Rutgers ‘HackRU’ sees developers from across the country


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Photo by Courtesy of RuMAD |

The Major League Hacking trophy sits on display at the Rutgers ‘HackRU.’


“HackRU” ended this Sunday afternoon, marking the finish of the first official Major League Hacking season.

Before the event, Rutgers was in fourth place overall with 405.66 points, behind Carnegie Mellon University with 753 points, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 498.5 points and University of Maryland with 412.66 points, according to the MLH website.

Mike Swift, the commissioner of MLH, said CMU did not send a delegation to “HackRU,” squandering their guaranteed lock to finish in first place at the event.

With Maryland University sending 47 students and placing first at “HackRU,” and with Rutgers accumulating participation points and a home field advantage, the final results are too close to call right now, Swift said.

Photo: Courtesy of RuMAD

Kyle Johnson, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, created ‘Gravatar: The Last Twerkbender,’ with Abdulaziz Ramos, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

Photo: Nis Frome

Students from universities such as the University of Maryland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology attended Rutgers’ ‘HackRU’ over the weekend at the Douglass Campus Center. The hackathon ran from Saturday Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. to Sunday Oct. 13, ending at 5 p.m.

“It’s going to be between CMU, Maryland, and Rutgers,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll know for sure this week.”

The second place team consisted entirely of high school students who invented “Quicktron,” a revolutionary way for professors to use Android devices to grade Scantron tests and send detailed score reports to students, said Kaushal Parikh, one of the event’s organizers, in an email interview.

“If that makes the difference in the competition, you could say some high school kids screwed over their university counterparts,” Swift said. “That would be quite the controversy.”

The event at the Douglass Campus Center featured demos ranging from location-aware photo-sharing apps to browser plugins that shake web pages and reverses typed inputs to simulate drunk web-surfing.

“Gravatar: The Last Twerkbender,” invented by Abdulaziz Ramos, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, and Kyle Johnson, a School of Arts and Sciences jumior, uses the accelerometer data from a mobile device to count the times it is shaken back and forth.

In an onstage demonstration, the two showed how users could start the game, put their phones in their back pockets and begin “twerking” for points.

The app even randomly selects party music it finds on the music-playing site Rdio, Johnson said.

Johnson’s onstage presentation included an uncensored demonstration, to the applause of most audience members.

“It’s not fully scalable yet, but we’ll finish it so people can start playing around with it soon,” Ramos said.

Johnson said a project at a previous hackathon that made use of a mobile device’s accelerometer inspired him.

“With all the faux pas with the Miley Cyrus stuff, I thought this idea would be hilarious,” Johnson said.

Despite generally being the biggest hassle for most hackathon organizers, the demos ran smoothly at “HackRU,” said.

“The feedback from participants and sponsors has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Parikh, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “People really liked the ice cream truck and bubble tea, and have given us many complements on the quality and quantity of food as well. Personally, I was really impressed with the quality of hacks as well.”


By Nis Frome

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