Last weekend, Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics hosted its fourth Philly Codefest, a two-day coding competition to transform data into real-world solutions.
Over 250 software developers and designers, professionals, educators, students and entrepreneurs attended the event, which took place on Feb. 20-21 in Drexel University’s Behrakis Grand Hall in Philadelphia, Pa.
Codefest participants formed teams — both before and during the event — with the goal of coming up with creative ways to tackle a variety of national and local challenges. During the almost 30 hours of marathon coding, over 30 teams worked to produce new software and hardware prototypes and tools related to community health, transportation, energy, agriculture, art and information technology, among other areas.
A kick-off ceremony was held on Saturday, Feb. 20 featuring keynote speaker and DreamIt Ventures Chief Investment Officer Karen Griffith Gryga.
Philly Codefest 2016 sponsors included: Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics, Integrichain
, Lockheed Martin
, Capital One
, FIS Global
, The University City Science Center
, and Monetate
A panel of judges that included respected members of Philadelphia’s tech and academic communities reviewed the projects.
Three teams took home awards from Philly Codefest, which were presented after demos on Sunday, Feb. 21:
Grand Prize ($2,500), Student Grand Prize ($2,500), Best User Interface ($500), & #BestMicrosoftHack (sponsored by Microsoft; team members each receive $100 gift cards)
Tess DiStefano, Shaw Levin, Phuc Ngo, Vamsi Nellore
The team provided an interface for encouraging all citizens in a city to contribute by reporting on incidents and issues, spending time volunteering and doing other good deeds, solving problems, participating in various good citizenship events (e.g., adopting a pet from a shelter). They also provided a separate dashboard for sponsors to solve problems and post requests for volunteer work. The sponsor dashboard would be for city officials that can fix issues, nonprofit organizations that want volunteers, companies looking to reward people for contributions, etc. All users can view how well they're doing on their profile, and when users interact they see each other's statistics.
Dean’s Innovation Award ($500)
The Change in PI
Chris Ozgar, Anand Patel, Chris Seidl, Anthony Lacono, Andrew Villa
“One of our team members was flying to Arizona and was running a little late at the airport. He got into the security checkpoint line and was anxious due to how long the line was and he didn't know if he would get through in time. He thought to himself that there's got to be a better way where he would know how much time he actually has and if he should be taking action to try and get through the line faster; thus, Line Sign was born!”
Line Sign counts the number of WiFi enabled devices in a defined region. This data is recorded passively via a monitoring USB interface to capture cell phone probe requests.
Best Hardware Hack ($500) and Best Solution Founded on Customer Empathy Leveraging Open Source (sponsored by Capital One; team receives a Hero RC XQ-5 UFO Drone with camera)
Peter Gagliardi, Leonard Chan, Karishma Changlani
“It is always frustrating to have to run to a bus stop, only to watch the bus drive away.”
The Web app and Arduino pager both provide notifications on when the bus is getting close. This way, the user knows when to leave for the bus to make it to the stop on time. They also developed a web application that displays SEPTA buses on the map in real time.
For more information about the Philly Codefest, please visit www.phillycodefest.com