UCLA Idea Hacks 2019

Pop N' Lock team holding up their first place invention
First place team – overall competition (Pop ‘n’ Lock)

Over the weekend of January 18-20, UCLA IEEE and Theta Tau presented the fifth annual Idea Hacks hardware hackathon. The theme was Travel; 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.

Sponsoring companies included Northrop Grumman, Texas Instruments, Google, Microduino, Qualcomm, and the Green Initiative Fund.

More than 200 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 theft-proof bicycle lock, a sensor system for bicyclists to sense obstacles in their vicinity, a Braille translator to help blind travelers, a sensor system to help travelers sleep better, a sensor to help a traveler protect their backpack from pickpockets, and a system to help a tired train traveler get off at the correct train station.  Several teams included first-year and second-year students.

The winning team of five first-year students designed and 3D printed a theft-proof bicycle lock called Pop ‘n’ Lock; and then had enough time to redesign it to have fewer moving parts and less weight.  It was activated and deactivated by a Bruin Card. The team members wereJeff Anderson (MechE), Juan Banchs(MechE), Allison Chen (MechE), Ashvin Nagarajan (MSE), and Matthew Wang (CSE).

The students really enjoyed the opportunity to build devices 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.

Winning team presents in front of the judges
Winning team presentation in front of the judges

Idea Hacks coordinators Nihar Tamhankar and Serene Kamal presenting on stage
Idea Hacks co-coordinators, Nihar Tamhankar and Serene Kamal

Second place team – sustainability competition posing on stage
Second place team – sustainability competition

First place team – sustainability competition posing on stage
First place team – sustainability competition

Third place team – overall competition posing on stage
Third place team – overall competition

Second place team - overall competition poses on stage
Second place team – overall competition

Idea Hacks volunteers posing on stage
Idea Hacks volunteers

Alumni, industry, and faculty judging team posing on stage
Alumni, industry, and faculty judging team

Pop ‘n’ Lock locking device open
Pop ‘n’ Lock locking device open


Pop’ ‘n’ Lock device locking and unlocking (video)
Pop N' Lock thumbnail