EECS senior Shaina Krumme and her team of Tina Haibodi (Queen’s University), Chris Maltais (Queen’s University), and Sai S (University of Waterloo), successfully participated in Princeton University’s biannual hackathon, HackPrinceton, in spring 2018.
They won “Best Teamwork” and were awarded SZJJX Camera Drones for creating the best hack out of the teams whose teammates did not know each other prior to the event. Krumme also previously won runner-up for the Google-sponsored challenge, “Best Use of Firebase,” at HackMIT 2017.
HackPrinceton has a highly competitive admissions process, accepting less than half of all applicants. Most participants study at top-ranked universities and only about 10% of participants win at the event.
The inspiration for Krumme’s project was a shared desire to learn new technologies and build software geared toward education or social good. The team initially focused on building an augmented reality iOS app to overlay information about nearby businesses on top of the businesses themselves. The team bonded and became close while learning new technologies and making decisions as a group, including the ultimate decision to pivot away from their initial idea.
It became clear that the scope of initial concept was beyond the 36 hour timeframe. They reconceptualized their project entirely, switching to an augmented reality iOS app that helps children learn about the solar system in a fun and interactive way. When a user first start sthe app, they are in a spaceship and take off into the solar system. Projected in front of the user are planets, moons, and other matter found in space. At the bottom of the app is a pilot dashboard that includes informative statistics on what is around the user. The app draws on concepts learned in interrelated disciplines such as physics and math. In the end, the team achieved its goal of creating an educational app. The team hopes their project will encourage children to pursue careers in STEM and will help make learning STEM concepts fun and interactive, essentially bringing textbooks to life. The students started as strangers, then went through the weekend together; ending as a solid team and as friends. They credit their group dynamic with staying positive, supporting and helping one another, communicating clearly and directly and remembering to have fun.