I woke up early this morning on a Saturday morning to study more after a long night of studying. Since it was hard to find a reason to be excited to jump out of bed right away, I gave into my bad habit of scrolling through social media before physically getting out of bed.

Today I noticed Major League Hacking, a new page I began to follow, posted a new video about, “What is a Hackathon?” After attending my first Hackathon (A First for Everything- My first hackathon: BoilerMake 2017), I had to answer the question, “What is a Hackathon?” multiple times. Most of my social circles did not consist of people who were expert coders or even people necessarily who were really interested in “techy” activites, so they had many questions about what I was doing for 36 hours 2 weekends ago.

I thought watching this video might give me ideas to better answer the question in a clear concise manner. Within the first couple seconds, the video features Mike Swift, the founder of MLH, and he detailed that a hackathon is a “weekend long invention competition.” Swift continued to describe the hackathon as a time when students come together to create something whether its hardware, or an app to share with their peers and maybe also the corporate sponsors.

It made me think about my previous posts and ideas about the Hackathon, and whether or not my ideas would actually be considered a hack.

In one month exactly I would have to stand before a panel of judges after an allotted day of “hacking” to present my work, so I really had to be honest with myself and evaluate my ideas.

So far my ideas have been surrounding the Machiavellian theory of the mind, and developing a way to determine how accurate an NBA player can recognize another player’s face. The whole gist behind this idea was to emphasize that I was “measuring the immeasurable” (the theme of the SSAC’17 Hackathon),  because chemistry of a team relies on capitalizing on non-verbal communication cues player to player. If I could find a method to recognize facial identification skills, it would me help “measure chemistry.” However, it isn’t considered a hack because I’m not actually creating anything. I would be simply taking in data to analyze to find another analysis method.

What I need to do is create SOMETHING that takes input data and is able to output SOMETHING…

Yesterday night, as I was coming back from the gym with my boyfriend he asked me if I was interested in going to a trivia night with friends. Of course I didn’t want to be off-putting or accidentally shoot down any idea he has to spend time with me, but at the same time I could think of other things I’d rather spending time doing with him than trivia night. The word trivia literally means, “details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value.” I get that it’s fun for some people, but I wasn’t sure if I would want to spend my weekends studying or learning “pieces of information of little importance or value.” In his defense, the trivia team did need a person to do the sports section of the trivia, so he did try his best to relate it to me. I always do appreciate any ideas to hang out with Scott!

This morning everything clicked, that idea of not me really wanting to do trivia, combined with my new realization that I needed to create a hack in one month made me think. What if I made a mini arduino that could play sports trivia for me? That way Scott and friends will have “me” on their team, and I’ll have something cool to show for my hackathon.

Luckily one of my best friends actually used an arduino and machine learning techniques, in her Computing in Industrial Engineering project, so I was able to pitch the idea to her and simply figure out if the arduino had the capacity for me to try that.

Then I looked up costs and I figured it would be about $50 for a basic kit, which is reasonable enough for me, and most hackathons provide arduinos.

Finally I thought about feasibility. I thought about how the robot would take in the input data (or trivia question in this case) and how the robot would output the answer. I came to the conclusion that like a human it must be able to “hear ” the question, and then it can use an LED board to display the answer.

I did further research on arduino forums and how people in the past have tried to make the bots “listen.” One guy was trying to get his arduino to simply distinguish between a 2 chime bell and a 3 chime bell. In a case as simple as this, he had to first buy an additional attachment that can measure the length of frequency that the chimes produced. Then, he had to code into the program, what frequency the arduino had to listen for and what the length of the frequency each represented.

From just that scenario, and given one month, I think it’s highly unlikely that I could enable an arduino to understand all the words of the human language because of the variety of inflections, frequencies, and lengths is too great. More importantly, I’m not sure how a sports trivia bot would “measure the immeasurable,” unless I stretched it to say that  sports trivia is immeasurable because it’s too random to find in the dense amount of sports statistics available.

In conclusion, another idea went through my “idea cycle,” another one in and out within one morning. Hopefully enough run through before time runs out!