At Layer we spend lots of time considering how our service can best enable the creation of the next great messaging apps, as well as apps of all types that are — as of yet — only imagined. So our first hackathon, HackLayer, was awesome for many reasons. It proved that Layer makes it possible to build great app experiences in a short timeframe and in the case of our winner, with little or no app development experience. And it highlighted some early examples of the range of products you’ll soon see built on the Layer platform. For us, this is incredibly exciting to see.
About the event: HackLayer ran seven hours and was open to current interns at SF and Silicon Valley companies. Each participant or team was given access to our SDK at the start of the hackathon. Judges were Homebrew Partner Hunter Walk, OpenDNS CEO David Ulevitch and Layer’s Tomaz Stolfa and Blake Watters.
Congrats to the winners, and everyone else who participated and conceived of, created and demoed an app built on top of Layer in a day. (More photos at the end of this post.)
Developer: Matt Duran (University of Maryland, Baltimore County/Homebrew)
Concept: Simon Says is an in-person, on-device game. Simon picks a pattern of colors and the other partipicants must match the pattern using all game players’ devices. The game ends when a player gets the sequence wrong. The amazing thing about this one is Matt had ZERO app development experience prior to HackLayer.
Developers: Emil Sjolander (Umea University/Flipboard), Adrien Sulpice (INSA Toulouse/Google)
Concept: WhatUp is a basic messaging app, but that’s part of what makes it so great. By the end of the seven hours, this was a fully functioning messaging app. Fully functioning. And the team had it working on devices that the judges held in their hands.
Developers: Michael Fang (Imprivata), Ambika Acharya (Genentech), Vinamrata Singal (Google), Dylan Moore (PayPal) (all Stanford University)
Concept: OnCall is designed to help you identify those of your friends who’re available now should you need help, or “on call.” The developers indicated a few use cases, one being on college campuses where there’s a rotating Resident Advisor calendar and it’s not easy to tell which RA is on duty.
Developer: Spencer Yen (Saratoga High School/Everalbum)
Concept: DayFriend matches you with one of your Facebook friends for a 24 hour-period. During this window, she/he is your “DayFriend.” Then after the period expires, you’re assigned a new person. Did we mention Spencer’s in high school?
Developers: Vinay Kumar Vavili (Amazon), Megha Jindal (Visa), Krutika Kamilla (Visa) (all Carnegie Mellon University)
Concept: Eventy lets you create a spontaneous event that anyone nearby can come check out. The app lets you post details and take photos during the event, and the team has ideas for ways to evolve the app – public vs. private events, for example.
Developers: Lawrence Lin Murata (Stanford University/OneTune), Jonny Burger (University of Zurich/OneTune), Duc Nguyen (Stanford University), Johannes Choo (National University of Singapore/Easily Do)
Concept: Singr is a collaborative song-singing app. The first user selects a song and records him/herself singing its first note, then invites a friend to sing the next note. The end result is a complete song sung by lots of people.
Developer: Wesley Smith (University of Utah/Critical Pursuits)
Concept: Roots developer Wesley started his demo by saying he has a big family, including grandparents for whom keeping up with the younger generation online isn’t always easy. Roots has two modes. One for digital natives and one for non-natives. In addition to larger, more clear buttons, language in the latter is more real world. Rather than “tap to talk,” it might say, “touch here to talk to John.” Lots of use for an app like this.