Roundarch Sponsors Ji-V Hackathon in Chicago

Saturday, June 25, 2011 –

On a beautiful Saturday in Chicago, I had the opportunity of attending the Ji-V Hackathon II at Ascend Training in downtown Chicago. It was a day filled with great speakers, fantastic sponsors, and a great turnout of attendees. Roundarch was represented by Ben Bryan, Shaun Husain, Burton Podczerwinski, and me (Juan Bonfante). This is the second Ji-V Hackathon I’ve attended this year, difference being Roundarch was a silver sponsor for the hackathon this time around. This event brings together some of Chicago’s best and brightest developers, students, and entrepreneurs; although the Chicago mobile/technology community is not as large as what you would find in other cities like New York, the event was a welcome reminder that the Chicago community is growing quite rapidly and the amount of talent just keeps getting better.

Ben Bryan showcased the use of the Android NDK to access lo-level device API’s which allows him to integrate C/C++ libraries with Android; It was an extremely insightful presentation, and his demo gave us a hint at the power of the NDK, by creating a small app that did sound analysis and manipulation, while creating multiple threads to pipe the different sound streams into each thread. The real power of the demo was how easily he could use it create sound effects such as reverb in real-time. You can check out the code here.

Shaun and Burton also did a great presentation, where they showed the use of a IOIO (pronounced YOYO) board, and the Android SDK to create an autonomous RC Car. By tying together multiple infrared sersors and a couple of servos they were able to create an RC car that for the most part can drive itself, they need to work on the breaking system a little, but what they accomplished in less than a week is quite impressive. You can head over to their YouTube Channel to see a video they put together of their creation.

I on the other hand had the pleasure of being a moderator for one of the panel discussions throughout the day, along with Uki D. Lucas who’s a Technical Architect for Sears and the founder of ChicagoAndroid.com; as well as Jason Shah who is the VP of Product Management and Engineering at Mediafly, Inc. The panel consisted of: Moshe Tamssot Founder of MonksOfInvention.com and Managing Partner at InnovationCenter.com, Brendan Kenny who works for Google on the Maps API team doing Developer Relations, Michael Labriola who is an RIA Evangelist and Adobe Community Professional working with Digital Primates, Paul Bernhardt who is an Application Development Consultant at Reasearch In Motion (RIM), and Jason Goodrich who is the founder of A Space Apart and Leasabl. The panelist answered questions regarding a wide breath of topics, including but not limited to UI/UX impact on future applications, web versus mobile applications, Near Field Communication (NFC) & RFID, and Android. The panelist all shared their ideas on these topics, and it was very interesting to see how different companies/technologies are approaching the same problems, in completely different ways; RIM for example, showed how their new OS is intended to be a developer friendly as possible by allowing Developers of various disciplines to create applications very easily. While on a more futurist topic, where they saw the mobile device market headed, Mike Labriola mentioned that what would be nice to see in the future is the disappearance of a device altogether; while purely theoretical the solution he described wouldn’t involve anyone becoming a cyborg anytime soon, but more of a device that would be closer to an article of clothing rather then a peripheral.

At the end of the day, there was two more unexpected surprises (although they were on the schedule… These aren’t necessarily what you would expect when going to a Hackathon on a Saturday): The first was a Flamenco dance presentation, the second a demo of Wushu Martial Arts, both extremely well put together as well as exciting to watch. This was followed the awards ceremony for the Hackathon contestants; The silver prize of $500, provided by Roundarch, was awarded to the KeyLimeTie team consisting of Jennifer Wittman, Austin Palanca, Andrew C, Richie Peters, and Tim Courtney. Congratulations to the KeyLimeTie team for all of your hard work!

Overall I’d like to thank the event organizers Ji Kim Lucas and Veronica Ludwig for putting together a great event, it couldn’t be possible without them. Would also like to thank all of the attendees, and the speakers who came out for making the event a great success. Finally thanks to Ramon De Leon the marketing mind of Six Domino’s Pizza stores in Chicago, for a very tasty lunch.

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