We’ve written a lot about our Hackathon hackers: their shirts, their hats, their ability to code all night sustained by only junk food, beer, and Red Bull. But this year we decided to do something a little different.
We followed one hacker, David Kay, through all 24 hours of the event. Through the ups, through the downs, and through the delirious moments.
He and his partner, Steven Jung, have been regulars at this event for quite some time — he’s attended five Disrupts, four Disrupt Hackathons, and been a Disrupt volunteer twice — but decided that software wasn’t going to cut it this year. Instead, they bought a couple of Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 models and decided to teach the smartphone-controlled quadrocopter a few tricks.
The product they finished with was called Quadro, and was meant to fly, steer, and land via voice controls. And if not voice, an Xbox controller. This meant marrying base-level coding with Python, a more high-level programming language. But to take it a step further, they attempted to use facial recognition with the Drone’s camera, hoping to recognize the judges’ faces during their presentation.
It was a tough challenge, as you’ll see in the video — the duo finished with five minutes left on the clock.
David has worked for Google in New York, but now operates as an independent consultant with a focus on Android and iOS.
Here’s what he had to say about the role of Disrupt in his life:
Disrupt NYC 2010 was my first event in Startupland. After dropping out of school, I had been a professional DJ for a time, but, seeking something greater, I took some computer science classes and fell into programming. TechCrunch Disrupt was the first concrete assurance that I had made the right choice. As a lowly volunteer, I sat in the main hall, overwhelmed by the roster of developers, wet-behind-the-ears startup founders, grizzled tech veterans, angels and VCs, and could see myself, one day, enjoying each of these roles. It was then that I knew that Startupland was my home.