A Hackathon Experience

I went to SkyHack, an exciting hackathon hosted by Kent State University two weeks ago. Participants were asked to propose solutions to one of the five aviation-related challenges and compete for some monetary prizes (the highest one is 10,000 dollar). I teamed up with three KSU students I met there. Two of them are computer science majors, just like me, and one is a physics major. I was initially nervous about meeting new people, but we actually worked pretty well with each other. We aim to increase the security of small general aviation airports by using drones with motion sensors to patrol the airports, scare away wild animals and warn relevant personnel about any irregularity.

KSU provided many resources, from free meals, late-night snacks to drones, Arduino, Raspberry Pi that we are free to use, modify or take apart. There were also 3D printers available and volunteer mentors, including engineering professors and retired pilots, who were happy to help us. Although my team did not successfully make a working sample drone in the 48-hour hacking time, we still had fun and presented our idea at the end. Participants include students majoring in engineering, design, computer science, business, etc., as well as future pilots.

They were students from many different schools, including Michigan State and MIT, which are far away. I learned some engineering things from my teammates and many great ideas from other participants.


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