3D printing, image recognition, data visualisation, augmented reality & more: PennApps 2017 saw…

PennApps, being the oldest student run hackathon in North America, was always on our radar. Every year companies ranging from Blackrock and Palantir to Google and Facebook partner with PennApps. Consequently, PennApps draws the most serious product hackers around. Suffice it to say, when the opportunity to partner with them came up, we were pretty excited.

1200 hackers were chosen from almost 6000 applicants. Hackers traveled from various other cities to Penn for the hackathon — not just from within the US, but also from Canada, Singapore, India and quite a few other countries!

Co-founders Tanmai & Rajoshi were at the event to help out the teams using Hasura, as well as participate as mentors for any team that needed help with their application backend. It was a source of great pride that in the end 3 out of the 13 winning teams had built on Hasura! They won prizes from Goldman Sachs, Google and one of the coveted PennApps overall prizes. This apart, we also gave out prizes to 3 more teams.

Here’s a look at some of the most interesting projects built by hackers using Hasura.

1. PillAR — An AR based pill tracker

Winner, 2nd place overall
The PillAR team: (from left) Arlene Siswanto, Avery Lamp, Ryan Sullivan, Yasmeen Roumie

A team of veteran hackers, PillAR decided to help patients manage drug dosage & prescriptions. Their friend had recently been hospitalised because of incorrect drug dosage, and they wanted to help other patients avoid the same problem. They built an AR identification + prescription tracking app that patients could use to correctly identify drugs and their prescribed dosage.

What it does: Pointing their phones’ camera at a drug helps the patient identify the drug name and the associated prescription. There is also a digital pill tracker to keep up with their drug protocol.

The stack: Apple ARkit to handle the AR portion, Google Vision API to identify the drug & Hasura to power their backend

Read more on PillAR on Devpost.

2. DABurrito: A 3D printer for Burritos

Winner, Best app built on Hasura
Myneenym, Shriyash, Mikhail, Sahil from Mongomery Blair High School

“Everybody loves burritos. Nobody has time to make their own. Solution: Distributive additively-manufactured Burritos”. That’s the inspiration behind team DABurritos’ hack. Need we say more?

Putting the final touches onto DABurrito before evaluations begin

What it does: A 3D printer that takes a soft shell tortilla and dispenses the sauces and rice onto it.

The team also built a mobile app that lets you order Burritos from nearby machines.

The stack: A RasberryPi & 2 Arduinos and stepper motors to control the burrito manufacturing tool, Expo.io to build the frontend & Hasura for the data, auth & file APIs

Read more about DABurrito on Devpost.

3. IntelliFridge: A fridge that identifies the nutritional value of its contents

(Winner, 2nd place for the ‘Best Android Things Hack’)
IntelliFridge: (from left) Akshaya Dinesh, Sharon Lin, Sara (not pictured)

Drawing from their experience of having seen family members struggle with diabetes, IntelliFridge built a food identification system into a fridge. It identifies what the user has picked up and immediately gives them a nutritional breakdown.

What it does: The fridge identifies food a user has removed by taking a picture & running an ML algorithm on it. It then uses a third party API to fetch the nutrition info on the food and displays it for the user.

The stack: The NXP dev kit, Android things & Hasura.

Check out IntelliFridge on Devpost.

4. Grep Jobs: Search jobs with more relevance

Winner, the Goldman Sachs prize for ‘Best Data Visualisation’
The Grep Jobs team: (from left) David Grossman, Jacob Poole, John Pham, Jay Khatri

Grep Jobs was created by a team of undergrad students looking for a more holistic job search engine. Users can search for jobs not just based on location and pay but also the financial health of the company and the weather in the city.

What it does: Grep Jobs scrapes multiple job portals and then generates a visual representation of jobs based on geography. It then lets users filter these jobs as they’d like.

The stack: Vue.JS & ReactJS for the UI, WebGL for the map integration & Flask & Hasura for the backend.

Check out Grep Jobs on Devpost.

