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My first hackathon as a mentor: WHNYC 2015

Truth be told, the first Hackathon I assisted to happened only a month ago in Montreal. It was my fist contact with such an event, and a great experience overall. It’s not often that you find yourself surround with 400 people that share a common interest about technologies and hacking as in making things work together in order to make cool ideas come to life.

When WearHacks asked me if I wanted to join them for a second Hackathon in New York, this time as a mentor, I didn’t have to think for long before giving my answer. After quite a long trip that led us from Montreal trough Ottawa and Toronto, we finally arrived in Brooklyn and at New York University.

Usually when you talk about programming (let alone electronics!) with “regular” folks, you get at most a glimpse of curiosity, very often a “but what’s the point of making making your plant tweet ?”. Going to a hackathon is like taking a breathe of fresh air. You get to realize that when congregated, the maker crowd is really something!

Don’t be surprised if you receive a lesson of Javascript from an 11 y.o boy. He and his brother built a marble game using the Myo armband, a servo motor and a js backend.

These guys developed a system of haptic feedback intended to be used to simplify the teaching of surf and improve the practice by collecting data from the accelerometer.

That’s just two examples of the wonderful projects that were presented at the end of the event. You can give a look at the full list on the DevPost page.

And that curiosity and inventiveness comes in all shapes. Most of the participants are university students. It is quite common to see a biology student helping an economics soldering an electronic component. But you might also come across parents trying to introduce their kids to DIY-technology (or the other way around).

The sleepless nights (does a sleeping bag under a table counts?) are easily forgotten thanks to the free chipotle the friendliness of everyone and the quality of the projects presented.

Needless to say that I’ll be looking forward for the next edition!

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