Hello, this is Ishikawa from PR.
Junction Asia, a global hackathon and the largest in Japan, was held from the 6th to 8th of May, 2016, at Warehouse TERRADA.
FabCafe provided planning and management support for this event, as well as opening a FabCafe booth to support prototyping by participants on the day. I will report on what it was like at this greatly successful hackathon that gathered close to 200 people together!
What is Junction Asia？
The 3-day hackathon event Junction Asia was held as a side event of Slush Asia, a global startup event originating in Finland (held from May 13th and 14th. Including those involved with the event, apparently around 4000 people attended!)
200 young engineers, designers, managers, and marketers gathered together at Warehouse TERRADA in Tennozu, formed teams, chose a theme to hack from one of the below tracks, and performed prototyping on new products and services for three days.
・Services to accomplish a comfortable travel experience (by Japan Airlines)
・Using Pepper for communication within family, communication with other people, or conversation with customers (by Softbank Group)
・Create a new user experience for the home (by Intel/NEC/Lenovo: RealSense)
The 20 or so Peppers gathered together for the Softbank Group track.
The sight of this row of Peppers lined up in a row at the venue at night felt futuristic.
Arrival of the FabCafe booth
The FabCafe booth was set up right in the middle of the Junction Asia venue.
In order to help the participants create their work, we not only prepared a Trotec laser cutter and 5 Makerbot 3D printers, but we also gathered together devices for electronics projects and sensor devices including Oculus Rift, RealSense, Sony’s MESH, Arduino, Little Bits, and Lego, lending these devices to participants as a service.
We started our lending service at the same time as the start of the hackathon on the first day—a long line started to form. This was at about 8 p.m.
The sensor devices were extremely popular, too. We had the members of TMCN (Tokyo Motion Control Network) come into the FabCafe booth as well, where they mainly gave advice to help those who were performing prototyping making use of sensor devices.
Lego was also very popular! We had Mr. Watanabe of Afrel bring a complete set of Lego with him for Junction. Participants were able to use Lego at no cost.
The laser cuter was very popular, so much so that there was always a waiting list.
A global team came together
The FabCafe global team—our Taipei team, our Bangkok team, and our (new FabCafe candidates) Monterrey team from Mexico—all gathered together with us for the Junction Asia event on this occasion.
This was the first time that this many of our global members were all together. Our FabCafe teams from around the world worked as one, doing things including operating the Fab machines and providing mentoring for the participants.
Supporting the participants with creating what they were asked using the laser cutter, we achieved a level of cooperation that overcame the language barrier.
Noticing that we had no FabCafe uniform, we hurried off to buy t-shirts at Uniqlo, DIY silkscreen printing them after creating a stencil for the logo using the laser cutter.
Since we had made the effort of gathering together, we also held a party
Hack, hack, hack...
The hackathon started in the evening of the first day. There were people who went home, and people who stayed through the night.
Warehouse TERRADA, the hackathon venue, was spacious with a high ceiling. It looks very picturesque at night, doesn’t it?
How things looked in the morning—exhausted people were lying about.
Sunday morning started with yoga.
All participants were treated to breakfast (there was a lot of pizza.)
The open atmosphere of Warehouse TERRADA.
Anyways, hack hack hack...
Hackers coming to the FabCafe booth to try the devices provided to them.
A team making something by putting electronic devices in a "box" they made with the laser cutter.
By noon on the last day, I could see that things were starting to take shape
Judging, then the announcement of the results!
Deadline for projects was the last day at 2 p.m. After that, the judges went around each team’s table and evaluated them. Within the 10 minutes that each team had, they held a demonstration and a Q&A. This was quite difficult for the judges as there were more than 50 teams.
From left, Mr. Iwasa, president of Cerevo, Kalaya from FabCafe Bangkok, and Mr. Todome, president of NEC Lenovo,.
Both those doing the judging and those being judged took things seriously.
Three teams from each theme’s track were selected through the preliminary judging.
The best team was decided through final presentations.
It goes without saying that these presentations were held entirely in English.
A winner from each track was announced, and the grand prize was awarded to the PEPAZAP team who made use of Pepper and Kinect.
It was a project where Kinect would detect the user’s posture and Pepper would become their exercise trainer, telling them things like “you have poor posture!” or “lift up your bum!”
All of the administrative members of Junction Asia.
Junction Asia is run entirely by student volunteers. The members of Junction Asia are extremely talented and capable people who planned and managed a hackathon to the scale of 200 people, carrying through it until the end to make it succeed.
Fundamentally, everything progressed in English, and the lighting and how the space was arranged and decorated very cool, it looked like somewhere overseas. From their style—leaving the participants on their own (in a good way) and not facilitating them too much—it looked like they were stimulating the teams to participate in the hackathon in an independent manner.
FabCafe provided advice since the early stages of planning for the Junction event, and we are proud that we were able to support it on this occasion.
We are very grateful to everyone from TMCN who helped out at the FabCafe booth, Ms. Sugihara from Happy Printers, Mr. Watanabe from Afrel, and everyone from the FabCafe global team—Tim, Yipin, Kalaya, Bomb, Aiko, Alex, and Diana!