbiased source. The “Best Entrepreneurial Hack,” awarded to the most viable product, went to SanaTree, which offers easy access to your entire medical history.

Technology and Teamwork

The highlight of the weekend for Chubing Huang, a computer science major at USC, was working with others to address problems and find solutions. “Teamwork was the best part of my journey at HackUCI.” The teammates had to support each other in debugging their MedChain app, which uses blockchain technology for medical record management. Huang added, “I learned a lot about blockchain and the Ethereum platform. More importantly, I gained two good friends and invaluable experience through this hackathon.”

Tseng says most of the feedback he has received has been similarly positive. Everyone was pleased with the environment, activities and support. The most common complaint was the lack of snacks — a result of the unexpectedly large turnout! According to Tseng, “most participants seemed to enjoy what we offered during the event and plan to attend next year.” He adds that he and his fellow organizers are already working to “make HackUCI 2019 even better.”

Check out our HackUCI 2018 video.

Shani Murray
HackUCI’s Large Turnout Leads to Innovative Creations

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