Great Uni Hack 2017, Manchester

This article won’t be like my previous articles, but rather a few notes about my experience at my first proper Hackathon. I’ve been to (and won) programming competitions before, such as Game of Codes and Google Hash Code, however those were pretty intense and stressful. This time however, we decided to simply have fun and learn something new.

I teamed up with two of my course mates from the University of York, Sophie and Tasman, and attended the Great Uni Hack 2017. Quite possibly, we came up with the wackiest idea in the whole competition.

There were many prizes and competitions to target in the hackathon, each one from a different sponsor. We decided to focus on American Express’s competition, which was to make an innovative travel companion app.  Although we didn’t manage to win that prize, we did win the popularity prize.

Have you ever landed after a flight and forgotten to text your mother? Well, our idea for a travel companion app was to make an app that reminds you text your mother. Upon request, it can also send an automatic text based on some context, such as changing city. Hence, the name of the app was reMUMber (I know right, awful). The app would also remind you to text your mother on her birthday.

I know, nothing out of this world and no fancy algorithms. We didn’t really have any Android experience, otherwise we would have done something cool. We just took the opportunity to learn Android and enjoy the weekend.

What this app did have however was an intuitive (potentially? maybe? I’m not sure) way of interacting with it. The only time you need to access the app is to setup your mother’s phone number and date of birth. Otherwise, whenever you received an notification, Android lets you add actions. clicking this action would send a generated message. We eventually scrapped the location change tracking since we couldn’t demo it at the hackathon and instead added some fields in the app to simulate a city change.

If you’re still reading this and have never attended a hackathon in your life, then I suggest that you should. They’re fun, you meet some very cool people, food is usually free, some are free for students, plenty of companies attend to recruit people and most important you learn a lot! There are plenty of hackathons happening around the world. If you’re from Europe, I would suggest joining this group.

That’s it really! here are a couple of photos of the application. Feel free to look at our code!

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