Some of Tasmania’s brightest students and professionals are working together to develop ground-breaking ideas during a 36-hour UHack marathon competition.
Starting on Saturday at 10.30am, teams of up to six gathered simultaneously at the University of Tasmania in Launceston and Hobart to put their design, innovation and entrepreneurial skills to the test.
The competition called on teams to develop a software application, business model and a three-minute video pitch to be presented to a panel of judges. To align the project with Research Week, which begins Monday, teams were asked to solve a problem or identify an opportunity based on one of the University’s research themes - environment, resources and sustainability; creativity, culture and society; better health, marine, Antarctic and maritime; and data, knowledge and decisions.
UTAS northern ICT lead Andrew Dick said the team makeup was essential as groups need a coder, someone business savvy and creatives to develop the video pitch. “What we are trying to do is develop some engagement from industry partners, we have a lot of sponsors for the event so we are trying to get some engagement with the students,” he said.
Seeing how the teams will develop their ideas throughout the night was what Mr Dick was most looking forward to. “I have just been speaking to the teams and some of the ideas that are already coming up are quite amazing.”
Australian Maritime College leader of maritime logistic management and UHack mentor Professor Natalia Nikolova said the process enables people to express their ideas in a safe environment.
“At the end of the process I would be happy to see very interesting results and crazy idea because crazy ideas are usually the start of something good,” she said.
Team The other guys and girls were working on an idea around big medical data.
“We are trying to refine an existing idea that we have, which when we started to look at in more detail we realised what we didn’t know,” team member Doctor Mark Brown said.
Doctor Julia Drouhin is an artist and joined the team on Saturday morning. Doctor Bikram Ghosh said the idea they were trying to develop was something he’d been thinking about since 2003, so he thought UHack was a great place to try and float it.