When you think of hacking, you probably imagine a shady guy wearing a hoodie, frantically typing at a laptop, and trespassing the digital securities of banks and governments. While this may be true, new types of coding competitions known as “hackathons” are changing the meaning of “hack.” Students partaking in hackathons all over the world are competitively innovating technological solutions to problems, often in 24 hours or less.
Even more shocking than the time sensitive schedule is the fact that you’ll be working with a team of people you’ve never met before! It is up to your team to create a product that tries to improve healthcare, education, socio-economic opportunities and the arts.
Starting from the drawing board, you have a given amount of tools at your disposal to invent anything from a unique heart rate monitor to a 3D-printed prosthetic device to even a virtual reality application.
In order to learn more about how hackathons work, I participated in the Hacking Arts hackathon at MIT’s Media Lab. It was a blast to witness how hundreds of young entrepreneurs, designers, and coders were making new connections between technology and the arts.
From using musical sounds for navigating in physical space with a Hololens to inventing new interactive displays for art exhibitions, the range of cool proposals was really inspiring.
Hackathons are rapidly becoming the model for the future of creative brainstorming. They are happening all over, so don’t miss an opportunity to experience one… before you know it, it’ll be the future!