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Rescue from the Cloud: Bluemix IoT and Drones Hackathon at Devoxx

Last week the IBM Emerging Technologies team attended Devoxx UK 2015 and presented Bluemix at the IBM booth and in various sessions. Additionally my colleagues David Boloker, Mark VanderWiele, James Thomas, Ryan Baxter and I hosted an Internet of Things hackathon which was a lot of fun for both participants and mentors.

We asked developers to build any type of Internet of Things application as long as it uses IBM Bluemix and the Internet of Things service. We provided some cool devices and samples for developers that they could use for their hacks: Parrot AR Drones 2.0, Orbotix Sphero balls and Texas Instruments CC3200 LaunchPads. Since we only had three hours time for the hackathon, the goal was not only to get awesome applications built but also to get people started with IBM Bluemix and to have fun.

I think it’s amazing what people were able to do in that limited time. The winning team with the developers Adam Dyga, Michael Bogacz, Bartholoiy Tomala, Lukasz Szymik and Vladimir Volynkin developed a starting point for an application “Rescue from the Cloud”. The idea is to send a drone to the place where an accident happened and where people might be injured to take photos or even better stream videos immediately to the rescue team before they can reach the location. This data could help the rescue team to make the right decisions very fast and not only to rely on the information people provide over the phone who might be involved in the accident themselves and might be under a lot of stress.

Here is the winning team and their presentation.


The second winning team (Samael Bate, Daniel Watford, Giuseppe Persiani, Kevin Potgieter and Samir Pipalia) was working on a game where the drones were controlled by TI boards.


A big Thank You goes to the Devoxx organizers, especially Ellie May, who helped with the organization and to Mani Sakar and James McGivern from the Devoxx program committee who helped with the judging.

While people were actually able to deliver working code, we’ll probably give people more than two hours the next time we host a hackathon. Especially for IoT hackathons there is a good amount of setup that needs to be done first. I think one of the participants Jeremie Charlet summarized this pretty well.

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