Hackathon winners set up inaugural event in Peterborough

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The city’s first hackathon event should draw student tech wizards from across Canada in November.

Organized by a group of computer science students from Trent University, the Electric City Hack will attract post-secondary students to a 36-hour competition to show off their engineering and computer tech skills.

“The event is a competition to build the coolest thing,” says Dexter Fichuk, who along with Matthew Barnes won the Hack Western 2 event in London last November.

The pair developed the ‘blip’ by using a ‘sticker’ similar to that found on a chip-enabled debit card which they stuck to a laptop. Any file on a hand held device could then be transferred straight to the computer by simply tapping it on the sticker. Their idea won first place in the Best Use Of Amazon Web Services category and honourable mention for Life Hacks.

“People can make anything they dream of like a web app or phone app. At one of the hackathons we were at someone made an alarm clock that hits you to wake you up,” says Barnes.

Since the win, the pair has competed at other hackathons spawning the idea to bring a similar event to Peterborough. They are receiving help from fellow student Laura Mann and others to organize the event which they hope will draw some 400 students and several tech-related businesses to the region from Nov. 4 to 6.

“Peterborough has a lot to offer and it’s not on the radar for tech or computer sciences,” says Fichuk.

Mann, who has also participated in a hackathon event, says participants are not to have anything built before the competition begins. However, many people have ideas before they arrive.

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” says Mann of her hackathon event. “There was a lot of coffee.”

Teams or individuals will have 36-hours to design and create anything that comes to mind. Business sponsors will be on hand to provide materials and supplies. Fichuk says the hack event is a great opportunity for local businesses to showcase what they do while providing equipment for the competitors to use.

There will be several different categories for people to enter depending on a competitor’s skill and expertise.

“This isn’t just for the tech community,” says Fichuk, adding the Electric City Hack is 100 per cent student run and is a not-for-profit event.

The event is free to participate and registration will open in the coming weeks. In the meantime, those interested can get on the Electric City Hack’s mailing list by visiting the website at www.echacks.xyz or by emailing bonjour@echacks.xyz

Businesses also interested in participating can make a connection through the website and email as well.

The Electric City Hack is set for Nov. 4, 5 and 6 at Gzowski College at Trent University.

Article Available on myKawartha.