Hack Upstate VII: The Results Are In

Peter Smith (left), Peter Vaillancourt (center), Ryan Gaus (right)

Grand Prize

The Grand Prize went Ryan Gaus, Peter Vaillancourt, Peter Smith and Mark Headd for VoteFor, a profoundly rich civic application — with nearly a dozen interfaces — which makes voting easy by allowing users to effortlessly identify polling locations closest in proximity to them. VoteFor supports the Amazon Echo, iOS, Android, web, SMS, and other platforms. The team opened with a captivating demo in which Peter Smith asked Ryan Gaus’s Amazon Echo (a prize he secured at a previous Hack Upstate), “Alexa, where can I vote in this upcoming election?”. Alexa promptly responded, audibly, with an address only a few short blocks away. The judges were particularly impressed with how the team successfully scraped public polling location data for both Onondaga and Monroe counties, structured it, and wrapped the formatted data in easy-to-use APIs. Doing so enabled the team to expeditiously build so many interfaces (e.g., Amazon Echo, SMS, iOS, Android, etc) in such a short period of time.

Timothy Duffy (left), Mike Nolan (right)

First Runner Up

The First Runner-Up prize went to Mike Nolan and Timothy Duffy for their mobile app, Beacon. Beacon allows users to light “beacons” and set impromptu meeting spots where friends can be notified of those and attend. The judges were blown away by Beacon’s multidisciplinary technology stack along with the team’s willingness to leverage React — a powerful Javascript library for building user interfaces. Prior to Hack Upstate VII, neither Mike nor Tim had never used React before.

Other Notable Projects

Zoop: Zoop, an iOS app, reveals a moment in time that normally plays too slow for our eyes to see. Zoop allows users to see the progression in a side-by-side layout as users are recording the action in real time.

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Advancing Upstate New York's tech community through events and education. http://hackupstate.com/ && https://careersincode.org/

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