8 teams, 30 (and a quarter) participants, 24 hours, 8 amazing projects, 5 tech experts as jurors, and lots of fun - that’s the 7th edition of the eSol Hackathon in a few words. Read below to find out how it went!
The annual eSol Hackathon took place in September and, as usual, we had tons of fun, many challenges that we managed to overcome (or not), and, of course, not that much sleep! But hey, who needs sleep when we can code, network, and get out of our comfort zones for a striking 24h marathon?
Each year we organize an internal Hackathon to celebrate not only technology, but also the innovation and creativity that we know exist within our teams! We may be techies, however, it’s important to broaden our horizons, explore new ways of looking at the world, step out of our comfort zones, build something useful and/or fun, and dip our toes into the unknown!
This is also a great opportunity to find out what other tools and technologies our colleagues use on a daily basis, and see what challenges they are facing. The teams are mixed, made up of colleagues with different backgrounds, different experiences, and from different departments, who team up for 24 hours to amaze us with their projects, their mindset, and their ambition.
While there is a lot of competition, and also prizes for the top 3 winners, it’s all in good fun, especially since new bonds are being formed throughout the night! As usual, there is no imposed Hackathon theme, which means that each team has the freedom to choose their own project idea that they need to develop in no more than 24 hours!
Project theme - at their choice!
Hackathon duration - 24 hours
Presentation time - 10 minutes
Q&A time - 5 minutes
The jurors had to rate the projects based on four different aspects, namely:
> how much of the project they managed to finalize
> how original, innovative or creative the project was
> how much they got out of their tech comfort zone
> general impressions (marked by their presentation skills, too!)
With this occasion we’d like to thank the amazing jurors again for accepting our invitation to take part in this year’s hackathon! The jury consisted of tech specialists and CEOs from top companies that we work with, namely: Carrefour, METRO.digital, eMAG, Bringo, and more.
Since our colleagues had to concentrate and code for 24 hours, we also had to organize some breaks. So before moving on to the winners and the projects, let’s see what else we had planned for the hackathon this year! To code well, one must eat well too! For dinner we had pizza, followed by a midnight snack consisting of homemade pancakes with various flavors of homemade jam (quince was the most craved one!).
At breakfast, each team could eat at their own pace (according to their own sleeping schedule), followed by a sweet brunch consisting of Kürtőskalács and flat doughnuts (yumm!). For lunch, we had traditional Romanian food consisting of various types of meat and fresh veggies for fresh minds!
Robobar was also a highlight of the 2023 edition of this Hackathon, with automatic bartending and cocktail recipes such as Data Libre, Gin PyThonic, Data Royale, MimOPSa, HuGoLang, or Spark Me Up! Let’s just say that when we “geek”, we “geek” all the way ;)
On September 16, at exactly 5 PM, there was no more “hacking”, and we all gathered to see the project presentations, curious to find out what our colleagues came up with and what they thought the world missed, but definitely needed.
It just so happened (again) that the winning team was the one consisting of the interns that just got hired at eSolutions! We’d like to congratulate them, as we believe this is a great incentive for them to continue thinking outside the box, test out new technologies, and work smarter! So what did they develop? They developed SAVE ME, an app to help children or people who are in trouble and can’t call 911 (or 112). A both useful and considerate app, that’s for sure! Congrats!
Tech Stack: PostgreSQL, Spring, Angular, React JS, and React Native, Firebase
The second place winners developed Fable Forge, an AI-based app for creating children stories (text, visuals, and audio), using modern tech such as ChatGPT for the texts and Midjourney for the visuals. The final story they presented was about three boys who won a hackathon! Quite meta, we would say!
Tech Stack: React, Angular, Spring, and Svelte, Go
The winners of the third place developed Chef AI, also an AI-bsed app that offers two use cases. For the first use case it's helping people cook with only the ingredients they have readibly available in their fridge, and the second use case aims to innovate the way restaurants work and offer clients the chance to taste unique recipes generated by them. Let's imagine yo go to a restaurant, choose 3 ingredients, and the AI will generate various recipes for you, out of which you can choose the one that soothes your soul (or taste buds) and the cook will cook it for you on the spot. A lot of points went for the presentation, where they really put in an effort!
Tech Stack: Kotlin, Android, Open AI, Leonardo AI or (100% new technologies used)
Fabrica de Cuie, which most people were rooting for since they were the winning team last year, developed e-monopoly, a Monopoly-like board game, marketed with eSolutions. They used a lot of new technologies and hardware they were not familiar with, and had many challenges throughout the night, thus this year was more about fun and getting out of their comfort zone than about the podium for them.
Tech Stack: Java & Spring, Arduino, Figma, Python, Open CV, Flutter, MQTT, Firebase, vs. the normally used Java & Spring, Flutter, Figma
After being inspired by a TV commercial for beer, the One Direction team joyfully worked on Arthur - a physical robot that could bring you beer whenever you called for it. But the catch is that the beer is always cold since they also added an ice box! Now that’s something we’d all like to have at home, right?! With GPS, motors, and obstacle detection, Arthur is here to stay.
Tech Stack: Android Studio, Kotlin, Python, Custom Electronics, Video & Soung editing, Sockets, magnetometer, and C++, IoT Embedded, Custom Electronics, Arduino
The B. Family, which where the quarter in 30 and a quarter participants in the intro comes from - our CTO, along with our colleague and his wife, his nephew, and their 10 months old baby (who melted all of our hearts right away!) - made a facial recognition system using a GoPro, that could count how many people participated at the final presentations, who was paying attention, and who was smiling during the presentation with a Smile-Counter (or Zambetometru).
Tech Stack: OpenCV, ML algorithms (face_detection_yunet_mar2023), Python, Kafka, TimeScaleDB, Grafana, Unity Engine, C#, Blender, vs the usual tech they use, namely Spring Boot & Angular
Risky Biscuits developed eSolTube, a video and streaming platform for eSolutions, with the goal of centralizing the video assets we have in our company. From Lighting Talks, team buildings, new employees videos, maybe even travel videos, to eSol Academy courses and Zoom project onboardings, all will available in this new privately-owned platform, at a search away.
Tech Stack: Node JS, HTML CSS, Digital Ocean, Nginx, Canva, Figma
And last but not least, TREN developed a treasure hunt game for breaking the ice in office spaces. With remote work still popular amid tech companies, sometimes it might be difficult to get to know your (new) colleagues. So the TREN team developed a fun treasure hunt game, with hidden objects and clues in the office, with the final objective of getting familiar with your new and old co-workers! All in good fun!
Tech Stack: C Programming, Go, Go Gin Web Framework, Arduino
I know you might’ve scrolled through just to get to the video, so finally, here it is!
That’s all folks! Congratulations to all the winners and participants, and see you all next year!