Back to the Classroom at MHacks V

Back to the Classroom
Last weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan the University of Michigan hosted the 5th annual MHacks hackathon. This 36-hour long event saw about 1,250 students from around the world competing to create the largest collegiate hackathon in the world for $34,870 in prizes. We sent four engineers from the Concur Platform Services team to serve as mentors and two recruiters from the Concur Internship Program to support the event with our open API [platform], nerf guns and red bull. This winning combination led to MHacks being the biggest hackathon for Concur for giving out developer sandboxes as well as having 180 students sign up for a summer internship!


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1,250 students, 36 hours, endless energy drinks.
Luke Korthuis, Sarah Coke, Richard Puckett, David Symons, Peter Hanus and I joined 43 other sponsors at MHacks to help support the 1,250 students prototype their idea. From 100 nerf guns, 250 red bulls, bags of candy and our API, we provided support whenever we could. We were blown away by the innovative ideas of this promising, talented group of students. An interesting aspect of MHacks which I had not experienced at another hackathon before was that it was spread out in different rooms across the University of Michigan instead of in a single giant room, giving different rooms themes to explore in regards to how to create your own wearable.


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273 entries
Once the submission period had ended, MHacks had 273 entries! From using fourier series to help anyone draw anything, to sending data over FM radio and finally, to our winner to automatically swap attendee details using a handshake with the Myo and Google Glass wearable devices. MYOwnTransaction “utilizes the technology of the future to add a new personal and quick way to make a transaction and connect people wearing Myo bands," said Michael Ray, a MYOwnTransaction member, about the winning application. To learn more about MYOWN Transaction, here is a video demo. Utilizing the Concur API, MYOwnTransaction automatically adds attendee information inside Concur with the shake of a hand. This device could mean that you would never lose another business card or miss the name of a valuable new networking contact ever again. To make this app a reality, the team used an Android phone and Firebase to establish a virtual connection. MYOwnTransaction won the category for best use of Concur API as well as the most technically challenging app, sponsored by a16z.


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More Hacking to Come
At the end of MHacks a few members from our team had never been to a hackathon or experienced it from a mentor posiiton, and weren’t quite sure what to expect. But in the end, David, Peter and Richard were extremely excited to attend their next hackathon! There is nothing like a short deadline, high pressure and enticing prizes to force one to be quick and nimble, producing some amazing hacks. I personally loved MHacks because of the people I met, but I also learned about embedded NFC chips to create a more personalized house which was built in 36 hours. Also, there were various events to break up the nonstop screen time like Therapaws, snowball fights to nerf wars. Hackathons give the ability to hack without limits and the hacks produced last weekend and the skills of the coders creating them, really attest to this, showing how hackathons are becoming the new Career Fair. Thankfully, our recruiters were on hand to have the opportunity to start recruiting from this talented pool of students. We're looking forward to the next hackathon we attend.


MHacks interns


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