Hacker Games in Kaunas: 41 projects in 48 hours
Kaunas’ Santaka valley was abuzz with creativity as more than 250 engineers, software developers, designers, marketers and business developers were competing at the Hacker Games hackathon. It was the first Hacker Games hackathon with a designated hardware track and the largest event of a kind in the country over the past few years.
Startup Lithuania partnered with KTU Startup Space to hold the third Hacker Games event at the inspiring Santaka Valley of Kaunas University of Technology. Apparently, creators from Kaunas were waiting for a challenge such as Hacker Games as more than 350 people applied for the event and more than 250 actually turned up. This should make Hacker Games in Kaunas the biggest hackathon in Lithuania in the recent years, according to unofficial calculations.
For the first time in Lithuania, the Hacker Games hackathon had a separate Hardware track (powered by Green Garage) where 14 teams were competing and 10 projects were presented for the jury. The Game track by Game Insight was the most numerous one with 20 projects (18 of them presented), while the Software track (powered by Startup Highway) had 16 entries with 14 of them being pitched at the finals.
The winning projects
1st place and PEBBLE Smartwatches from Startup Highway was awarded to Man Esi Tu team. They made suicide prevention app where volunteers chat with the youth in trouble. This team has also received 1000 EUR worth of consultations from SEO Helis that they instantly decided to donate to Jaunimo linija – the Lithuanian youth line!
2nd place and 1000 EUR from NFQ was won by Day Light Insight team. They developed a employee onboarding solution that simplifies the introduction of new staff to big companies by analysing the communication patterns of current employees.
And the special prize from Aresi Labs – a Gear VR – went to the Chocolate Bar team. It made a VR-based mobile app that helps architects to showcase the properties they create better. An architect can upload a 3D render to a web app and then it is converted into a virtual reality visualisation that customers can explore.
At the games track, first place and 1000 EUR for any industry event from Game Insight was awarded to the Tiny Media Labs team. They created a simple, and yet a truly engaging mobile game where the player needs to swipe away the obstacles that randomly arise in front of him.
Second place and a 12 Month Subscription to Unity Pro from Unity went to Green Pickle Studios. They made a game called Blopp where the player needs to find a way out of a maze without touching any spikes.
While the hardware track, the first of a kind in Lithuania, had even a bigger pool of winners. CleverFrost team was awarded with a Electronics Lab Kit from Green Garage. They made a device that monitors the temperature of drinks inside a fridge and notifies a user via wifi/web app/mobile app when the desired temperature is reached.
1000 EUR in cash from KTU Kauno technologijos universitetas/Kaunas University of Technology was awarded to two teams: Spynukas and the Open Greenhouse. Spynukas is a light-sensor based device that monitors the status of a lock and notifies a user if he forgets to lock it. Open Greenhouse is self-explanatory – it’s a working prototype of a greenhouse with automatic watering, conditioning, wind/moisture metering and much more. All open source.
And Kauno mokslo ir technologijų parkas awarded 200 EUR to the Cloax team that made an automatic cloakroom. It can be opened and closed with a PIN code.
Last but not least: two youngest teams at the Hacker Games – RadRobots and RadGames – were also applauded. The former made a robot that intentionally distracts someone sitting at the desk while the latter created a game where the player needs to defend itself against the zombies by building barricades. These teams won a field trip to Kaunas Airport from the municipality of Kaunas and some power banks from FIMA.
Also, TransferGo was kind enough to provide great pizzas and sushis to the hungry creators after the final pitches.
“We are thankful to KTU and its Startupspace, the sponsors, the volunteers, the mentors and, most importantly, those hundreds of creative spirits that proved that there’s huge potential among people that surround us every day”, – Rimantė Ribačiauskaitė, Startup Lithuania’s and Enterprise Lithuania’s project manager said. “Hackathons may produce successful startups, we already have a couple of success stories, but every participant of these events benefit from seeing new people and embracing newly heard ideas, points of view or different takes on usual matters. All this translates into innovation sooner or later”, – R. Ribačiauskaitė believes.
The next Hacker Games are scheduled for the end of May in Vilnius. It will go coastal at the end of September in Klaipėda an then back to Vilnius for the end of November. Stay tuned to be updated! Meanwhile, the Login Startup Fair is on the radar – mark May 5-6 on your calendar as an opportunity to present your startup for heavyweight international investors, to discover the Baltic startup ecosystem and to play around at the Hardware Valley.