The Stupid Shit No One Needs & Terrible Ideas Hackathon is coming back and it looks sublimely useless - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Dec. 17, 2015 11:19 am

The Stupid Shit No One Needs & Terrible Ideas Hackathon is coming back and it looks sublimely useless

Artisanal ad networks. Monetizing children. Welcome to tech's bleeding edge of AWESOME.

"Tinder for Babies" by Sam Lavigne.

(Courtesy image)

The prestigious Stupid Shit No One Needs & Terrible Ideas Hackathon is dumb as heck and it’s coming back.

Creators Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Sam Lavigne announced on Twitter last night that a new hackathon is scheduled for February, with more details forthcoming.

The Brooklyn technologist-heavy Stupid Shit No One Needs & Terrible Ideas Hackathon has produced some disruptive projects and illustrious alumni.

There’s Rearview Mirror, for instance, by Matt Romein and Sam Sadtler. Rearview Mirror allows a person to see what’s behind them in virtual reality by hooking up a camera to the back of an Oculus Rift. It’s a bit like the cameras new cars have in the back of them for parallel parking.

Rearview Mirror lets you see what's behind you in virtual reality.

Game. Changed. (Courtesy image)

Another former project is How to Say Mitt Romney in Different Languages, by Owen Weeks. It’s an interactive webpage with a tiled background of Mitt Romney speaking. There are several waving GIF flags from several countries, and if you click on them, they will pronounce “Mitt Romney” in the computerized accent of each language. Voila!

How to Say Mitt Romney in Different Languages by Owen Weeks.

Give it a go. (Screenshot)

And then there’s Holdr, by Sam Tarakajian. Holdr is an elegantly designed mobile app that allows you to know when you’re holding your mobile device.

Holdr by Sam Tarakajian.

See. (Courtesy image)

If this all seems pointless and precious to you, including this article, you’re right: that’s the idea.

Both creators, Winger-Bearskin and Lavigne, have a history of using technology subversively. Another of the Brooklyn-based Lavigne’s projects is Useless Press, which deals with the absurdity of the contemporary media. Another of the NYU ITP graduate’s projects is the Communist Manifesto illustrated with GIFs. Classmates at ITP, Winger-Bearskin is now the director of the DBRS Innovation Lab, which she describes as a place where “beautiful things are made with Big Data.” She is also an artist in residence at Gowanus’s Pioneer Works.

There is a frustration in the tech world (and the outer world as well) that monumental quantities of time, energy and money are being put into projects that cater to such niche luxury markets as to be frivolous.

"iPad on a Face" by Cheryl Wu.

“iPad on a Face” by Cheryl Wu. (Courtesy photo)

Does the world really need a Tinder for eBay (currently at the top of Product Hunt)? Or better question, could the creators of Tinder for eBay have put their time and obvious development and design skills toward something that would have benefitted more people in the world?

These are the questions we have to deal with, and the answers are not obvious. If there are enough people willing to pay for Tinder for eBay or if there are enough that advertisers would pay money to be seen in front of its audience, then who are we to say that Tinder for eBay is dumb? Sometimes the best way to deal with hard questions is through humor. That would be my guess as to why Lavigne created Tinder for Babies.

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