Last week on the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt, the TechCrunch Hack Day winners got to present onstage just before the Startup Battlefield finalists went into Round Three. It was an opportunity for the Disrupt audience to meet a few of the best and brightest from the past weekend’s event. When Daniel Raffel, Chad Dickerson and myself imagined the event we saw it as a chance to open a backdoor into the conference for some great devs—every presenter received a free pass to the conference. With over 60 teams presenting, judging was a challenge. Since not all of the teams got to present onstage Wednesday, we wanted to highlight some of the projects that stood out for us and the judges.
Worst Phone Ever
Worst Phone Ever is a hilarious service which searches your iPhone logs for crashes, uploads them, and saves them to a central database. The results are tabulated and added to the total, eventually leading to a detailed class-action lawsuit.
Twitter Demographics mashes up Tweets with geolocation and demographic data. So if you search for a specific keyword on the application, you can see the percentage of Twitterers who Tweeted about the keyword within certain income ranges and even by political party, giving more info not just about where they are but who they are.
The Runners Up
The NYC Resistor team created mobile phone control of an air compressed robotic arm, affectionately called Mr. Stabby. It was a clear audience favorite, a comedic hack and the judges were thrilled to elect a hardware hacking team in the winner’s circle.
iPad Supine Safety Strap
Winning the award for simplest and most creative hack (without writing a line of code) was iPad Supine Safety Strap, a contraption built from ordinary household parts that “keeps you from dropping you iPad on your face when consuming content while in the supine position”.
The Honorable Mentions
API for the world
API for the world is a physical device that can turn anything with a power cord into a networked object. It’s part of an effort to fill the gap between “smart” and low-tech devices. You can use an online dashboard to create unique profiles for different objects in your house and connect them to a variety of web services. “API for the world was my top favorite. I think that’s a sellable product and it is damn awesome.” – Judge Cyan Banister
A Google Chrome browser extension that lets you select text on any web page to get contextual Twitter search results optionally scoped by geographic location. Beautifully implemented.
ClassIO – Distributed Open Classifieds Platform
If Craigslist had an open API, what types of amazing applications would be built on top of it? ClassIO is a bi-directional open classifieds platform. Users push listings in so they’re distributed across the internet, or pull data out to build a destination classifieds application.
Greenest Loser links Foursquare to your energy bill, giving you badges and rewards for saving energy instead of getting drunk. Great idea.
Welcome Mat is a hardware and software hack of an actual welcome mat, it greets its owner with personal greetings based on their activities on Twitter and Foursquare.
“Local search for people who don’t drive. City Tracks avoids highways and such. Description says why it’s a good idea, at least for New Yorkers, Londoners, and others in cities where walking is normal.” – Judge Tom Igoe
Groop.ly enables everyone with a cell phone to create and participate in real time group chats. It works with any cell phone and essentially allows users to create an sms chat room.
Likealyticsis like Google Analytics for the Facebook Like Button on your website/domain. Deep and well implemented.
Disrupt Me is a mobile browser, location-aware, real world scavenger hunt. In the game, you are a genius hacker whose project was rejected by TechCrunch. Your new plan is to meet all of the conference speakers, and convince them to support you.
StereoScan is a GPLv3 3D laser scanner. “Easy way to visualize 3D space. All you need is two webcams. Nice low-tech solution, and even more impressive that it outputs files you can build from.” – Judge Tom Igoe
APPSiGOT is a simple way to see what iPhone, iTouch, and iPad apps your friends on Twitter and Facebook have got installed (and share what apps you’ve got installed as well). The backend is takes advantage of FluidDB, a Startup Battlefield presenter.
Bounty is an app that allows people to pay and get paid for retweets. You can pay per retweet or set a bounty which is like a finder’s fee.
hackMatch is a python script to match hackers with projects. It takes two sets of inputs, a list of hackers and preferred technologies and another set of project ideas and project requirements and statistically calculates the best matches.”Could be a cool web service… needs a nice clean UI.”- Judge Derek Dodge
“Web HD was a great implementation of CSS, they have a good vision as web UI designers. However they need to work on making the speed of the page it is applied on faster possibly by lowering the resolution of the image background to keep things fast. No one likes latency.” – Judge Derek Dodge
Dogshare is a Facebook app that lets people walk dogs. If you want a dog, but can’t afford one, you can walk someone else’s. If you need someone to walk your dog, it’s easy to setup this service
iPhone from Scratch
One of the more bizarre and impressive hardware hacks, presented by the hacker’s father who runs an iPhone repair shop, his son built a working iPhone from spare parts in less than 60 minutes. “Nice to see an example of how even the most closed of products is ultimately open because it’s physical and disassemblable.” – Judge Tom Igoe