Monday, September 13, 2010

Mob4Hire Awards $1000 to Winner of Over-The-Air Hackathon in London ... Good job everyone!

Over The Air(By Richard Cooke, Mob4Hire VP Technology ... pictured far right)

I had the honour of representing Mob4Hire at the Over The Air 2010. The event was fantastic, with the highlight for many an appearance by the legendary Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

For me though, the highlight was the Hackathon competition for which over 20 teams stayed up all night creating mobile applications. The quality of the entries was simply stunning.

Mob4Hire presented a prize of $1000 worth of free mobile app usability testing to the app deemed ‘best-in-show’ and I therefore had the difficult task of helping judge the entries alongside representatives from many of the major carriers and device manufacturers. We deliberated long and hard, but eventually we had to come up with a decision as the cleaners were waiting to move in.

Best in Show was awarded unanimously to a team dubbed ‘The Ben Collins Appreciation Society’ for their application ‘First Gear’.

This was a team headed up by Ewan Spence, ably assisted by his team: Simon Maddox; Sam Machin; Rachel Clarke, Robert Lee-Cann; Karl Turner.

The demonstration was a complete tour de force, overrunning enormously although nobody minded. The team had hacked together an iPhone and Android interface using accelerometers to remotely control a couple of RC cars and, most notably, a quadricopter known as ‘The Parrot’. They had also implemented Paypal APIs so that they could charge people for playing with the toys and, reputedly, make extra charges any time somebody crashed the car. Here it is in action:

A full list of winners can be found here at the OTA site:

Some of my notable favorites were:

Audience choice: Lobster – Light Blue
A little London-centric this one (as was the audience). With this app on your iPhone you can ride on London buses for free since it emulates the ubiquitous Oyster card.

Best Android App: FindMyMates – Paul Johnston
An ambitious app combining location data from FourSquare with the camera API to pinpoint friends in a crowded room. This was my personal favourite and, although not quite finished when demonstrated I would like to see more of it.

The Most Useful: BlueBabelTextFish – Sam Machin
Using the Google Translation API and #Blue this application was able to translate incoming SMS messages from any supported language into English.

Best Hardware Hack: The Eyes Have It – Adam Cohen-Rose
Adam demonstrated an unholy marriage of a Lego Mindstorms Robot and an iPhone which implemented face recognition. The robot fixated on a face and then followed it, rather in the manner of a newly born duckling. Truly awesome.

Best use of Open APIs and Open Data : UK Traffic- Dale Lane
A mashup of google maps with some publicly available but currently less than useful traffic data to show traffic information on top of mobile GMaps.

I look forward to seeing the source from some of these projects. I think we could all learn a lot. Well done to everyone that took part.

- Richard

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