About a week ago, ESPN held their first public hackathon, and over 100 female developers and designers packed the Stanford design school to attend. HackespnW brought together female hackers and college athletes to create apps combining sports and tech. Organized by espnW, the event brought together leading API platforms to offer their resources to coders.
A trio of female CMU grad students took home the grand prize with their app, iSports, a web app that scans athletes’ faces and pulls up key facts and context about each player. iSports uses machine learning and facial recognition technology to enhance a sports fan’s viewing experience, similar to how Microsoft SmartGlass does the same for actors and musicians. According to the Hacker League page, the app used the ESPN Athletes and Statistics API, Mashery, YouTube, and Twitter API; as well as Machine Learning (Javafaces), Skybiometry and SOLR. Each team member will get a behind-the-scenes VIP trip to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT with an ESPN Technology meet and greet, as well as two regular season tickets to any sporting event.
Without a doubt, the most well represented local developer group in attendance was the Hackbright Academy, a 10-week programming fellowship for women. Most of the winning teams including, Does Parking Suck, The Pack is Here (Twilio prize winner), and Strength is Beautiful (YouTube prize winner), all featured current Hackbright students or recent alumni. Here’s a closer look at a few of those hacks.
The Pack is Here
Taking home the Twilio prize was a “management platform” for sports leagues, specifically Roller Derby. “The Pack is Here” uses Google Calendar, Twilio, and Twitter to monitor league communications, schedule practices and games, and communicate with multiple teams. The app solves the problem of having to manage multiple teams all over the country by consolidating multiple communication channels. On a side note, a fun subplot developed during the hackathon. One of the “Pack is Here” team members, Margaret Morris, is active in roller derby and somehow got the roller derby community behind her team on twitter. Hundreds of roller derbiers from across the country starting supporting “The Pack is Here” by tweeting to the hashtag #espnwderby. Here’s a picture of us with the winning team:
Does Parking Suck?
Does Parking Suck? uses the ESPN API to tell if you if a game in your town is going to hold up traffic.
Strength is Beautiful
A web app for weight training tutorials, Strength is Beautiful provides women with a free alternative to costly workout programs.
Till Next Time
Considering how much of a positive response this hackathon received, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next time. But in the meantime, we’d like to thank espnW, Mashery, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and most importantly, all of the developers who made the trip out.