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1st Ever Google Tango Project Hackathon

65651_493033840822187_7519501822344920073_nThe last weekend of April has been a fruitfully tangled one for the IT community of Timisoara. Timisoara Mobile Development Group, Timisoara Google Developer Group and Timisoara Startup Hub have successfully wired exclusive Google Tango devices and resourceful mobile developers to create The First Ever Google Tango Project Hackathon. What they have built, which challenges they have encountered and mostly, whose idea was the most brilliant, you will find out in the lines below.

Mihai Pora from Google Krakow has brought with him 6 Google Tango devices. But he has also brought with him great value; previous knowledge regarding GT has proven to be a goldmine for the participants which were eager to get familiar with the device.

“Explore”, “build”, “test” and “present” were the keywords for the 50 sneaky programmers which had only 48 hours hands on a device that has merely 200 other replicates in the world. Moreover, Movidius Team in Timisoara has doubled the number of the devices at the hackathon.

There were nine teams with as much brave and innovative ideas. The competition was tight, the time was short, but their determination was limitless. A short portrayal of their projects in the following lines will depict their ambitious project ideas.

Rombots team has succeeded in building a tower defence game, based on a mobile app developed in Unity.  When building the Personal Space Invaders game, The Tango device has served in respects of positioning and depth, as the camera allowed moving and placing obstacles in the surrounding area.

Camera 3D had the simple, yet practical idea of creating an app to allow 3D photographing using Open GL tool. The camera shots pictures similar to a 2D camera, but gathers additional information. This project was designed for entertainment purposes, but they have also attempted to build an applicatory feature such as scanning a face and reproducing it in a physical form.

SchetchDown was an app originally created for interior design newbies. Both indoors and outdoors, the idea was to scan a place and redecorate it, without the need of specific measurements or technical drawing skills.

The self-explanatory Egg Hunt was designed as a single-player game based on hiding and finding eggs in the surrounding area. This game was also developed in Unity and it works on the principle of using a rewarding system.

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Tango 360 guys came with a different approach: to capture a panoramic view and use it for multimedia content and subsequently, a 3D object mapping. The idea was to lay out a panoramic film to depict a 360 degrees view. The next step should have been screening on a textured object.

The Dyve team has been relocated from Brasov; nonetheless, the guys were not intimidated by the unknown, yet welcoming grounds of the Hub. They have thought about using the Tango device in purposes of 3D object recognition, reconstruction and measurements. The depth feature would have been implemented for auto-scanning and collecting data.

The Ardu team has brought together young but highly delivering students from Lugoj and Valcea. They had been among the boldest of all. They have attempted and succeeded in building an Arduino-Tango robot. It has used depth and positioning data in order to manage its own path for retrieval and to avoid 1-2 m far obstacles.

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Dancing Snails and its background manipulator app has been designed to work as real time camera feed depth range isolation and background replacement tool.

360 World team, entirely relocated from Budapest, had been equipped with the ultimate technology to ease and enhance their work. Go Pros, Oculus Rift glasses, all connected with the Tango device. They have compiled the whole tech in a device to create a virtual surrounding using augmented reality.

When the code was in the fermentation phase, when the robots started moving and the coffee machine was intensely streaming, an unannounced surprise was to slack the atmosphere. Three professional dancers from the Tango Timisoara dance club came to prove that there surely is a connection between the device and the dance, as they are guided by the same principles: having a knowledge of the surrounding space, synchronizing movement and being in charge of making the next step.

10300023_501084383350466_7643822753224763409_nSlight the surprise when one of the developers had left his code lines pending to take the hand of one of the dancers. Looks like dancing and programming really make a nice pair!

Sunday evening was the time to draw the line between what has been intended to do and what has been successfully done. The results were promising and the competition was tight. Each of the teams had prepared its presentation and demo to impress both the jury and the audience, as it was open for everyone.

Interesting project ideas, innovative combinations of technology and various knowledge areas, attractive demos, little robots with high utility or entertaining concepts, this hackathon had it all. Nonetheless, it was a competition and somebody had to win. Surprisingly, there were two winners: Camera 3D and 360 World projects. Two Alcatel One Touch smartphones have found their owners, likewise the goodie packages from Google, bonus a great networking and a free transport of the project ideas to Google Krakow.

 10308119_501085126683725_3572653496395507870_n“Almost all of the teams have delivered demos, which implies the fact that they have managed their time in a productive manner, have clearly set their goals and have efficiently controlled the execution”, said Mihai Pora. “The venue was also a plus, as Timisoara Startup Hub has facilitated the activities and the presentations, as well.  I was pleasantly impressed to see a project like 360 World, which tried to differentiate their idea from others by making use of augmented reality. I would have liked to see a greater predominance of specialized teams in the region, or better yet, Europe”.

Mihai has seen potential in almost half of the projects. The presentations served as feedback, as the developers have discovered a new feature of the API and have brought new clarifications for the API documentation. Also, in Mountain View, the Project Tango developers team liked the innovative idea of connecting the device with a Dive headset and have decided to test the idea’s utility.”

Other editorial perspectives upon the Google Tango Project Hackathon can be found by reading the Tech Adevarul article written by our guest Razvan Baltaretu and two of the hackathons participants which shared a few words about their experiences on their personal blogs, Radu Motisan and Alex Palcuie.

Further curiosity can be satisfied by viewing the Google Tango Project Hackathon photo album available on the Timisoara Startup Hub Facebook page.

You can also watch the official trailer of the event here.

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