5. Q’d: The restaurant pager re-imagined as a mobile app

Winner, Hasura Special Prize
The Q’d team: (from left) Sidharth Rampally, Sachin Jain, Saarthak Sethi, Rahul R

The Q’d team, high school students from Thomas Jefferson High, were not happy having to queue up and wait a long time to get seated at restaurants. So they built a mobile app to replace the restaurant pager. It’s cheaper, simpler and doesn’t require the customer to carry around a pager that is covered in grease from previous use.

What it does: Q’d lets users get a ticket through the app and wait in line virtually. The app notifies them as soon as their table / order is ready.

The stack: Apache Cordova to build the native iOS app, AmChart to visualise the queue and Hasura for the data and auth APIs as well as hosting.

Check out Q’d on Devpost.

6. FridgeSight: A kit that makes any fridge smart

Winner, Hasura Special Prize
The FridgeSight team

A team from Montgomery Blair high school made FridgeSight, a cheap kit to convert any regular fridge into a smart fridge.
It consists of a touch screen and camera that can be mounted on a fridge door and a companion mobile app.

What it does: Once the fridge unit is mounted, users can scan their food before storing or removing it. The system keeps a running inventory & stock of the items and lets the user know what is in the fridge, what is running low, what they can make with the items they have, and even provides them with a shopping list.

The stack: Android things + RaspberryPi for the IoT system, Google MobileVision + UPCItemdb APIs to get product names and images, Google Cloud Vision API to identify unpackaged goods and produce, Expo.io + React Native for the mobile app, Food2Fork API to come up with recipes with what’s available and Hasura for the data & auth APIs.

Read more about FridgeSight on Devpost.

A quick look at some of the other teams

The Stockpedia team: (from left) Jason Lin, Kartikay Goyle, Joe Qian, Gayatri Joshi

Stockpedia built an application that predicts stock market pricing from the viewpoint of both long term and short term trading.

The stack: Tensor flow to train neural networks and Hasura for the data APIs.

Check out Stockpedia on Devpost.

Team Debrief: (from left): Niki Subramaniam, Kai Amelung, Andrew Wang

Debrief is a tool to get a balanced viewpoint on a news topic or trend. It is a news aggregator that tracks trends and retrieves news articles related to topics. It then summarises each article using NLP + ML and presents it to the user. It can also display a visual guide to the user showing how many diverse viewpoints an article contains.

The stack: Google Cloud API to run NLP, Charts.JS for data visualisation, Node & Hasura on the backend.

Read more on Debrief at Devpost.

The Competitone team (from left): Nick Crawford, Azim Shaik

Competitone: After having a terrible customer service experience, the Competitone team decided to build a tool that companies can use to discover what their customers feel about them and their competition. It takes social media data like comments, posts, tweets, etc. from all the leading competitors of an industry to perform sentiment analysis and displays an analysis.

The stack: Facebook Graph API for data, IBM Watson Tone Analyzer for sentiment analysis and Hasura for the data APIs.

Check out Competitone on Devpost.

The WeEat team

WeEat: An app to find someone to join you for lunch based on your location.

The stack: Swift for the front end & Hasura for the backend.

Read up on WeEat at Devpost.

Team Slakify: Arjun Kalburgi

Slackify: A mobile app for making and posting slack emojis. Arjun Kalburgi found that emojis are a great way for people to bond over on slack. So, he built an app to quickly make emojis from photos of people.

The stack: Expo.io for the frontend & Hasura for the backend.

Here’s Slackify on Devpost.

So, how was PennApps for us?

Our experience at PennApps Fall 2017 was fantastic. We were absolutely blown away by the ideas and skills of all the participants. Not to mention the fearlessness with which they attacked problems using tools they had never worked on before.

Here’s what some of the teams had to say:

Q’d: “We liked how we could introduce pretty complex logic into Hasura without much backend code. Also, the ease of access to view and manage user data and authentication was very helpful.”FridgeSight: “Hasura was very simple to use. We liked the JSON format for queries and responses.”
Debrief: “Git push to deploy on Hasura was super convenient, and the console was pretty intuitive”

Special thanks to all the student organisers for a flawlessly executed event!

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