evoHaX 2016 Wrap Up
After weeks of planning, EvoXLabs successfully hosted #evoHaX 2016 from May 7th - 8th. The Hackathon, which was hosted by Blackstone Launchpad at Philadelphia University, challenged teams to build projects matching up with the theme of "Technologies of the Future: Green, Sustainable and Accessible". This year's evoHaX was organized as part of the Philly Tech Week, and was sponsored by AccessComputing, Linode, Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre, and Pennsylvania Link.
evoHaX participants consisted of four teams: Drexel Dragons, Inspirational Hackers, Team Orange, and Prygua. Participants were from a wide variety of backgrounds such as engineering and product development. For 48 hours each team brainstormed and developed products based on personal case studies. "It's different because I'm used to being handed a problem. Now I have to think of a problem and solution.? said Matt, an evoHaX participant.
The Founder of EvoXLabs, Ather Sharif and his team seemed to be excited for all the innovation in the room. Abena Nyarko, an organizer and Philadelphia University employee was equally excited. "The stuff people are talking about makes me excited and happy for demo day," she said. Later, during the event, teams used workshop laboratories near the University's entrepreneur center to transform sketches into tangible items. Nyarko noted the laboratories were perfect for the teams as it helps students discover the world of technology.
On Sunday afternoon, spectators viewed the finished products in demos and presentations. Among the technology displayed included a map system showcasing accessible entrances, a visual home alarm system, a touch reading device, and a tactile oriented input device.
Alongside each team were mentors who had given valuable advice during the planning stages. Nana Essuman, a software engineer from Comcast was especially impressed at what teams were able to accomplish a short amount of time. "Every project was unique as it has a potential place on the market," he said. When presentations were over, both the judges and audiences voted for their own picks. Inspirational Hackers won the audience prize, and Team Orange won the judges prize. Regardless of the individual choices, the judges were highly impressed with all teams involved. "I loved the emphasis on solving problems that need to be solved," Briana Morgan said.
Overall, evoHaX wrapped up with a bang, which is becoming more of a norm for all the evoHaX Hackathons. Both organizers and teams look to the future while reflecting on the event. "Before this weekend I hadn't thought that tactile creativity wasn't accessible for everyone," Drexel Dragons team member Emily said. Austin Seraphin, another judge hoped the projects will continue past the prototype stages and said the event is perfect in increasing accessibility awareness in the city. "Philly can be known for its accessibility [it's in our DNA]," Austin noted. Delegates Prize winner Inspirational Hackers expressed great interest in continuing to work on what was started. "We're going to flesh out and simplify the project," Kyle Thorpe, leader of the team, said. The next evoHax will have bigger shoes to fill. "I like the focus evoHaX has on my community. It's a great way to plant accessibility into their [students'] heads," Waley Sabry, Subject Matter Expert for Drexel Dragons said.Watch evoHaX Wrap Up Video
Created: 5 June, 2016