Internet of things to the fore at Hardware Hackathon (video)

16 Sep 2014

Hardware hackers at work on Sunday

A hardware renaissance is happening in Ireland with the internet of things at its heart, and this past weekend it was given impetus at the Dublin City University/PCH International Hardware Hackathon in Dublin.

On Friday, 12 September, around 120 strangers trooped onto the DCU Innovation Campus.

By Sunday they had coalesced into a dozen distinctive teams who took an idea and made it into a minimal viable product (MVP) – in most cases a functioning prototype.

Over the weekend business plans melded with designs and 3D printers and CNC machines whirred into action as the teams prepared to unveil their creations for an exacting judging panel for Sunday evening.

As arrived on Sunday afternoon participants were spotted coding, running final tests and soldering circuits to boards just minutes before the pitches began.

Among the ideas were Smart Visor, an intelligent motor cycle helmet technology; Homebox, which aims to ensure online deliveries reach buyers even when absent; Blink, an intelligent bicycle light for safety and location finding; S-Helmet, a smart helmet for cyclists that flashes indicators by tilting your head; TemperTap, a solution for maintaining the perfect temperature in offices; Dribble, a technology that manages water and turns off and on taps remotely; Red Sky Labs, devices for reducing mortality rates of pregnant farm animals; Eco Pulse, a device for monitoring water quality.

The winners

Ireland’s first Hardware Hackathon

First prize went to Pharmalytics, who developed and prototyped a connected pharmacy fridge with sensors to monitor temperature and medicines in the fridge. The device sends alerts to pharmacies ensuring medicines are kept at correct temperatures and do not have to be checked manually. The team was awarded a €1,500 fund for the continuing development of the product, sponsored by AIB and an individually tailored “Start Your Own Business” course, sponsored by Dublin City Local Enterprise Board. In addition, the winning team will receive a number of electronic engineering consultations with PCH’s award winning in-house team and a variety of equipment to assist in bringing the product to market.

Second prize was awarded to Homebox who created a smart package delivery box that allows delivery companies to securely delivery a package when nobody is at home. The team received a €1,000 fund and will also benefit from a “Start Your Own Business” course among other prizes.

Third prize was awarded to Eco-pulse who developed a product for monitoring water quality in residential areas not connected to main water sources. The team received €500.

The internet of things will be one of the key themes discussed at this year’s Innovation Ireland Forum in the Guinness Storehouse on Friday, 24 October. Prof Brian MacCraith and Philip Moynagh will be among our leader panelists.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years