Baltimore Hackathon


Photo by Brooke Hall

Since the proliferation of the personal computer, we’ve seen the emergence of an entirely unique vein of artistry. Like other creative subsets, hacker culture thrives on openness, collaboration and a hands-on work ethic. We ventured to the The First Annual Baltimore Hackathon to document the event and possibly learn a thing or two. What we found out was that, though hacker culture seems to be isolated in small pockets of the community, the truth is their influence pervades throughout society. Many of us are undertaking similar projects and finding the same ideas independently. Our conclusion is that hackerdom, born in basements, garages and college campuses, has grown into tech incubators, hack spaces and powerful multinational corporations like Google and Facebook.

To say that this is where the world is going wouldn’t be entirely correct. The truth is that this event represents where the world already is. The fact that it took this long to have this event only speaks to the notion that the movement is growing faster than anyone planned for.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

The Baltimore Hackathon was a friendly competition with cash and prizes of $2300. To my understanding, the rules were pretty loose and the awards were given for the best software and hardware prototypes and for audience favorite. Here’s the list of winners.

Though the team who created the Lite Beer: Automated Beverage Lifter didn’t win any Hackathon awards, we at What Weekly would like to present them with this week’s prestigious and highly coveted, “Though Your Device Wasn’t Terribly Original It Was Functional and Your Presentation Was Delightfully Politically Incorrect, Plus For Us Non-Quadriplegics, We’ve All Been At That Low Point In The Evening When We Needed An Automatic Beverage Lifter Because Our Hand-Eye Coordination Was Not At Its Sharpest So Thank You For This Useful Device That Encourages Excessive Drinking When One Should Clearly Go To Bed” award. We can’t wait to see you follow it up with an automated bong toke machine.

Watch the video.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

The Beehive in the Canton Emerging Technology Center opened its doors for 72 hours while teams worked and collaborated to put together their projects. People drove in from others states, some solo hoping to find a team, to participate in the event. In the end, each team had a set amount of time to present their projects to a panel of judges and the crowd that filled the lobby.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

Mike Brenner along with John Dyer used the Tropo api to create Call-The-Door, a system that enables the user to open secure doors remotely by calling a number and entering a code.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

John Dyer from Tropo, the Hackathon’s lead sponsor.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall
Oohs and ahs aplenty.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

Pazzango was a project that aims to solve the problem of limited storage space on mobile devices by creating an application that enables the user to store their music in the cloud and call to it from anywhere.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

Voice bump is an application that publishes blogs by using voice transcription software. Simply call a number, speak into the phone and your words are converted to text on your blog.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.


Photo by Brooke Hall

The Emerging Technology Center is a tech incubator that has two locations: Canton and Waverly. The project provides affordable facilities and resources to start-up tech companies in the Baltimore area. Start-ups also benefit from being in close contact with like-companies who are willing to share ideas and resources. The Beehive is an independent incubator within the ETC.

The Beehive provides communal workspace for freelancers, entrepreneurs and other creative professionals. The Beehive offers flexible membership arrangements for people who need a permanent space or for those working from home who might only need a space one day or two days a week.

Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.

Photo by Brooke Hall

The First Annual Baltimore Hackathon