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UVA Students Participate in 36-Hour Hack-a-Thon - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Students Participate in 36-Hour Hack-a-Thon

Posted: Updated: Apr 13, 2014 06:56 PM

Students at the University of Virginia are making their innovations come to life in the hack-a-thon - Hack UVA.

Daniel Winker and Kyle Cramer are creating a new kind of speaker they hope will get some attention for using a floating magnet.

"The magnet is cancelling out the gravity of sorts, it's kind of like balancing out. So when the magnet goes lower, it gets more powerful and brings it up more. When it gets high it gets less powerful, so it kind of stays around the even point,” said Kyle Kramer, second-year electrical engineering student at UVA.

The hack-a-thon at UVA features around 200 students from six different colleges and universities.

Organizer Shiv Sinha says its success shows how the hard work he and his UVA classmates have put in is paying off.

"We developed everything from scratch, so Hack UVA in itself is kind of a hack in the whole planning aspect, and I guess the reason we did this, like the 10 engineering students, is we really wanted to showcase what UVA engineers could do,” said Sinha.

The event features sponsors like Capital One and Willow Tree Apps. The businesses didn't just help fund it - they mentor students as well.

"They've made themselves known to the hackers and the hackers are working side-by-side to get these apps done, because 36 hours is not a lot of time to go from nothing to a finished product that you can pitch to a panel of judges. So they've been instrumental in helping the hackers,” said Sinha.

UVA alum Steve Hoffman, who co-founded the info-sharing site Reddit, was one of the judges.

“I think this being their first hack-a-thon it's an excellent first step, so I'm really excited about where they take this into the future.”

Winker and Cramer hope their final design will impress the sponsors.

"In the end, you have the magnet floating here, and then it just vibrates up and down with the music, almost not even noticeably. Just a little bit, but still in that equal floating area, and spreads the noise out,” said Winker.

The winners developed a program called "Leap-Music" which tracks the movement of the user's hand to judge the tone and pitch of a song. The team won $1,500 in prize money.

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