MetaGeek had the privilege to participate in Boise State University’s first App-athon competition this past weekend. The premise of the event was that diverse student teams would compete to create fully functional applications in 48 hours. Developers were allowed to use open-source libraries, but all of the development had to be done on campus during the weekend event. Applications were to be judged based on applicability to Boise State, Usability, Technical Merit, and Wow Factor.
Ryan Woodings, our Chief Geek, kicked off the competition as the keynote speaker. He shared his story of how he became a software developer and highlighted some of his first programs. All of the applications he authored served an immediate need that he or a family member had, and were all started using paper and then transferred to the computer.
Fun Fact: Ryan wrote the code and developed the original Wi-Spy for his own personal use to help him do his work more efficiently.
Forty eight hours is not a lot of time to build a fully functional application. 12 teams competed to win the weekend of endurance, smarts, and ingenious code. In the end, the winning team (which included one of our interns, Jacob) slept a total of 8 hours and spent the entire first day debating the application and then learning the Android APIs that were available to them. In the end, they created a successful personal work out generator. When the application is launched, the user is presented with an ‘un-skinned’ human and are directed to select the specific muscles they would like to work out. The user then shakes the mobile device to generate a random workout designed to shock those specific muscles and prevent muscle memory.
The second place team created a real-time collaborative brainstorming tool using a light-weight server and a mobile jquery library. Another application developed over the weekend was a mobile ready student/teacher assignment manager.
It was exciting to see young software developers come alive and push themselves to solve big problems quickly. Many local software companies had representatives there to help judge the weekend-built applications and they all came away inspired by the drive and ingenuity of the students.
Much thanks to Boise State for providing such a stimulating event for its students, and for inviting MetaGeek to be a part of it. Eleven out of twenty-two employees at MetaGeek graduated or have taken classes at BSU, making it a cornerstone of the brainpower that drives our company. Boise, thanks to its strong technology business sector, combined with improving technology education, and cool events like App-athon, is poised for ongoing innovative tech success.