HacktoberFest in L.A

The learning experience at hackathons is intrinsic, this is where one strives towards a goal for personal satisfaction or accomplishment, and it has been proven to be more effective than extrinsic motivation. The hack-o-lantern project, made by our very own , was filled with a lot of intrinsic goodness (we were approaching halloween and who wouldn’t like to create an enchanted pumpkin).

The idea came after one of our hackathons, where we noticed that a lot of students were having trouble with the fundamentals of hardware engineering and this motivated us to create a fun ‘project based’ educational curriculum. The hack-o-lantern is the first of many projects [Github Repo].

We chose HacktoberFest to deploy this project because of our strong relationship with Hacker Fund and its co-founder Justin Brezhnev. The Hack-o-lantern project was conceived in a week from idea to tutorial and we wanted to target High School students to test our hypothesis that we could take someone, no matter what age, from zero to one in hardware development. The project teaches the essential skills for Internet of Things (iOT) development: Design, Electronics and Software Engineering.

The hack-o-latern is a pumpkin that is controlled via twitter. The commands are sent from a specific twitter account allow the user to change the color of the light inside the pumpkin or perform a pre-defined animation such as opening the pumpkin or playing a spooky sound effect. A range sensor allows to trigger an action sequence if someone gets close to the hack-o-lantern. Finally a sound sensor can be used to modulate the light according the the surrounding sound level.


Ok now off to L.A…

Alaska Airline from Seattle to L.A

I landed around 10p.m in the city of Angels.

This was the view right outside the airport!


Saturday, October 24th, 2015

I was staying at the Hi hostel in Santa Monica and woke up to this amazing view the morning of the hackathon.


The hackathon was at Rhubarb studios in Downtown L.A

The view from Rhubarb studios
This is Devin and Renée setting up, while I took photos.

Justin Brezhnev and his team at Hacker Fund were amazing! They sent out buses to high schools around L.A to bring  the dedicated kids to their hackathon.

The High School students came in at around 11a.m


We have a full house!
We have a full house!
Game Station: It was nice to see them excited to play the N64!
Hackathon STICKERS!!!



The pumpkins are ready for hacking!!!!
I know you wanted to see what was written on the Inspiration wall...
I know you wanted to see what was written on the Inspiration wall…Even I got inspired!


We even had the Mayor of L.A, Eric Garcetti, hacking on the hack-o-lantern with the help of Hacker.Fund mentor Devin Finkel.



Up next, a workshop on C++ by Joshua Herman.


By the of the day, I started seeing really impressive projects!

They are building an arcade game.



It's Saturday night at Rhubarb Studios
It’s Saturday night at Rhubarb Studios
Burritos for everyone!
Burritos for everyone!



I couldn’t get enough of the amazing Mexican food in L.A, even after the burritos, I went to get Tacos with my friend Ken.



Sunday, OCTOBER 25TH, 2015

V.R workshop time!
V.R workshop time!


These high school kids were experiencing V.R for the first time and their reactions were priceless.

The final demos

The arcade game






A boat made out of a plastic bottle and a particle photon


I know who I am bringing if I ever get stranded on an island!

We only gave them a the particle photon, they cut open a bottle and made little propellers that moved with the help of a motor.


This app will wake you up at your bus stop



They solved the problem of finding the perfect gif.


I searched for “Tinder”


They used an arduino to measure the amount of water in a cup.

Their mission was to help the state of California conserve water. They used an Arduino to measure the amount of water in a cup. Their trick was to ionize the water using salt.



Have you played pong with a leap motion?


The best pumpkin hack of the weekend



Ended the weekend with some SELFIEs with my friends

My old friend Sagar. He is a big shot now working at Disney
My old friend Sagar. He is a big shot now working for Disney
Justin Brezhnev kill it that weekend! So proud of this man!
Justin Brezhnev kill it that weekend! So proud of this man!


This is Renée
This is Renée
Just me an my buddy Aloe
Just me and my new buddy Aloe


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