The college students may have been quite exhausted late Sunday morning, Jan. 31, after working most of the preceding 36-plus hours trying to create apps, games, gadgets and more at the first MTSU HackMT.
But when Amy Henderson, director of organizational development for event sponsor LeanKit, asked the large gathering if they wanted to return next year and do it all again, they let out a resounding whoop — much to her delight, as well as that of Dr. Chrisila Pettey, chair of MTSU’s Department of Computer Science.
“Next year,” however, may instead become “this fall,” if the second HackMT event takes place in late September or early October as tentatively discussed.
The inaugural event drew more than 200 software developers, visual designers, programmers and computer science students from local universities, and about 300 people, total to the MTSU Science Building for the Jan. 29-31 opening ceremonies, dinner and VIP reception and weekend-long opportunity to invent new Web platforms, mobile apps and electronic devices.
Students from Belmont, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb, Fisk and other area colleges joined peers from MTSU for HackMT.
“This was pretty cool,” Pettey said while helping clean up from three days of students and industry mentors spinning their collective wheels for their computer creations.
Among the creative accomplishments were a travel app and MTSU tutoring and food service apps.
The food service app, nicknamed “Hey, Waiter!” will provide users with estimated wait times for meals at MT Dining/Aramark venues on campus.
“It was an extremely successful project. We have a mostly finished product,” said Rookery Brauch, a junior computer science major from Murfreesboro. “We hope to add it to the MT Mobile App with a little more polishing.”
MTSU-based Star Jam team members earned the Gold Motherboard Award. The My Myo team, comprising students from MTSU and other schools, earned the silver for creating a sensor for a gesture-control armband. UT-Knoxville students, whose team name was “Mooch,” captured the judges’ bronze award.
“This absolutely exceeds any expectations I had,” said Henderson. “To see the energy level, the number of students who stayed, and the sponsors’ involvement, it was a positive event and great for the computer science community.”
Randy Davis, a senior from Franklin, Tennessee, whose computer science major includes a business application, said students received “a crash course for the last 36 hours, working with information and data.”
“It was an amazing opportunity to watch young people who understand technology and create apps that will move us forward in the future,” said Dr. Bud Fischer, dean of MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)