#GKHack15: 24 - 26 June 2015

What a Hackathon is: A marathon of hacking (ethically) to solve social, business and/or economical challenges. Ideally, no one goes home and everyone works non-stop to build a tech/digital solution.

If you’ve never been to a hackathon, let us paint a picture for you: an empty conference room, a few dozen hackers tapping on multiple machines, blood, sweat, tears and forty-two hours to make the best piece of hardware, software or both.

Geekulcha held another one of their bonkers hackathons this last weekend and we were there talking code and coffee with the contestants. We also cherry picked our favourites from the weekend.

The Digital Key System

The future of home automation and IoT means that the age-old image of a janitor with hundreds of keys could be replaced by a custodian clutching a phone or tablet. Using an Arduino, this project will let you use almost any device with The Digital Key System app to act as your key chain, locking and unlocking doors at the touch of a button. Additional features include the ability to take pictures of anyone trying to break into your house, and making doors and entrances easier for those with disabilities.

Handy-Connect Informal businesses in smaller communities face many challenges, and reaching new customers is arguably one of the biggest. Handy-Connect aims to fix that by creating a directory of these business for users to browse, rate, and talk about. Additionally; businesses can register with the app to provide customers with more detailed information about their business. A win for the small communities in every respect.

The Smart Bin

Have you ever made a miracle throw, defying the very laws of physics to sink a crumpled up piece of paper into the dustbin across the room, off the wall and a ceiling fan, only for no one to see it? The Smart Bin not only wants to see it, it wants to reward you and help you recycle at the same time. Continuing the trend of turning almost anything into a game, The Smart Bin will come with an integrated app to record what you throw away and award points for recycling, which could then be redeemed for prizes. The core of the project is an Arduino with an external GSM module.

Tash Café

Applying to university is one of those terrifying, confusing experiences many people still have nightmares about. The strangely named Tash Café wants to turn this process into a simple app download and a few swipes. The app contains multiple prospectuses from universities in South Africa and lets let users easily compare what they’ll be doing during their time at uni. Another great feature is the ability to enter a student’s marks and see which courses they qualify for.

The Smart Car

Hackathons are all about prototypes and scaled down versions of much larger projects. The Smart Car project dumped a lot of tech into the wire cars you can buy on the side of the road to show off some ides for making cars safer. From calling an ambulance using your GPS, to remote access and an entire host of planned security options, the Smart Car on display was very hi-tech for a vehicle made out of coathangers.

The Winners (and their prizes)

First: Smart Bin (R3500 from Geekulcha, opportunity to pitch at mLab and speak at Tech4Africa).

Second: Mobi Electro (Exhibition at Tech4Africa and R1000 voucher from GDG Pretoria).

Third: Synergy and Handi Connect (R500 voucher from GDG Pretoria and Geekulcha).

The next Geekulcha Hackathon took place on the 25th and 26th July, Tshwane University of Technology.