Ah, PennApps. Small, delightful dishes of food that Quakers enjoy before a main course in order to stimulate the appetite. But also a semesterly reminder that what many SEASers lack in social life and hours of sleep, they make up for in hackathon winnings.
This past weekend, a buncha CS-minded n3rd$ (nerdspeak for 'nerds') from all over the world came to compete for a piece of dat $30K in our very own Engineering Quad. Fueled by pizza and confidence, these hackers cooked up apps that attracted sponsors like Venmo, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Other Companies I Wish I Could Intern At Because Their Offices Look Really Cool.
As you might expect, a lot of neat and...ahem, quirky stuff was born during the 48 hours of PennApps Spring 2014, so we didja a solid and sorted out the Facebooks from the Faceplants:
1st place: Homework Help
Take academic dishonesty to the next level with a smart machine that can interpret math problems and write out solutions in your handwriting
+ gives you more time to appreciate the finer things in life
- your study group wonders why you don't need them anymore
- lifelong guilt
2nd place: PipeTeX
Makes it easier to write documents involving math equations (e.g. 2 + 2 = 4)
+ really great for people who like math
- unclear why it's called PipeTeX, but probably obvious to someone who cares
3rd place: GoogolPlex
Lets third-party apps use Siri, so you can Instagram, Venmo, Spotify and more all with the touch of a voice
+ finally get some use out of Siri
- you have to say "GoogolPlex" before a command
- how does Google feel about all this???
Good Lookin': whaticookup
Identifies ingredients in a picture you take and says what you can make from them
+ literally an app that can help you make app-etizers (sorry)
- useless when your fridge is empty
- always comes up with 'smoothie'
For The Birds: Be the Bird
Lets you control the bird in Flappy Bird clones by flapping your arms
+ they have a video demonstration
- your high score is still, like, 2
Picture Perfect: PerfectPicture
A camera app that doesn't take a group picture until everyone is smiling and has their eyes open
+ photobombers have to be smiling to be successful
- difficult to use at a funeral
+ jk, they have an option to turn the smile requirement off
A Plus For Effort: PennCoursePlus
A Chrome extension that displays PennCourseReview ratings within Penn InTouch's course listings
+ spares us the extra tab and the searching, oh the searching
+ something we didn't know we wanted so bad
- wasn't available last semester
Said Ooh Girl, Shock Me Like: The Electric Eel
No joke, this is a controllable electric condom that delivers small shocks to your peepee for maximum pleasure.
+ this actually fucking exists
+ it's like a prototype and everything
+ "...the designs have all been personally tested by the design team for their effectiveness and safety."
+ it's open source + MGMT
All On The Floor: Smack That!
Silence your phone instantly by smacking it
+ an outlet for sexual frustration
- draw even more attention to yourself when your phone goes off in class
Lets you select inputs and control your iPad with only your eye movements
+ medical utility, important, makes the world a better place, greater good, wow
- the hack name makes way too much sense
That's all, folks! Except it's not. Check out the entire submission gallery here.