Thursday, November 28th 2013
StumbleTube was a simple hack that I made with three other students at the 2013 NorCal Facebook Hackathon. The goal was to present YouTube recommendations (pulled from your Google account) in a fashion that’s easy to quickly traverse, and let you find videos that actually interest you. You get videos in sets of four - hovering over a video plays only the audio from that video, and clicking on one makes that video full-screen. At any point, you can pick a different video, or request a new set of four. You can also like videos to further improve recommendations.
As a bonus feature, we added a QR code that, when scanned, will take you to a remote page, letting you control the entire player exclusively from your phone. We actually ended up winning first with this hack, and progressed to the global finals.
HackWall was another simple hack that we made for the global finals. It’s essentially a real-time collaborative bulletin-board. All you need to do is create a wall, share the link, and you can collaboratively create/move notes, draw annotations, and create mind-maps.View Comments
Monday, July 22nd 2013
Every year, my high school holds a canoe race, where students from the Engineering, Physics, and Calculus classes compete to design, build and race a canoe over the span of two weeks.
The standard way to do this was to first create the keel, then create ribs at regular intervals. From that, you can add a cardboard “skin” and then coat the whole thing in duct-tape.
The only real limit is that the canoe’s contours must be defined by an equation (thus relating it back to the class content). Most teams created two equations - one for the profile view, and one for each of the ribs.
I though we could take that further, and make a parametric function to define the entire surface of the boat. From there, one can plug in rib locations and automatically generate a table telling us what shapes to cut out. Turns out I already made a tool to make the process of creating the contour a visual one.
Using the Math4D system, I started out with three separate contours, then actually created the 2-variable parametric. It turns out the ability to render the boat shape was very useful, as the team suggested many modifications - both aesthetic and practical.
However, an equation is not a boat, and we still had to build the thing. The fact that we could so quickly generate the table certainly helped, as we could get a bit of a head-start.
We ended up winning two of the four heats, as well as taking the first prize overall. In the end though, the equations only helped us so much - many teams had really good designs. What set our boat apart was exceptionally sturdy build quality, as well as quality rowers.