09 May, 2016 by João Ricardo Planche

Deloitte Digital Portugal originally set themselves the challenge of hosting an exciting, informative and disruptive Internet of Things (IoT) hackathon. In trying to do so, Techathon was held at the Oporto Deloitte Digital Studio, Portugal between 11th - 13th March, in a setting that was designed to offer the participants an environment that promoted innovation, creativity and fun. All the ingredients necessary for them to achieve their goal.

Techathon’s objective: Within 36 hours create and develop an IoT project using BITalino’s sensor board, an all-in-one hardware and software toolkit designed to take body signals as an input. 

The event opened up with a number of talks around technological disruption and innovation. André Ferreira, Head of Centre for Disruption at the Deloitte Portgual, presented us with a historical perspective on the disruption of well established businesses and the importance of permanently rethinking business models. Frank van de Ven, a UX expert from Deloitte Amsterdam, shared his view on the importance of prototyping in the solution creation process, technology as a driver for innovation and the importance of customer experience as the key ultimate brand differentiator. Throughout the event, Idea Challengers, Mentors, Developers and Pitch Trainers were on hand to assist the participants and to help them further develop their ideas. BITalino’s also had their own representatives on hand to ensure the teams were getting the most out of the sensor boards.

The 36 hours of intense building and developing was accompanied by a live DJ, “How to Make Your Own Gin” workshops, a cocktail reception and a number of other fun activities to give the participants a welcome break.

The benefits of such a conducive environment were obvious in the presentations and ideas of the final projects. Exhausted from working overnight, the participants somehow managed to present their ideas to the jury through pitches, prototypes and demos.

Given the caliber of ideas presented, additional awards and categories were created on the spot. Despite all of this, there could only be one overall winner of Tecathon, that team being “#ATMDC” who, according to the judges “had an idea that pushed the boundaries of the BITalino’s sensor board to the limit”. They used the sensors from the board to create a wearable air drum kit, which one of the team members used to play along with some music during their pitch. It used sensors on the arm and leg to recognise when the user was playing a specific drum, e.g. Bass, snare, high-hat etc. 

It was both a productive and enjoyable 36 hours and I think it’s fair to say that all those involved, organisers and participants, are already looking forward to next year!