Hack:Bit 2018 – Sri Lanka’s first national hackathon to tackle Micro:bit

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sarvodaya Fusion and Micro:bit SLUG, together with Microsoft, recently held a two-day inter-school and university hackathon called Hack:Bit 2018 at Trace Expert City. The sprint-like event saw 25 teams writing code onto their respective micro:bit devices to build connected devices or IoT that could address social needs in the market.

The micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer, designed to make learning and teaching code easy and fun. The device has 25 red LED lights that can flash messages, and two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. The device can also be connected to a passive infrared brick and moisture sensor, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet.

The organizing committee received over 80 submissions from private and government school and university teams across the island, but only 25 of the most promising were chosen to participate.

Teams representing Ananda College, Gateway College, Bandaranayake College, St. Anthony’s College, St. Sebastian’s College, Embilipitiya President’s College, Nenasala IT Centers, University of Rajarata, University of Moratuwa, University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), Horizon Campus Malabe, Shilpa Sayura Digital Academy, Kotelawela Defense University, and Sri Jayawardenapura University took part in the competition.

Hasitha Abeywardena, Microsoft Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, congratulating the participants

“With more than 80 entries, Hack:Bit 2018 was the largest simultaneous hackathon of student developers ever, acting as a catalyst to bring a wealth of new, exciting and quality apps to the micro:bit device,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Microsoft is committed to empowering students with the tools and resources they need to showcase their creativity through app and hardware development.”

The connected devices were judged based on their concept, innovation, execution, and feasibility. Under the School Category, Team Antonian Computer Fraternity from St. Anthony’s College took first place for its navigation solution for the visually impaired. Under the University Category, Team Undefined from University of Moratuwa took first place for its Braille text-to-speech reader.

Team Undefined from University of Moratuwa

The panel of judges included Isura Silva, Sarvodaya Fusion Consultant; Prasad Piyasena, SLIDA Senior Consultant; Chamira Jayasinghe, Arimac Lanka CEO; Calvin Hindle, MIT Senior Business Analyst; Lin Gong-Deutschmann, AOD Managing Director; Chalinda Abeykoon, CEO at crowisland.lk; Safraz Rahim, Dialog Axiata Developer Evangelist; Wellington Perera, Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect; and Thulasee Shan, Microsoft Technology Solutions Professional.

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