Team News

Our Third Hackathon Retreat

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
17
Dec
By Natalie Lim

Where Great Ideas Begin

For the Spark 64 Team, hackathons are one of the company events we look forward to the most.

Over the past weekend, the team gathered together for our third Hackation Retreat, where we have a hackathon within a getaway vacation.

It was the ultimate bonding and learning experience for our team - check out what we got up to!

Getting settled

After our usual afterwork Friday drinks, the team convoyed our way to an out-of-Auckland retreat. We went into this trip with few expectations - we just wanted to see what could be created within 24 hours. All we knew was that we were in for a weekend of great food, amusing board games and potentially the first steps towards disruptive innovation.

We had a family meal together and got in some well-deserved R&R. A few rounds of foosball, pool and board games (Captain Sonar FTW) got our competitive spirit going for the next day’s Hackathon!

As everyone knows, pizza fuels innovation!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"

Getting Started

After the banter and board games, we gathered the next day for a team brainstorm to exchange any and every idea we had bubbling away in our minds - for work and for play! We sought out concepts that could be used in a variety of applications someday, as well as to build upon projects we already have in the works. With a flurry of Post-Its, we set off as individuals and in pairs to tackle a few different projects.

Knocking around ideas

Our Pitches

In under 24 hours, we started the foundations of four applications and pitched them to the rest of the team.
Here's what we came up with:

Finger Doodle

We created an app that allows you to draw using only your fingers and hand. This was made possible with deep-learning models trained for precise hand tracking, that were efficient enough to run on mobile hardware. The same underlying technology can be used for controlling your devices using only your hand (think while in the kitchen), reading sign language, gaming; the possibilities are endless!

How Do You Feel...?

Are you a business trying to gauge your customer’s reactions? Or just a humanoid trying to avoid public faux pas?

We experimented with browser-friendly, on-device vision model to register levels of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, surprise and disgust. This could be utilised to support focus groups for gauging customer reaction to new products.

AI Table Tennis Referee

We’re totally over keeping score at the office Pong Arena!  Using Google’s Teachable Machine, we worked on an application to automatically score our lunchtime table tennis matches. By gathering audiovisual data of us playing, we segmented and classified the frames and sounds before feeding them into their separate models for training. The aim of the models was to determine the ball's location via object detection,  using the different sound signatures. The output of these two models could then be combined to determine our score and winner!

No Ingredient Left Behind

We were able to create the building blocks of a computer vision model that would allow us to detect and classify grocery items. This could have a great number of uses and applications, including checking you have all your shopping at the supermarket and quality control for food production lines.

 


Key Takeaways

  • Hackathons are one of the most valuable ways for Spark 64 to encourage innovation. This weekend escape was a great opportunity to boost new ideas, from thought to implementation, in a couple fun-filled days.
  • Having the opportunity to hang out with one another was key to our creativity! We wouldn’t have come up with the applications that we did without bouncing our mad genius (or just mad?) thoughts and ideas around.
  • More table tennis games are tp be scheduled… For R&D purposes, of course! ; )

Want to be at our next hackathon retreat?
Contact us about our open positions and opportunities!

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