Over the weekend, 132 teams worked tirelessly at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 hackathon to come up with their ingenious hacks and creations. At the end of a long night filled with Nerf guns, pizza and very little sleep, the teams presented their hacks to the world on the Disrupt stage for final judging. At the end of the afternoon, the judges convened and decided to award the grand prize to Shower With Friends. And no – it’s not what you think.
Shower with Friends is a hardware hack that helps you manage your water consumption by monitoring your shower’s flow rate. Accompanying the hardware hack is a mobile app that lets you compete against your friends as to who can take the shortest shower. With Shower with Friends, you would be alerted to how long you were in the shower today, and how many gallons of water were used, as compared to the previous day or days. You could then enable sharing of this data with your circle of friends and engage in competitions. You could also challenge your friends – similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge – to consume less (or as much) water as you did.
Blitz is an iOS application that offers Notification screen shortcuts to specific pages and functions within your iOS apps. For example, you could save a shortcut that, when tapped, would launch Google Maps with directions to your home already routed for you. Or you could tap a shortcut to the Uber app that would show you the current price for an Uber from your location to another, and call the service for you with just one tap. The feature takes advantage of deep linking and APIs from apps like Venmo, Yelp and more. This functionality is available for the first time with iOS 8 and will allow users who frequently waste time on tedious tasks to use their phones with much more efficiency.
Runner-Up: Interactive Markdown
Interactive Markdown, built by Chen Liang, Henry Shi, Kartik Talwar, Kevin Wang and Zach Latta, is a Chrome extension that lets you run backend code in your browser’s front end. It’s open sourced, and on GitHub, which means you can use it today. One of the extension’s most impressive features is the ability to run not only client-side code in the browser, but also server-side code (like Python, Ruby, Node, Java, etc.) and even full Android applications. The team set up a sophisticated CoreOS cluster on DigitalOcean to support live streaming of Android mobile applications via an optimized VNC dynamic reverse proxy directly to a web canvas. This streaming works on both desktop and mobile devices. They also set up a build process in docker to allow the running of numerous languages on a generic backend platform written in Go.
As the hackathon winner, Shower With Friends will take home $5,000, and the top three teams also get a chance to present their products on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. In addition the winners listed here, TechCrunch’s API partners also handed out several prizes, including iPad minis, Xbox One consoles and more to those teams who demonstrated creative use of their company’s content.
Our judges for this year’s hackathon included Stephen Garcia, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix; Dr. Jhilmil Jain, the Head of Android User Research at Google; Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad; Morgan Missen, founder of Main; and Nicholas Mitrousis, Group Technical Director at AKQA.