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Discover Movio Hackathon 2015

Launched in 2014, the Movio Hackathonis a 24-hour annual event in which our various teams are free to express their creativity and put into action those ideas borne from bursts of everyday inspiration, but which don’t necessarily fit into their day-to-day duties.

The 2015 Movio Hackathon was held on the 6 November and, across a day and a night of dedicated planning, coding, building and executing, we saw a pretty incredible range of ideas reach some form of fruition. From fun intra-office tools to practical timesavers, and even a few exciting propositions that we’ll be keeping under wraps a little longer, the Movio Crew’s innovation was on full display and in full effect. Here we’ve collected a few of our favourites from the day, as well as rundowns from some of the minds responsible; read, watch, enjoy, and – hopefully – be inspired.

C-3PO, The Slack Scheduling Droid

Idea: A bot to help us easily access meeting room availability and to make bookings via Slack.

Time working: 21 hours

Energy drinks consumed: Just coffee . . . a lot of coffee

How it went:

In a Hackathon where you have very limited time, it's a good idea to keep things simple and build a working prototype as fast as possible. Keeping that in mind, we first implemented the bot script and the calendar service, and integrated them to get our first running prototype without the frills. At the same time, Gary was working on the most challenging part: the natural language processor that does the date/time recognition. When that was finally ready, it was really easy for us to integrate it with the already working prototype. It worked well and all that was left was polishing it to a state we were happy with and fixing bugs we found – in the end, we had a product which worked as planned. We had a lot of fun and learned some new stuff in the process. We're happy with the result and keen to work more on it to make it even better.


Frederick CaiGary ZhuJerry PengRyan Scott

Frederick Cai, Gary Zhu, Jerry Peng and Ryan Scott

The Movio Foosball League

Idea: Foosball stat tracker

Time working: 20 hours

Energy drinks consumed: Two

How it went:

Foosball at Movio is, shall we say, quite competitive. I powered out a stat tracker complete with Elo-style ratings so that we can finally and unequivocally determine the office’s true Foosball champion. I used the opportunity to get familiar with the Play Framework, something long overdue, and found it very pleasant to work with; now we just need to hope that the Foosball table can hold up to the office’s rigorous level of competition.


Jonathan Chow

Jonathan Chow

From Whiteboards to Vectors

Idea: We wanted to make it simple to share and edit the ideas drawn on whiteboards in an easily modifiable format.

Time awake: Unlike most other teams, we both managed a nice eight hours of beauty sleep

Energy drinks: We stuck to the slightly more civilized tea and coffee

How it went:

Whiteboards. They’re an awesome collaboration and discussion tool; we draw on them quite often when trying to capture a wide range of ideas. Sadly, there are no input slots on our laptops for whiteboards, sharing what we’ve created with team members around the world (or even just keeping the diagrams for reference) is problematic. Thus, our idea for a mobile app that could take a picture of a whiteboard and turn it into a clean vector-based image was born.

On a laptop there are a bunch of different toggles, or ‘keys’, that can be pushed. In some cases, this changes the images projected from the large rectangle above the toggles, known sometimes as a ‘screen’. Our process involved systematically pushing these toggles to produce images we liked. In the end, after many toggles had been pushed, we had an Android app with which we could take a picture of the whiteboard and pass it to a server which would converted the picture to an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) file. Through the app, that SVG could then be shared via other apps that support file/SVG sharing e.g. hangouts/email, where it could then be edited using any SVG-compatible program.


Emil-BlogJames Kearney

Emil Hellman and James Kearney

Yoda’s School

Idea: A simple and fun gesture-based browser game

Time working: Far too long

Energy drinks: Far too many

How it went:

Yoda’s School (originally called Merlin’s School, but renamed to celebrate the Season of Star Wars) is a game in which you’re challenged to match pre-loaded patterns to learn and cast your own spells. For the stack, we chose Javascript (React, jQuery and a little d3) on the frontend and MongoDB for hand gesture storage on the backend.

The technical relevant highlights were: using Javascript event bus with CustomEvents for game coordination and using a Finite State Machine for determining the state of completion of hand gestures in real time. The game gives you a set of hand gestures you need to repeat, and you earn points on every successful completion. We've also made it so you can create and manage your own hand gestures, adding them to the pool. The game works on computers, tablets and even on some cellphones depending on resolution and aspect ratio, with custom sound effects and some pretty cool animations to match.


Felix GellerWasiq KashkariMatthias LangbeinMariano Gappa

Felix Geller, Wasiq Kashkari, Matthias Langbein and Mariano Gappa

If you'd like to find out more about what our team gets up to, check out this summary of our 2015 Functional Programming Meetups, and read about a day in the lifeof a Movio Cinema Software Engineer.


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