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King's students create innovative solutions for a better future in university-wide hackathon

HackKing’s 2022 saw 200 students compete in the 14-hour long event

HackKing's 2022 event collage

200 students across King’s attended a 14-hour long hackathon, at the end of last month, with the aim of creating innovative solutions and designs exploring how technology can contribute to a better future.

Student society, KCL Tech, re-launched the annual hackathon 'HackKing’s' for the first time since the pandemic.

Suliman Sattar, MSci Computer Science and President of KCL Tech, said:

“For those unaware, a hackathon is a 12-24 hour long invention marathon. Participants work in teams, or on their own, to create awesome products from scratch, learn new skills and have some fun along the way! People from all backgrounds and education are welcome, and learning the requisite skills is half the fun.”

Working in teams of five for 12 hours, participants had the option to choose either a technical challenge, creating a new product from scratch, or a non-technical challenge pitching a technology-based solution to improving student life. The event was sponsored by Blackrock, who tasked those in the technical challenge category to create a product that could take advantage of the changing technological landscape to contribute to a better future.

The winning team for the technical challenge was 'Team25k', which included Kenza Amira, Selvan Kumar, Yu-Hsun Wang, Liu Hsiao Ching, and Yingming Luo from the Department of Informatics. They created a real-time hand gesture recognition application for healthcare workers, so that they can interact with devices without having to remove protective equipment. Each team member won a Nintendo Switch and Mario Party Superstars game.

For the non-technical challenge, the winning team 'WeeKan' included  Lile Zhang Zhuo, Mateia Curigut, Jieun Lee, Emanuele Croci, and Ved Kaura from the Departments of Engineering, Informatics and Mathematics. They created an idea for a social media app that connects students with similar goals and interests to help them attend events together. They each won £20 gift cards.

During the day participants also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, which could be incorporated into the technical challenge. There was also a mini-career fair with information on different roles and how to upskill to get the best chances of landing a job in tech. A range of snacks and drinks were on offer for free to all participants as well as lunch and dinner to keep energy levels high.

At the end of the day, the top three teams for each challenge were invited to pitch their work for two to three minutes each to see who would take the grand prize.

“Congratulations to all those who took part in HackKing’s 2022. The range of innovative ideas participants came up with, as well as everyone’s passion to find ways to use tech for good, was a truly uplifting experience.”– Suliman Sattar

The competition enabled students to develop a range of skills from teamwork to time management, to developing an entrepreneurial mindset in a short time.

Team WeeKan said:

“HackKing’s has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience that taught us how to cooperate with new team members, brainstorm ideas in a group environment, and develop a practical solution to improve student experience.

“Overall, the Hackathon was an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded people and broadened our perspective about the Tech field.”

HackKing’s was just the first of this year’s KCL Tech hackathons with more in the pipeline for later in the year.