Orbotix Hack Weekend #2 Results

25 Nov 2010

On Nov 13 and 14 we had our second hack-a-thon.  Turn out was great - we had over 20 visitors over the weekend but as always things could be better.

A “hack weekend” is fun way to get people to come in and try your stuff but to expect real functionality after two days is a bit unrealistic - especially for Android.

Out of 7 real developers that showed up - 2 were able to finish apps that were presented to the judges at the end of the weekend.  One app allowed users to drive our little rover over the internet.  The other app was a new driving UI that let the user drive the rover with just their thumb (he also made a simple swipe bowling game using the same UI).  Since there were only two entries we award the prize to both participants - nice job Andrew and Dale!

We learned a ton of stuff from this event. While it was lots of hard work to setup, it showed just how much more work we need to do to make this thing ready for prime time.  Below are our key take aways and some photos + a cheesy video from the weekend.

  • A rover isn’t a ball - which means a lot of the control we envision for the ball isn’t possible on the rover and vise versa
  • Android is hard to develop on - folks need more than a weekend to make real progress
  • The Android community in Boulder is not as strong as iOS but it is growing
  • Folks really wanted a bunch of sample apps that they can use as a starting point vs. the high level tutorial we created
  • Developers don’t like to watch a powerpoint session on how to do things - they just want to jump in and have someone technical standing by to ask questions
  • Our API needs further development - more high level commands are needed
  • Our off the shelf test rovers proved to be unreliable - out of 10 units - all had some sort of problems with overheating which took our tech folks away from helping developers get things rolling

All in all a great learning experience - next time we will do things over a period of weeks and save the final push for the “hack-a-thon” - plus next time it will be the ball!


Hack-a-thon #2 at Orbotix

A few photos from the event:

Ready for the judging to begin!

Rovers are still Awesome!

We love robots!"

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