Winners of TecHack, at the prize giving ceremony held at The One Academy in conjunction with POLYCON 2016.
(From left) Tee Jin Ying, Vivian Phang, David Ngeow, Lee Zhan Ming and Ralve Khor from Team BurgerTime during a group discussion at TecHack.
Cheang Lin Yew

PROBLEM SOLVERS: Sleepless night paid off for winners of the 24-hour hackathon

IT was a race against time for The One Academy’s Multimedia and Graphic Design students at TecHack, a 24-hour hackathon organised by the academy in partnership with DiGi’s KreativeCrew.

Participants had just a day to complete their mobile application prototype and deliver an impressive 5-minute pitch to a panel of judges. Winners stood a chance to win over RM6,000 in cash and prizes.

In this competition, each group must identify a problem within the entertainment, e-commerce or education industry, and then build a mobile application engineered to solve these problems.

The purpose of this competition was to encourage participants to collaborate in a project and leverage on their strength to make the project a success.

Of the seven participating groups, only four — Team TourGather, Team Phonder, Team BurgerTime and Team ParQ — completed their projects.

Fortunately, the sleepless night endured by the teams paid off when Team ParQ was declared the winner, and took home the Grand Prize of RM1,800 cash and a RICOH 360-degree camera worth over RM1,600, followed by Team TourGather, who claimed RM1,200 cash plus a Cytron Uno Starter Kit.

Second runner-up Team Phonder received RM800 cash, while Team BurgerTime won RM300 cash in consolation prize.

Every team had displayed exceptional creativity in each idea’s execution. Taking up the challenge of creating an existing but improved mobile application is Team ParQ whose prototype encourages those leaving a parking spot and those seeking one to connect, interact and get rewarded through a coin system that earns them shopping rebates from participating sponsors.

ParQ team leader Alvin Lau said: “Coming up with an idea for the hackathon was challenging as we had different ideas. In the end, we’ve decided to create this mobile application to ensure a faster parking lot turnover. We did this as we thought it would be a solid situation with a lot of potential.”

Other members of the group were Nazreen Wan, Annabelle Tan and Sara Quah.

The TourGather mobile application derived its name from the word “together” and inspired by the Uber concept, recruits both freelance tour guides for an opportunity to earn extra pocket money and tourists seeking affordable tour guides at their own convenience.

TourGather team leader Nathaniel Biancaputra said: “We wanted to create a marketplace where both tour guides and travellers can meet up to address two issues. First, we want to build a community and second, we want to rebuild trust among tour guides and tourists.

“With this app, not only can tourists get a guide at their own convenience, they can also form a group to share costs and meet new friends. We daresay that this is a mobile application with a social mission.”

Taking on a more unique and creative approach, Team Phonder created a mobile app which helps dissolve arguments in relationships using a voice-changing application that transforms a loud, threatening voice to a soft, cutesy tone.

The phone, meanwhile, will vibrate continuously, forcing the shouters away from their phones and allowing them to calm down before resuming the conversation.

The TecHack competition was held in conjunction with POLYCON 2016, Malaysia’s first digital media and art festival, where 18 international and local top creative practitioners imparted their practical skills and shared their work experiences through a series of masterclasses and a two-day symposium.

The One Academy School of Multimedia head Cheang Lin Yew said: “The competition was held in just 24 hours to challenge participants to complete their project within a limited time.

“We encouraged students from different streams such as illustration, multimedia and design to join forces in the competition to promote teamwork and leadership skills.

“The moment they were given the task, they brainstormed and pitched ideas to come up with innovative solutions. Working with strangers from different backgrounds and putting together ideas can result in fantastic ideas,” he said.

The panel of judges were Teamlab (Japan) art and technology evangelist Takasu Masakazu; Be>Our>Friend (Thailand) founder and creative technologist Nattavut Luenthaisong; Ricoh general manager K.L. Loh; DiGi co-founder of Daniel Cerventus Lim; and DiGi senior activation and sponsorships Muhaymin Mustakim.