Florida Polytechnic University students hack their way to number one at statewide hackathon

Feb 21, 2019
Florida Polytechnic University students hack their way to number one at statewide hackathon
Florida Polytechnic University students show the prizes they received after winning first place at the HackRiddle hackathon held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. From left to right, Alison Hart, Jeremy Eudy, Caleb Long, and Greg Willard.

LAKELAND, Fla. – For the first time, Florida Polytechnic University won first place at the well-known HackRiddle competition, a 24-hour hackathon held annually at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The event brought together more than 200 college students from across Florida to compete in front of judges, mentors, and industry leaders. Florida Poly students took first place out of 28 teams that participated, and also won the Best Domain award. Other academic institutions that took part in the competition included the University of South Florida, University of Central Florida and Embry-Riddle University.

The students on the winning team were senior Alison Hart from Auburndale, Florida, senior Caleb Long from Seminole, Florida, junior Greg Willard from Naples, Florida, and senior Jeremy Eudy from Palm Harbor, Florida. The goal of their project was to use computer vision and facial recognition to sign people in and take attendance.

Senior Vamsi Hanumanthu from Morrisville, North Carolina, and junior Delaney Jester from Ruskin, Florida won the Best Domain award. Their project aimed at creating a tool to expedite identifying forensics details for digital forensic law enforcement.

This experience enabled these computers science students to not only put their skills and imagination to the test for long hours and no sleep, but also to work successfully as a team looking for solutions to difficult problems. The final product, they say, is always rewarding.

“I always enjoy walking around at the end of the hackathons and seeing all of the projects that people manage to come up with, design, and implement in the limited time that we all have,” said Long. “It’s impressive.”

Florida Polytechnic University has participated in HackRiddle in past years, but this is the first time they took home the big awards. The prizes included Nintendo switches, a DJI Spark drone, and Raspberry Pi kits. However, they say the best reward they received was the motivation to continue challenging themselves.

“These competitions are an open space for creativity and innovation, with no limits on what you can build,” said Hart. “I always leave a hackathon inspired by my peers, with a renewed excitement to bring new ideas into the world.”

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications