Hack Upstate IX: The Results Are In

Hack Upstate
4 min readApr 10, 2017

Sincerest thanks to all involved with Hack Upstate IX this past weekend. It was a tremendous thrill to see so many talented Upstate New York STEM students, practitioners and hobbyists come together, collaborate, build, break and learn. The creativity was inspiring and the level of execution was exceptional.

We encourage you to check out all of the projects on Hack Assist and to take a look at the gallery on Facebook (sincerest thanks to Daniel Viau for providing his photography services).

Grand Prize

The Grand Prize this spring was shared among two individuals with two separate projects. The first was developed by Ryan Gaus.

Ryan kicked off his demo with the following anecdote:

Whenever I go for a walk in a new place, I often walk by landmarks that I wish I could learn more about, but up until now, I couldn’t.

To address this problem Ryan built an augmented reality application, Wikipedia AR. Now when he walks around he can pull out his phone and through the camera see virtual markers that are in proximity to him. The markers depict which locations have corresponding Wikipedia pages associated with them. From there he can click the markers and link to their Wikipedia pages in order to learn more.

Here’s a quick demo:

The other Grand Prize winner, Stephen Shaffer, built goVio, an app that pairs GPS and video search. Stephen built the application as means to correlate distances traveled from different locations with the corresponding videos associated with them.

That is to say, a user can hone in on a particular set of coordinates in Google Maps (Location A → Location B) and then cut to the corresponding video displays that are directly mapped between the two coordinates.

First Runner-up

The First Runner-Up prize went to a team of graduate computer science students from Syracuse University for their project, Nest.

The entire team moved to Syracuse two years ago from overseas. They discussed the problems and challenges associated with moving to a new city and finding a place to rent.

To address this problem they built a predictive analytics application that enables users to find the right neighborhoods for them based on their preferences.

Their responsive web and iOS applications rate each street in Syracuse and take into account criminal activity, road quality, nearby retail stores and healthcare facilities.

To do this they utilized open data curated on the Hack Upstate website here.

Best Effort

Last but not least, the Best Effort prize was awarded to a team from Morrisville State College for their application, PlanE. The PlanE web application provides a newsfeed for students to publish and promote campus events which are easily shareable among students, faculty and campus clubs.

The team did an excellent job articulating lessons learned, and adeptly discussed the challenges they encountered when leveraging new technologies they hadn’t used before (i.e, languages and frameworks.)

With another Hack Upstate in the books, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take one last opportunity to thank all of our incredibly generous and supportive sponsors. We also must again thank our awesome panel of judges. We’re extremely fortunate to have their backing as we collectively work together and continue to advance Upstate New York’s technology community.

See you in the fall!

Excited for next fall’s event? Join the Hack Upstate mailing list today!

Hack Upstate’s mission is to unite and facilitate collaboration among the greater Upstate New York technology community. In pursuit, we organize hackathons, offer web and mobile development classes, facilitate talks and lectures, and ultimately help align Upstate tech talent with promising employment opportunities. To date, we’ve built a growing network comprised of thousands of Upstate New York engineers and nearly a hundred technology employers.