By Estefannie De la Garza

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Science Hack Day Houston 2016 Recap

Science Hack Day Houston 2016 was held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on April 2nd and 3rd. Designers, programmers, college, and high school students stayed over-night to race the clock and build an idea from scratch in 24 hrs.

Attendees arrived early Saturday morning to find a team. By noon, teams of 2 – 7 people consisting of teachers, high school, undergrad, grad students, engineers, developers, designers, and marketeers had formed and had already started their hacks.

All sorts of ideas were proposed that afternoon: a weather-prediction-sprinkler to save water on rainy days, a completely anonymous and encrypted text messaging app, a mobile app to promote safe driving, a smart kite, a hack-idea generating app, killer robots, a .pdf indexer, and many more. Some ideas morphed into something completely different by that evening. Each team member brought their knowledge and skills to the table to shape the end result of their projects.

Prizes were raffled throughout the event – from arduinos to quad-copters and science kits. And meals and snacks were available at all times to keep the hackers focused and energized.

By midnight, some of us had stayed for the optional sleepover at the museum and worked while watching sci-fi movies on a projector and screen. Just a few stayed up all night to continue to work on their project. The participants who left the previous night arrived early in the morning the next day and continued to work on their prototype. They had until 1:37 PM to finish their hacks and submit a presentation.

The final projects were:

  • Hack-n-Da Box, a web application in which a group of people can input their skills and get a list of ideas on prototypes to build based on their combined skill-sets. Check out their GitHub and presentation.
  • Curie Protein Viewer (Data Award) is an application which extracts protein ID’s from PDF papers, indexes the IDs, and creates a visualization of the protein which you can interact with. Check out a video, their GitHub, and presentation.
  • Virtual Night at the Museum (Design Award), a virtual reality project where you can tour the Houston Museum of Natural Science with your phone and a virtual reality headset. Check out their presentation.
  • exkite (Best in Show Award) is a kite that can track temperature, altitude, location, and velocity in real time. It has a goPro and color changing LED lights based on feedback from weather or the web application. Check out their videoGitHub, web app, and presentation.
  • Cassie (People’s Choice and Hardware Award) is a robot that can be controlled by anyone via Twitch (a live streaming website). Check out their GitHubpresentation, and Twitch.

Science Hack Day is a “hackathon” with a twist – everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts, find a team, learn something new, have fun and play with science. The idea was to mash up ideas, mediums, industries and people to spark inspiration for future collaborations. Awards and recognition were given to the winners and engraved science medals were given to all participants.

Science Hack Day Houston 2016 was a HUGE success thanks to our participants, organizers, volunteers, and sponsors. Our partners at CSGirls and the Houston Museum of Natural Science and our sponsors Digital Schematics, The University of Houston Computer Science Department, The Iron Yard, Luigi’s Pizzeria Midtown and Trader Joe’s made everything possible.

We can’t wait to see you next year. Until then, hack-on!

 

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Science Hack Day Houston 2016 – Getting Ready

Calling all particle physicists, designers, open source ninjas, molecular biologists, students, programmers, and rocket scientists to join forces at Science Hack Day Houston 2016!

What: Science Hack Day Houston is two-day event where anyone who is excited about making things with science are welcome, to get together and create an experimental prototype within 30 consecutive hours. Join us and make, hack, or invent cool stuff. No experience in science or hacking is necessary, just an insatiable curiosity.

When: April 2-3, 2016 (exact schedule here)

Where: The Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Public Transit: The MetroRail is $1.25 and 8 min walk from Hermann Park/Rice U station to the museum.

Parking: We suggest the HMNS Garage for all-weekend, overnight parking. We will give participants a coupon with a discount for this garage. For free three hour parking you can park at the Garden Center Lot or the Houston Zoo lots.

What to expect: Science Hack Day is a hackathon with a twist – anyone interested in science can share their thoughts, find a team, and form multidisciplinary teams of about 2-5 individuals to learn something new, have fun, and create a mind-blowing prototype within 30 hours. The idea is to mash up ideas, mediums, industries and people to create sparks for future ideas, collaborations and inspirations to launch from. When participants arrive, there will be a few speakers and an hour of brainstorming and proposing hack ideas. You can pitch ideas, or join up with projects you’re interested in. After that, teams are free to get to work on their hacks. On Sunday afternoon, everyone will reconvene to check out the hacks and award prizes to the favorites. Register (free) individually or with a team; and start preparing yourself mentally.

