Meet Some Hackers And Their Promising Projects At The Disrupt NY Hackathon

It’s only been about six hours since our Disrupt NY Hackathon officially began, and we’re starting to see our intrepid hackers hit their stride. Granted, some of them are a little farther along than others — Darrell found one guy who made an Arduino-powered robot for physically testing apps and devices — but there’s still plenty of time to bring some of these wild-eyed designs to fruition. Let’s take a peek at what everyone else is working on, shall we?


William Hockey, Zach Perret and Michael Kelly are trying to create a better way to visualize your credit card purchases. The so-called Rambler web app leans on the Plaid API to access a user’s spending data and the Foursquare API for location information — the idea is that users will be able to see their purchases splayed out on a map.

“By attaching geolocation and categorization data to transactions, we can hopefully see how an individual spends their time, goes on trips, and travels around the country or their city,” Hockey said.


Meanwhile, Adrian Benjamin, Troy Payne and Michael Mendez are working on a project called FavorRabbit. They admittedly drew on the TaskRabbit for inspiration. The concept is simple enough: it’s not entirely unlike TaskRabbit, but users can request either a small, big or a huge favor of fellow FavorRabbits via a web app and leave reviews for how well they were executed.

Altruistic users can replenish their favor stock by (you guessed it) searching for local favors by category and performing them for others. The notion of using favors as a sort of currency is a curious one, but we’ll soon see if these guys can make it work.

flightthingOne of the bigger teams I’ve come across while roaming around today is dedicated to making the process of finding flights more social. Gillian Morris, Timo de Winter, Dan Hackner, Thinh Vu, Peter Kaszubinski, Michelle Lee, Nasr-Kyrillos Kelliny, and Camilo Marulanda are working on a flight search engine/booking system that taps into your social graph to show you friends in places you’re thinking of traveling.

What’s more, the team is trying to evaluate your social connections and highlight friends it thinks you may want to visit. It’s a tall order (especially considering they’ve got about 16 hours left to finish it), but some of them have been trying to disrupt the travel market for a while now — Morris and de Winter took home first place at THack London back in 2012.

gftrFacebook already lets its users send gifts to each other, but Andrew Emerson, Vishal Gupta, Aaron Lu, Cyrus Rahman, Pat McCreary, and Anthony Guidarelli don’t think it works the way it should. To fix that, they’re working on gftr, a service that allows Facebook friends to create gift campaigns for each other. In a nutshell, gftr lets people pick one to three gifts for their friends, and invite others to contribute varying amounts to the cause.

We’ll see how it turns out, but I’d much rather get one gift than hundreds of birthday greetings on Facebook.

lamphackOf course, not every hacker here is trying to reshape industries — some are just looking to make our lives a tad easier. Consider WeatherLight, a project by Andrew Jiang, Neil Liang, Rachel Tsao, Zicong Pan, and Joe Li.

By combining a Philips smart lightbulb, Ninja Blocks sensors and a pair of temperature and humidity detectors, the team wants to give people an at-a-glance idea of what the weather is like — the lightbulb changes color when it’s sunny, cloudy, raining or snowing.

gmtext Alix Boulud, Eric Matzner, Venkat Rao, Tom Rutka are slaving away on a project that could help stay safe once you leave your house and hop in your car.

They’ve spent the past few hours slaving away on a GM vehicle app that automatically fires off a text message to pre-determined people once you get close to their location. The app taps into the Google Maps API (for now anyway, according to Boulud) to determine the car’s proximity to its destination, while the Twilio API ensures the message reaches its intended destination.

Only time will tell how these and other projects turn out, but we’ll be here documenting the development process as it unfolds. Stay tuned!