1. September 16, 2014

    Myos and Rifts and Drones — Oh My! ChallengePost does PennApps X

    PennApps X Expo

    Last weekend 1,200 hackers from all over the globe traveled to the University of Pennsylvania for the grand daddy of college hackathons: PennApps X. Along with the latest hardware and tech, hackers worked on health, wearable, and game projects.

    We sent four intrepid ChallengePosters up to Philly to lend a hand and see what everybody was making. After 36 hours of intense hacking, we counted 237 total submissions.

    The highlight of our weekend was the closing ceremony, where the top 10 teams demoed their projects to all the participants, sponsors, and a panel of judges. If you couldn’t make it to Philly or didn’t catch the live stream, you can watch them all online here.

    Although only a handful of teams demo on stage, we all left inspired by dozens of great projects. Here are a few of our favorites:

    Neal’s Pick: Neur-1

    I’m a sucker for DIY hardware and I think Neur-1’s homebrew electrode cap is the ultimate in affordable body hacking. It’s made from laser cut fiberboard + saline soaked sponges + alligator clips + an off the shelf Arduino. You can put one together for less than $40 and start experimenting with your own pulse patterns and brain waves.

    Richard’s Pick: FitFactor

    Staying healthy — especially during hackathon season — is super important to me. FitFactor brilliantly uses a two-factor authentication approach to wellness by making you work out and sit up straight in order to access your favorite websites. If we used it at ChallengePost, I’d be in shape in no time!

    Holly’s Pick: Stopover

    I love apps that help you make new friends. Stopover improves solitary travel layovers by matching you with nearby people from your Facebook Groups. So, instead of aimlessly refreshing Twitter for 2 hours between flights, I can grab coffee with a new friend who shares my interests.

    Clay’s Pick: Amation

    Animating SVGs is not a trivial task and Amation deserves a lot of credit for taking it on. The team adapted the After Effects interface, which many designers are already familiar with, and came up with a solution that’s intuitive, and incredibly powerful. Most importantly, it doesn’t require developers to write any code. That’s a huge win in my book!

  2. September 10, 2014

    Find Your Facebook and GitHub Friends on ChallengePost

    Good news hackers! You can now find and connect with your GitHub and Facebook friends on ChallengePost.

    Follow your friends and we’ll alert you whenever they publish new projects or register for challenges and hackathons. Check out what your favorite hackers are up to, cheer them on, and find your next big inspiration!

    Find your friends in action

    To get started, click on the top nav and select Find friends.

    Log in to get started

    Facebook shy? Don’t worry, we won’t post on your wall, inundate you with baby pictures, or send you a Farmville request. Ever.

  3. September 3, 2014

    Hacking High School & into the Startup World

    Today’s post was written by Jayson Isaac, our awesome intern from NYC Generation Tech.

    Three years ago, web development seemed like a pretty cool hobby. I started out customizing WordPress themes and building websites to make my friends think I’d hacked their computers, (warning: may cause seizures). I had no idea how many doors I’d opened by learning how to code.

    My high school didn’t have many computer science programs, so I decided join the NYC Generation Tech summer program. GenTech teaches NYC high school students tech-entrepreneurship with a ton of rigorous hands-on coursework. During the program, I learned the fundamentals of the lean startup methodology, built a mobile app, and pitched to Union Square Ventures.

    One of our guest speakers during the program was Brandon Kessler, who told us about entrepreneurship and team building. After he explained how his company, ChallengePost, powers hackathons and helps hackers celebrate their projects, I asked him about the tech stack his company used. I was really interested in learning more about Ruby on Rails since I never did any back-end web development before.

    Later, Brandon reached out to the GenTech program coordinator and asked to connect with me. Still curious, I decided to ask more about ChallengePost’s technology. Fortunately, Brandon connected me with his lead engineer, Ross Kaffenberger, who gave me some insight about Rails. After a couple of emails and encouragement from my GenTech program coordinator, I asked about interning with the team.

    I was really surprised when they let me join the development team. I came in not knowing much about Rails, but I was forced to learn by spending plenty of time pair programming, reading documentation, and reviewing code. Within a couple of months, I started working independently and deploying to production. Some of the work I did includes redesigning user portfolios and our jobs pages. Here’s one of my first projects:


    Our old portfolio page


    Our new portfolio page

    In the past six months, I’ve worked on a variety of cool features, seen what it really meant to go through build-measure-learn, and understand what it’s like to work in a startup environment. Thanks to ChallengePost, I plan to attend a bunch of hackathons this fall and I’m going to start my first year at New York University with a scholarship they helped me get.

    FYI, ChallengePost is hiring!

  4. August 22, 2014

    Get Pumped for MHacks & Cal Hacks

    MHacks & Cal Hacks

    We’re super excited to announce that ChallengePost is powering both MHacks & Cal Hacks this fall.

    Speaking of MHacks, we looked back at all the great projects from MHacks Fall 2013 & Winter 2014 and picked out a few of our favorites:

    Workflow, Green Can, Follow Me, High Five

    Workflow from Ari Weinstein, Veeral Patel, Nick Frey, and Conrad Kramer

    The Grand Prize at MHacks Winter 2014 - workflow allows you to automate daily tasks from your iPad.

    Green Can from Zach Lawrence, Andres Toro, and Joshua Drubin

    A trash can that sorts your garbage based on the sound it makes when you throw it in.

    Follow Me from Jonah Kirby, Austin Wells, Alex Fulton, and Alec Sims.