The hacks: Have a great project in mind? Science Hack Day is a great place to work with eager Houstonians with all sorts of skills and hobbies to bring your ideas to life. It’s OK if you don’t arrive with hack ideas, we need all the creative minds we can find to help contribute in whatever way they can.

What to bring: 

  1. Bring your laptop and charger and/or anything you would like to hack. We will have some gadgets you can borrow to hack.
  2. Do not bring food or beverages. We will provide all meals – please take a look at the schedule. If you have a dietary restriction, please contact the SHDH committee here.
  3. Bring a sweater – the museum can get very cold.
  4. You will have to bring a guardian if you are underage.

Sleepover (optional)! 

  1. Bring a sleeping bag and a cover, the floor at the Museum is hard and cold, so you will definitely need a pad to spread out beneath any sleeping bags.
  2. Bring a sleeping mask most lights will be on through the night.
  3. Bring some toiletries – it feels nice to change out your contacts and brush your teeth.
  4. A change of clothes will feel good the next day :)

For more information please go to ScienceHackDayHouston.com.

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Science Hack Day Houston 2015 Recap

After the successful kick-off of Science Hack Day Houston 2014, Brightwork CoResearch hosted the second round of Science Hack Day Houston at the Houston Museum of Natural Science last year on April 11-12, 2015. Houstonian hackers (programmers, researchers, designers, MDs, Phds, children, parents, undergrads, and professionals) teamed-up to create awesome projects in only 24hrs.

 

This year, Science Hack Day enthusiasts (Estefannie  Sean  Dallas  Bryan  Aneela  Caroline ), in partnership with CSGirls and HMNS, will be hosting Science Hack Day Houston (#SHDH2016) on April 2-3 at the HMNS. Get your tickets now here.

 

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Science Hack Day 2015’s Projects:

“Space Beats”

Team: Estefannie Gutierrez De la Garza, Sean Howard, Dallas Kidd, Sherie Ruter
Brief Description: “Space Beats” was developed using NASA’s data, audio software, and visualization technologies to experience the universe. Space Beats was developed to give people the senses of space.
APIs, data and tools used: NASA’s Sounds(beta) API, NASA’s Digital Universe Stars API, AudioScore, Audacity, Unity, and Oculus Rift
Presentation URL: https://prezi.com/rcik0_11vnyt/space-beats/, http://tinyurl.com/k8cf2yk

“Drive Safe”

Team: Stefan Theard, Ryan Dickey, and Andrew Gay
Brief Description: App that texts a message for you if it detects that you are driving
APIs, data and tools used: Android SDK, Android Studio 1.1.0, Java, Stackoverflow.com
Repo URL: https://github.com/smtheard/ScienceHackDay

“Escape the Museum”

Team: Rachel Madrigal, Lauren O’Neil, Gaby Cruz, Jasmine Wiggins
Brief Description: Created a point and click trivia game for kids to learn different facts about space, dinosaurs, and history.
APIs, data and tools used: Developed using Python and Pygame
Repo URL: https://github.com/rachelmad/EscapeTheMuseum

“The Bat Cane”

Team: Evan Winograd, Jason Cook, Jean-Paul Nguyen, David Sorensen, Bryan Murphy, and Jae Lynch
Brief Description: Created a handheld (or foot mounted) device used to aid the sight impaired “see” and avoid obstacles
Project URL: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4FqRJOm_L7TfmZZRlZsbXVXRERxakRKZGhpVDFpSHo4OWpST3hKaXRwUmpaWGlxVjNsN28&usp=sharing
APIs, data and tools used: Arduino, Ultrasonic sensors, K’nex, Accelerometer, Gyro, Piezo

“RackTunes”

TeamJaewoo Park, Amada Abrego, Kent, Mocine, Sarah
Brief Description: Suggests songs based on what you are wearing!
APIs, data and tools used: MATLAB, php, bash
Repo Linkhttps://github.com/aselius/RackTunes-v1.0

“Science Museum Scavenger Hunt”

Team: Bryan Grandy, Dallas Kidd, Emily Buergler
Brief Description: This project is a hacked together object recognition program built from various out of date tutorials and a lot of forum questions/answers. It uses Python and OpenCV. Currently our solution for recognizing images is to use a Google Drive folder to grab the images. Then the Python script runs to see if the object is recognized. Then the Google Drive emails the result back to the user. Next we will create an Android app that uses the Google API to access the Google Drive with MIT App Inventor.
Repo Link: https://bitbucket.org/dallasbrittany/sciencehackday/src