Students Display Ingenuity at TechHacks Competition

By Erika Vichcales | Published

Can computer hacking be a good thing?  Last weekend, more than 130 students spent 18 hours straight working to prove that it can.  At TechHacks., sponsored by the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Michigan Tech, students were given 18 hours to create something computer-related completely from scratch.           

“ TechHacks is a student-run hackathon sponsored by tech companies, local businesses and the University,” said software engineering student Michael Tuer. “Companies are looking to make connections with students who are passionate about their craft, and hackathons are a wonderful way for students to display that passion while having fun at the same time.”

A hackathon is an event where computer programmers and others who are involved in software development collaborate to create software and hardware projects. A typical hackathon lasts anywhere from a day to a week. At Michigan Tech’s TechHacks , more than 30 teams of five or fewer students competed.                 

“ TechHacks does not collect the projects.,” Tuer  explained. “We hope students will continue to work on their projects, or even create new projects based on ideas they had during the event. Projects also serve as an excellent talking point during interviews,” he said.

Judges named the top three teams from this event: Our Door, Friend2Lend and Wake on LAN light. Our Door, which came in first, was a door that can determine if a non-resident has approached it. This is done by mobile devices connected to a home network that sends a photo of whoever is at the door to the residents of the house. Friend2Lend developed an app that helps manage money among friends, tracking such data as who owes whom money. Lastly, the Wake on LAN light team created a light that turns on when it receives a signal sent via a mobile device to a network card attached to the light.        

TechHacks aims to have a large event this spring, so Tuer urged students to start thinking of ideas soon. “Through events like this, we hope to build community across departments, attract top tech companies to Michigan Tech and encourage students to develop outside of classes,” said Tuer. “We would be pleased to see everyone who participated and those who missed out back in the spring for the second TechHacks.” 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Last Modified 3:04 p.m. March, 22 2019