24 hours of hacking
July 15, 2014
A computer science major from the Michigan State University College of Engineering and his fellow intern won the $5,000 grand prize at #hackDPL, a 24-hour hackathon competition hosted July 11-12 to benefit the Detroit Public Library (DPL).
David Kircos of Grosse Pointe and Hunter Rosenblume, a computer science major at Georgia Tech from Syosset, N.Y., won the competition by developing a mobile application for easier access to DPL’s expansive operation that includes 23 locations and is the 20th largest library in the U.S.
“In a word, this was ‘exhausting,’” said Kircos, who noted he was pleased to win the top prize. “The event was 24 hours straight under the instruction to build a mobile app for the Detroit Public Library. We set out to create the most value for the DPL and the library’s patrons as we could.”
Kircos and Rosenblume conducted interviews of librarians and customers asking for the "pain-points” that their app could help alleviate regarding library use.
“Once we believed we had a good understanding of the problem we were trying to solve, we set out to build the solution. It took us the whole time, and there were still parts of our application that weren't finished by the end. However,” he continued, “our solution stood out. It focuses on usability and ease of use and provides easy access to DPL hours, locations, contact information, services, events, alerts, fine payments, and emergency closings. Very simply: our app is gorgeous, functional and something the library is excited to implement,” he added.
Kircos and Rosenblume are both software development interns at Detroit Venture Partners, a Detroit based early stage venture capital firm that invests exclusively in technology.
“This was the first project that we both directly worked together on. Turns out, it shouldn't be the last!”
Kircos also said he was aided during the competition by his experiences in the MSU College of Engineering. “The MSU tech community has helped me build the knowledge I needed to effectively put together a working app in 24 hours,” he concluded.
The hackathon was hosted at the Detroit offices of Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association. The apps were judged by Will McDowell, business analyst with Detroit Labs, maker of mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Windows and the Web; Victor Ibegbu, acting assistant director for information systems for the Detroit Public Library; Beth Niblock, CIO for the City of Detroit; and Mark Ostach, CEO of Digerati Inc.
“It was a tremendous success thanks to the hard work of Automation Alley and Grand Circus and all of the contestants who ‘grinded it out’ for 24 hours to create a mobile application to benefit the citizens of Detroit,” said Atiim Funchess, Detroit Public Library’s assistant director for marketing. “We were extremely impressed with the diversity and level of talent that competed and truly grateful for the end results.”
Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper. For more information, visit automationalley.com.