August 28th and 29th, I had my first experience at the headquarters of Charleston, SC based Sparc. Upon my arrival at the Sparc building there were numerous local food trucks with great eats fueling the coding superheroes. A super hero is an apt name, given this year’s theme of Superheroes.
As I walked into the building caped volunteers checking ID at the doors and giving wristbands greeted me. I walked through the lobby and spoke with some of the sponsors that had tables set up displaying their products and services. While I spent some time talking with reps I knew from previous events, I quickly made my way to the main event area.
Upon walking into the main event area there was a magnificent comic book themed city made out of cardboard that created an immersive experience. The crowd was abuzz and lively, music was playing, and everyone was friendly. There were refreshments from Twisted Cypress Brewing, a small craft brewery local to Charleston and even a small wine bar. Finally after 18 hours of coding by the teams 53 registered teams later the judges chose the top 10 projects. The crowd was anxious to hear what teams made. At this point everyone was showing signs of being tired but that did little to damper the excitement of the crowd. One by one teams were announced. I remember some of the creative team names… 3 Man Wolfpack that consisted of 2 Men and 1 Woman Developer. They developed a Low Energy Bluetooth Device made from a raspberry pi which, when the device detected your Bluetooth UUID (Universally Unique IDentifier) would play your theme song. This would rely on direct marketing with ibeacons and was designed as a proof of concept. They later on placed in the top 5. Another team called The Power Rangers who were decked out in full costume and had bedazzled hats went on to win Best of Show!
This event was fun, interactive, and a great competition. This Year, ArchetypeSC participated as observers, but our bedazzlers (and code skills) are ready for 2016!