In the ever-increasing world of gadgets and gizmos, it’s impossible to know what will become the next big thing. PennApps is a student-run hackathon committed to the idea that college students can create the technology of the future. At PennApps Spring 2013, which took place over the weekend of January 18th at the University of Pennsylvania, over 450 creative college students from some of the nation’s top schools worked for 40 hours straight to build hacks and compete for the grand prizes. Some notable hacks from this year include a backpack that keeps track of your belongings, a Facebook application that “cleans” your profile, and a toilet that tweets.
University of Texas sophomores Sai Avala (CS), Suvamsh Shivaprasad (CS), Sourabh Shirhatti (computer engineering), and Ankit Tandon (computer engineering) competed together in the competition. Their work, which was inspired by the coffee machine in the UT Flawn Academic Center, involved hacking a coffee machine to make it voice controlled through an Android app they developed. They called their app Mrs. Coffee, “the perfect compliment to your Mr. Coffee coffee maker.” Aside from being voice controlled, Mrs. Coffee also texts or emails the user when their coffee is ready. A bonus feature the team added makes the coffee strong or weak depending on how the user’s company’s stock is doing. SendGrid, a sponsor of the competition, chose Mrs. Coffee as the “Best SendGrid Hack” and awarded the team a Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 Kit. Congratulations to the team for their success!
The Fall 2013 PennApps competition will be held the weekend of September 6-8. Join their mailing list to receive information about the event! To read more about the Spring 2013 PennApps competition or to sign up for their Fall 2013 mailing list, visit their website at: http://2013s.pennapps.com.
Article by Katherine Gordon