This past weekend I attended HackMIT, a large undergraduate programming contest held on the campus of MIT. During the 24-hour competition, I programmed around the clock creating a set of apps. The app I developed went on to the win the Mopub-sponsored mobile data award. I was one of 30 teams to win a prize out of over 275 submissions; I am honored and ecstatic that I won. I would not have been knowledgeable enough to attend if not for the experience I have obtained while at the Gatton Academy, and I am grateful for everything the Gatton staff has done to assist me this past year.
During the competition, I developed two iOS apps and set up a server in one day. My final product consisted of BeaconBroadcaster and BeaconViewer, apps that use Bluetooth 4.0 on iPhones and iPads to dynamically ‘beam’ content in one direction with the help of a server. The broadcasting device does not need to be an iPhone. In fact, inexpensive Bluetooth beacons can be purchased online. The applications for this idea are endless. For example, a college campus could put a beacon into their campus maps, allowing real-time “you are here” maps to be pushed to visitors’ devices. Or, a museum could use beacons for their exhibits, pushing extra information to visitors.
To demonstrate my apps to judging, I used three iPhones. Two broadcasted and one received beacons. My viewer app finds the nearest beacon by signal strength and displays it, so I moved the viewer back and forth between the other two phones, demonstrating how the information instantly switched onscreen. In addition, I changed the value of a beacon on my server, and the value on the viewing device updated instantly.
I can honestly say that HackMIT was one of the most invigorating and informative weekends of my life so far. I was able to meet countless tech startups and major tech firms like Dropbox, Bloomberg, Twitter, and Pebble. I highly encourage interested programmers to apply to hackathons and conferences; they might have their lives changed.
My submission information can be found at this link: http://hackmit.challengepost.com/submissions/17857-beaconviewer