Beautiful user experience and business strategy thoroughness stole the show at this weekend’s Mentorship Hackathon, and the two winning teams shared one thing in common: Vici Shaweddy, a UX designer finishing her graduate degree at NYU Polytechnic.
The TENDIGI-sponsored hackathon that sought local mentors was part of the Tech Triangle U event series from the Brooklyn Tech Triangle coalition, which aimed to create an entry point for college students into the borough’s tech class.
The event brought together scores of students and recent grads from Brooklyn colleges to build applications or other projects as a way to build relationships locally. The winning concepts probably had the least social impact goal for the Tech Triangle specifically, but both were slick concepts that solved a clear problem and had a real market for their respective apps.
The $1,000 grand prize went to the team behind Shoomai, a beautiful dim sum menu guide, with photos, ingredients, and pronunciation of common menu items.
Still feeling moody after all that dim sum? The second-prize app, Stand, helps people with mood disorders identify what may be ailing them, with suggestions for healthy solutions to combat their mood, and outreach to therapists in their area. Shaweddy helped with biz dev and content for both teams and, with team designers, Eddie Chen for Shoomai and Adithya Ravikumar for Stand, helped
which perhaps set them apart from other teams that had great concepts but with less developed projects.
It’s pretty clear what the judges were seeking: lots of people can develop an app with a need, but the winners here were ones nearer to completion with beautiful, approachable experiences.
The Shoomai team noted that they directly improved upon an existing dim sum guide, which sold in the iTunes store for $2.99. Their goal is to grow a reputation and users with better experience and a cheaper $0.99 download.
Another team in the hackathon had a similar notion in mind – BiteBunch used the Delivery.com API to completely improve its somewhat flawed user experience. Could they sell it back to Delivery.com to compete with other delivery apps? That’s their hope.
There was one surprise that was elegant in an entirely different manner: the proof of concept for Audio Over Light demonstrated how audio from an iPhone could be played through an LED light, proving that we can harness the frequency of light for a fraction of the energy cost that we use today. Some even bigger possibilities for this technology include:
- Underwater-to-surface communication
- High-speed Internet connection transferred using just a few LED lamps, dramatically reducing cost
- Incredible party tricks, like playing Beyonce through your floor lamp
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