Arduino Hackathon

8-10 April, 2022 | University of Queensland

2022 saw the relaunch of the Arduino Hackathon after a forced hiatus since 2019. Members of UQ MARS, Robogals Brisbane and QUT Robotics came together to develop solutions to the theme of assistive technology in a timed event spanning three days.

The weekend-long event kicked off with an introduction night, where participating students had the opportunity to network and form teams over conversation and pizza. Teams consisted of two to four members, with many containing a mix of UQ and QUT students. Watkins Steel’s Vitor provided an inspirational briefing to the theme, sharing how assistive technologies can change lives. He discussed how Watkins uses cutting edge technology to show customers what products will look like before they are built, how safety can be improved with advanced tracking technologies, and his own personal experiences with assistive technologies after sustaining a childhood injury to his hand.

Participants receive the initial brief and welcome

Saturday saw the participants provided with a variety of knowledge and components to undertake their projects. Workshops were run by the host societies which covered topics such as Arduino programming, electrical wiring and mechanical design. This helped to foster the creativity of some of our less experienced participants, showing them a little more of what was capable with the components provided. The participants had access to a host of mechanical and electrical components, 3D printers, and, of course, Arduinos to make their designs into reality.

Hard at work

The final day saw teams work to finish their designs, and put together a pitch to sell their ideas. Teams spoke about what they had developed over the weekend, addressing its potential uses and discussing how it can improve lives. With a variety of prizes up for grabs, teams were marked on their designs, presenting ability and teamwork capabilities.

Team Spinning present their bottle opening assistant

The following prizes were on offer: 

  • Watkins Steel Prize: $100 and an integrated work placement at Watkins Steel
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place: $200, $100 and $50, respectively
  • Best Presentation: $50
  • Best Product: $50
  • Best Teamwork: $50
  • Most Masochistic Team: $50 and a firm hand-shake from the Treasurer of UQ MARS

Team N won both the Watkins Steel Prize and 2nd Place overall. They developed a fault detector which can detect fractures within stone at a fraction of the cost of laser method currently used in industry. 

First Place and Best Presentation was won by Team Toxoplasmosis. They presented a series of smart devices for cat owners to make it easier for people with disabilities to take care of their pets.

Third Place and Best Teamwork/Values was won by Team Spinning with the group developing a device to open twist tops for bottles for those for arthritis or other ailments.

The winners of Best Product were Team Four50, who developed a face-tracking camera stand.

A sample of the awesome work produced

UQ MARS would like to thank Vitor and the team at Watkins Steel for their support and involvement in the event. We’d also like to thank our co-hosts, Robogals Brisbane and QUT Robotics, as well as everyone who took the time over their weekend to participate in the event.

Written by:
Jay Hunter – UQ MARS Secretary 2022
Matthew Cook – UQ MARS Marketing Officer 2020–2022

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