Over the weekend of January 12-14, UCLA IEEE and Theta Tau presented the fourth annual Idea Hacks hardware hackathon. The theme was Home Automation; and students were invited to form teams and create products and devices using the hardware components provided. The hardware included arduinos, FPGAs, Raspberry Pi, WiFi, Bluetooth, as well as 3-D Printers, soldering equipment, drills, tape, hammers, etc.
More than 150 students participated in this 36-hour event. Thirty-one teams finished the competition; and a team of judges including alumni and members of sponsoring companies, reviewed the designs. Among the designs were a glove with sensors that activated a series of colored lights based on American Sign Language words, an automated closet that helps a visually impaired person select clothing based on the weather forecast, and a remotely controlled food delivery system for a pet whose owner is away.
Sponsoring companies included Northrop Grumman, Texas Instruments, Cypress Semiconductor, Biotronik, Amazon Lab 126, and Traction Labs.
The students really enjoyed the opportunity to build a device that demonstrated their creativity in a short period of time; and the company representatives commented on how impressed they were with the students’ hard work, and the overall organization of the event.