HackRPI X sets out to “Change the World”
Every year, the HackRPI Organizing Team hosts a 24-hour hackathon to teach people about the coding world and give them hands-on experience with working on a project of their choosing. In groups of up to 4 individuals, participants must start from an idea, turn it into a fully fledged project, and be ready to present it to a panel of judges within the time frame. This year was no exception as participants set out to “Change the World” at the club’s tenth annual hackathon, HackRPI X, on November 4th in the Darrin Communications Center.
On the day of the event, hackers first attended an opening ceremony before moving to tables throughout the DCC to begin their projects. The 24-hour clock began promptly at noon and participants were allowed to start coding until noon the following day. The entirety of the DCC was filled with people chatting, coding, and enjoying the wealth of everything the event had to offer. In addition to the main project workings, there were also workshops held in various rooms that were designed to aid contenders’ projects. Workshops included topics such as tech stack, patient safety, mobile development, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. Participants could then build upon what they learned in the workshops and apply it in their project if they so choose. Seeing as there were no requirements to participate in the hackathon, the workshops provided a realm of opportunity to gain new skills regardless of one's previous coding experience or how active one was in the competition.
The hackathon itself was sponsored by various companies including IBM Call for Code, Nuvalence, Global Foundries and Patient Safety Technology Challenge, Rensselaer’s School of Science and the Rensselaer Center for Open Source, among others. The excitement continued throughout the night as sponsor Taichi Bubble Tea also provided bubble tea at midnight for all hackers. There were also provided activities such as a movie that began at 12:30 am and a 1 am “Daylights Savings Party.” For those who did not want to stay up and were unable to go home, rooms in the Low Center for Design and Innovation served as designated “sleeping rooms.”
The following morning at noon, projects were due and presentations began. All participants presented their projects in front of a panel of judges made up of a combination of Rensselaer professors, sponsors, and industry specialists. During their 3-minute presentation, hackers described their projects and various aspects of their process, as well as gave a demonstration of their project. The presentations were vital to the competition as they were voted on by judges to decide the winners of the various prizes.
The closing awards ceremony at the conclusion of the hackathon gave out awards for the most impressive projects. Namely, the top three awards included #1 and #2 “Best Hack” and “Best in Patient Safety.” The #1 “Best Hack” was awarded to DAVE, which was a camera that could inform the user what it saw based on AI features. The #2 “Best Hack” was awarded to HealthChat, which was a project based on utilizing an AI model to provide individuals with medical information. “Best in Patient Safety” was presented to RPillPal: A Biometric Pill Dispenser, which was a pill dispenser created to regulate a patient’s dose to avoid overdose. Other projects were also awarded titles such as “Best First Time Hack” and “Ugliest Code Competition.” A complete list of winners can be found here.
HackRPI X gave rise to a collection of incredibly creative ideas and projects that participants worked immensely hard on. The year’s hackathon theme of “Change the World” was a nod towards RPI’s motto “Why not change the world?” It aimed to inspire hackers to create high impact projects, which was exactly what was achieved. Projects showed off Rensselaer’s motto, showing that anyone can change the world regardless of what they put their mind to. HackRPI’s website can be found here for more information.