While hacking may, for many, bring up images of darkened rooms, furious typing behind multiple computer screens and criminal master plans, the negative connotations associated with the term were firmly put to bed over the weekend starting February 22nd - although it must be said many of the HackKing’s participants were not so lucky when it came to their sleeping patterns.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, ‘hacking’ (as opposed to the potentially more malign and distinct process of ‘cracking’) implies an exploration or playfulness, characterised by excellence and stretching the boundaries of what is known to be possible, all in regard to computer programming.
The HackKing’s competition run by the King’s College London Business Club and KCL Tech Society was designed to give some of the UK’s most talented hackers an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of renowned industry experts, with a range of prizes on offer for the best work.
With the potential top prize of £15,000 in funding for a project, the event hosted at the Innovation Warehouse - an incubator for London based start-up companies – attracted well over 100 programmers from across the country; making it the largest student-run Inter-University Hackathon. Competitors travelled from far and wide; including students from St. Andrews and Oxford as well as the local London universities.
The rules of the competition were simple; each team had just 24 hours of open-ended hacking in which to think of an idea, design the hack – most of which resulted in forming an app – and create a working proof of concept to impress the judging panel. Onfido, alongside a host of other big name sponsors, everyone from Codeacademy, to Facebook and JustEat, provided access to their platform which, although usually utilised for background checking, could be used or integrated within the product.
After a short series of introductions from each of the sponsors and acquiring enough food and drink to stimulate minds for the daunting 24 hour hackathon, the teams began frantically hacking. Ideas generated ranged from Quitt - an app to help quit negative addictions – to Streamy - a crowd-sourced journalism website designed to connect users directly to the latest live news as it unfolds.
The winner of our Onfido Prize was LivMap (which also won the event’s Grand Prize), the team consisting of Andrei-Ioan Cioara, Licker Nandor, Tomas Virgl and Vahokif. The four very talented developers produced an app which integrates with Google Maps to help users find their ideal home location according to how close they want to be to their place of work, locality to restaurants, friends and other such metrics.
Congratulations to all who took part in this fantastic event and we hope to see you again next year at HackKing’s or maybe even on the digital marketplace with your latest and greatest hack.