Hackathon Roundup

STRV's WatchKit Hackathon on May 9 exceeded our expectations. Local iOS programmers and designers were given their first real chance to test Apple's newly released wearable, and we were truly blown away by the ingenuity that came out of this intense day-long hacking session. There were so many amazing ideas that even the panel of guest judges had trouble picking the winning app. In fact, the consensus was that there was not a weak link in the whole lot.

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Still, it was Maggie Appleton and Tomas Vitek's time-management app, “On the dot”, that really stood out. The duo took first place and were each awarded with vouchers to purchase their own Apple Watches. Maggie is a freelance designer who just recently relocated to Prague after a stint in Asia, while Tomas is a software engineer at Twitter's London office.

Peter Hrincar and Michal Klein, classmates at Czech Technical University in Prague, came in second after devising a simple (yet very cool) pipe game for the Watch. Third place, meanwhile, went to Samir Djellil and Artur Muller's weather forecast app, “Shades or Brollie”.

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“It was a hackathon, not a startup competition, so the focus was on ideas – not presentations – but the presentations were awesome. All the teams were so polished and professional. There was not one project that was considered weak,” said Martin Stava, STRV's CTO. “The quality of the projects was really high. We were extremely, extremely impressed.”

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The 14 teams were judged not only on their app idea and design, but also on their presentation. The judge panel include Ondrej Raska, co-founder of Miton, Dusan Zabrodsky from Rockaway, Igor Treslin, founder of Lunchtime, and Michal Ptacek from CzechCrunch.

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Many of our iOS engineers were on hand to answer questions and offer advice throughout the hackathon. We received a lot of delightful feedback from participants who raved about how helpful our mentors were, with one programmer even saying that he didn't receive nearly as much one-on-one help from the recent hackathon Facebook held in London. Others gave our food and drink spread two thumbs way up, adding the overall atmosphere was a very welcoming dynamic.

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The Apple Watch Hackathon is part of the new STRV Labs research platform. This was the first of many more to come. We will be hosting an Apple Watch hackathon at our San Francisco offices very soon!