All in One Day’s Work: Fourth Sensibility Testbed Hackathon

2017-05-01 · Posted by: Yanyan Zhuang · Categories: Sensibility · Comments

For four years, the Sensibility Testbed project has thrown down a gauntlet to students——in less than one day, use the platform to design and test a new sensor application that can work on smartphones and tablets. We hosted our latest Sensibility Hackathon, on March 14, 2017 at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, in conjunction with the IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium (SAS). Five student teams participated in the event, with Claudio Crema from the University of Brescia, and Majed Alowaidi from the University of Ottawa receiving the top prizes of new Android phones. Crema and Alowaidi were recognized for an app that scans nearby WiFi networks to identify the access router with the best signal quality, and then suggests that router to the user.

The competition started with a one-hour tutorial on how to use Sensibility Testbed, and then participants had a little more than four hours (subtracting time for a lunch break) to design their app before introducing it in a five minute “elevator pitch” to other workshop attendees. Apps were demonstrated at the Awards ceremony during the conference banquet, and judged for their “impact on society, and the completeness of implementation.” In addition to the phones awarded to the winners, the top three teams were also given certificates.

The Hackathon has become a mainstay of the Sensor Application Development Workshop, held in conjunction with the IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium (SAS). Part of the challenge of this competition is that most participants have little or no knowledge of Sensibility Testbed. The fact that the teams are able to work effectively with the program with little training is a testament to our claims that Sensibility is easy to use.

This year’s participants benefitted from a simplified installation and set-up procedure for the Sensibility app. It now takes just a few simple steps to get the program running. The only challenge we observed was that many of our Windows laptop users had to install and quickly learn how to use Python,the language in which Sensibility code is written. However, this did not appear to be a significant stumbling block.

Feedback on the Hackathon was very positive, with a number of participants expressing that the program was well prepared,and that most attendees enjoyed the demos at the Awards ceremony. Many thanks to Sensibility team members Justin Cappos,Lukas Pühringer, and Albert Rafetseder who helped to run the event.

We look forward to the fifth year of the Hackathon, which will be held in Seoul, South Korea in March 2018.