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The second AEC Hackathon, held March 14-16 at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., drew more than 200 participants, with about a dozen from outside the country (as far away as Finland). AEC professionals and tech pros worked furiously together for two days to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to age-old construction challenges.

Many major AEC firms were represented, with other participants  coming from all segments of technology, including gaming and AEC software. Word of mouth after the first AEC Hackathon, held four months ago, was favorable enough to double the number of participants.

Thirteen teams – several that formed spontaneously – presented the fruits of their labor to the entire group, and, unlike the first hackathon, cash prizes were awarded.  A couple of companies put up prize money if teams took on their issues or used their software or servers in their solution. The top three AEC Hackathon prizes went to:

  • Third place: A Facebook-type social media idea for just the construction industry.
  • Second place: “Hack-E,” a small, wagon-shaped robot that wirelessly transmits environmental and space information as well as Google Glass-type images as it rolls through an area.
  • First place: A smart hard hat that measures and transmits temperature and relative humidity both ambient and for the wearer. Getting the transmitted information into 3-D models is the next step.
Teams also worked on or with virtual reality, converged building information, customized executive software dashboards, iBeacon sensors, laserscan data, indoor positioning low-energy beacons, smart alarms and smart windows, shared-inventory tracking systems, smart schedules, object recognition, hands-free motion sensors and gesture controls. The tech terms and jargon thrown around were over most people’s heads, even some of the tech folks, but everyone came away with fellow hackers as new friends and ideas to take back to their workplaces. Nearly everybody talked to nearly everybody else. Most of the hacked ideas won’t be on store shelves soon, but their seeds, if nurtured, will grow into real solutions, and some of them can and will change the AEC industry.

Damon Hernandez, who emceed the event and led the organization along with Paul Doherty, urged everyone to keep the community going and organize similar events in the future.  People already are stepping up to organize an AEC Hackathon on the East Coast, probably in New York.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YcGTrQiggk
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