Universities islandwide lock horns in 2-day Hackanix

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Fifteen teams from top universities and ICT Institutes from across the island competed in ‘Hackanix 2015’ a grand two day hackathon organised by AIESEC from the University of Moratuwa in collaboration with Microsoft Sri Lanka. The event held at Trace City, Maradana had the five member teams from education institutions such as the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Ruhuna, SLIIT, Esoft Metro Campus etc., working overnight on their projects which were to be presented to an elite panel of judges the day following. The challenge presented to students was to come up with a solution for a social issue under the theme ‘Educating the General Public on’. The 15 teams who worked tirelessly produced some excellent work, including futuristic Mobile applications and innovative websites. Each team had a single end goal in mind; that of bringing home the Hackanix 2015 championship. However, it was three of the best teams who were adjudged the winners by the panel of judges which consisted of experts in the likes of Prof. Gihan Dias from the University of Moratuwa, Wellington Perera, Developers Experience Lead for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Program Lead for ICTA Faraz Hudah.             The second runners up who were awarded a cash price of Rs. 20, 000 were the team Illusion boxes from the University of Moratuwa who designed an innovative application to connect people who sought legal assistance with the right lawyers. Team ‘Enigma’ from the University of Peradeniya were placed first runners up for their application to improve study methods, making the entire experience of learning more fun and novel. But the overall winners of Hackanix 2015 was the second level under graduate team, Sas Ninjas from the University of Moratuwa who clinched it by producing their masterpiece ‘Educa’ App which can be installed in any kind of smartphone and has the ability to change the way one reads by using augmented reality, allowing the user a virtual experience. The five member winning team received a notebook each; while the first runners up from the Peradeniya University won a cash price of Rs. 30,000. The other teams who took part also presented some outstanding applications relating to the health sector, road safety and law etc., and all of them received a certificate for their participation.       Speaking at the event, Welington Perera Developers Experience Lead for Microsoft Sri Lanka who was also a panellist at the Hackanix, said that Microsoft Sri Lanka was proud to be part of the event. “We received 64 proposals in the first round and shortlisted 15. I am really happy and proud to see the quality and ingenuity our students have brought into this whole completion and if I comment on why Microsoft actually supported this kind of initiative it is because we truly believe that technology is the platform and the single enabler for everyone in the world to experience a better lifestyle,” he said. The event’s main focus was the development of projects that could be used as online mobile applications in line with Microsoft’s Mobile first Cloud first theme.       In Asia Microsoft has launched a campaign called ‘We Speak Code’ the objective of which is to make coding a third language says Microsoft Sri Lanka Manager Community Affairs Janakie Karunaratne. Commenting further she said, “Microsoft believes that apart from our mother tongue and English in general Coding will be the next language which will support ideas that spark innovation. With technology at their fingertips our young people can truly change the world, and it is to that aim that we work towards. We at Microsoft believe that we have a responsibility to give young people every opportunity we can to bring out their ideas, give them the right technology and to make every resource we have at our disposal accessible, so that they  can take it and make more out of it. I am waiting for the day when amazing ideas will come out from Sri Lanka, which will revolutionise the way we do things across the world, and I am sure that day is going to be soon.” The captain of the winning team Sas Ninjas, Tuan Shafer said, “We are really happy to have taken part in this event and won. As a team we thank Microsoft and AEISEC for organising this Hackanix and for making it such a worthy competition. We thank the panel of judges, the entertainers who made our work more pleasurable and everyone who helped make this event the great success it was.” The event also had song and gaming competitions to keep the teams’ spirits up making it a fun experience for everyone. Microsoft says that they expect to be part of a number of similar events in the future which not only honed the knowledge of the nation’s youth population, but also helped showcase their knowledge at both national and international forums.