    “I know the way, just follow me…” Now there is an app for that.

    High Five from Canzhi Ye, Kevin Wu, and Jacob Van Geffen

    Want to really connect with somebody you meet? Open the High Five app to instantly follow & friend each other on Twitter & Facebook.

  5. August 20, 2014

    33 Brilliant Hackathons & Challenges

    We’re in the dog days of summer, but there are plenty of cool hacking opportunities to escape the heat! Dive into 21 new hackathons and 12 online challenges from Rackspace, Mozilla, PubNub, Ford, Al Jazeera, TechCrunch, and more.

    This is just the start of our fall lineup. Sign up here to join our new challenge & hackathon newsletter.

    Hack Something Awesome

    Computer Vision & Facial Recognition

    Media & Storytelling

    • The MediaThon: Inspire the News!
      (Pittsburgh, PA 9/6)
      Gather in a fun, creative, and competitive environment to create media that highlights the possibilities of the news business of the future.

    • Al Jazeera Innovation Challenge: $25,000 in prizes
      (Global - Ends 9/30)
      Nonlinear Narratives: design and build innovative storytelling applications in a competition from the Innovation and Research group at Al Jazeera Media Network.

    Transportation & Mobility

    Internet of Things, Sensors, 3D Printing, and Music

    • Additive Sounds: 3D Printing & the Future of Music Technology
      (London, UK 9/5–7)
      Join Imperial College’s biggest hackathon yet, hosted by Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (ICAH) and 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker. Create new musical innovations using 3D printing and commonly available electronic parts (provided).

    • HACKANODE 2014: $16,500 in prizes
      (Global - Ends 9/24)
      Get the award-winning NODE+ (free loaner units!) — a highly flexible, advanced, and sophisticated sensor platform that tracks temperature, pressure, humidity, color, movement, and more.

    • The Global Webit Congress IoT Hackathon 2014
      (Istanbul, Turkey 10/1–2)
      Build relationships and collaborate with global tech giants from Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

    3D Visualization

    Retail & Fashion

    • Retail Week Hackathon
      (London, UK 9/17–18)
      Create the ultimate customer experience during the Retail Week Technology and Ecommerce Summit. 
    • Decoded Fashion Hackathon
      (London, UK 9/20–21)
      Enhance the consumer experience for fashion and retail brands in Westfield at the world’s first hackathon in a shopping center. 

    Finance Tech

    • Hack/TheBank Barcelona
      (Barcelona, Spain 9/17)
      A fintech hackathon where programmers, designers, and business leaders are brought together to brainstorm and create software for retail banking, capital markets, payments, and big data.

    Health Tech

    • Med Hack - San Francisco
      (San Francisco, CA 9/6–7)
      Spark new health tech innovations in a fun and competitive environment for unique awards such as “Most Fundable,” “Most Practical,” “Best Hack,” and “Monster Hackers.”

    • Dental Hackathon: $3,000 in prizes
      (New York, NY 9/13–14)
      Join digital dentistry experts to develop desktop, mobile, and cloud hacks and apps for dentists and dental laboratories.

    • Grey Healthcare Group Health Outcomes Code-a-Thon: $7,000 in prizes
      (New York, NY 9/20–21)
      Form new ideas and prototypes that improve health outcome measures as they relate to the Affordable Care Act and the larger US healthcare system.

    Make People’s Lives Better

    • Caitlin’s Closet Hackathon
      (Dothan, AL 8/23–24)
      Caitlin’s Closet started with a dress and a goal to prepare young women for success. Create tech-driven solutions to expand the reach and impact of this empowering program.

    • Create for the Kingdom: $9,750 in prizes
      (Austin, TX 9/12–14)
      A hackathon event from the Christian perspective, inviting everyone, regardless of worldview, to join in on solving large challenges and build a healthier and stronger society.

    • Meeting of the Minds 2014 Hackathon: $5,000 in prizes
      (Detroit, MI 9/30–10/1)
      Teams of one to four participants will work all night to build mobile apps the improve the livability of cities. The top three teams will pitch their applications to an audience of 350+ urban sustainability and technology leaders from Fortune 500 companies and leading NGOs from around the world.

    • Leading Age HackFest: $10,000 in prizes
      (Nashville, TN 10/18–19)
      Meet students and professionals from around the country and create an innovative, technology-driven tool to improve the lives of older adults and their families.

    Public Safety & Disaster Response

    • The Fueled 2014 Hackathon: $500 in prizes
      (New York, NY 9/20)
      Leverage White House Safety Data to build innovative applications usable by individuals of all technical ability. The four tracks of this hackathon are: crime/law enforcement, emergency response, natural disaster response, and public safety/societal issues.

    For High School Students

    • HackDC: $7,168 in prizes
      (Washington, DC 12/13–14)
      High school students participating in HackDC this fall are invited to create apps and future companies that will improve our daily lives.


    • AstriCon Hackathon
      (Las Vegas, NV 10/21–22)
      Create, code, and design apps built on Asterisk, Respoke, and other communications APIs at the first ever AstriCon Hackathon.

    Apps & Games

    • Alpha Game Jam
      (San Francisco, CA 9/12–14)
      Join up with game devs of all experience levels and prototype a game that could be the next big thing! Hosted at Microsoft’s SF campus.

    • 1° Hackathon CTA UNESP
      (São Paulo, Brazil 10/18–19)
      Develop HTML5 games for Firefox OS, and learn more about the open web from talks by Mozillians.

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