March 14, 2017
By Michal Minarovič in News
On 25 February 2017, the very first Phonexia Hackaton was held, with the aim to let our ’ creative minds work in an environment without limitations and confines of the workaday routine. The idea itself came in response to the need to use ideas in practice, in our own spaces and our own hands to find out what we are capable of… it turned out, it’s a lot.
The Hackathon topics were chosen through a vote, so all employees have had their say. The only condition was to use Phonexia technologies. Immediately after the vote launched, topics "Voice-Controlled LED Lights" and "Building Entry Secured by Voice Biometrics Authentication" became clear favorites. The topic "Voice Controlled Smart Watch" came closely third and did not make it into the Hackathon – maybe next time!
The Hackathon is a friendly event where cooperation among colleagues flourishes, new ideas are born and new ways and solutions found; in our case, there was even a bit of competitiveness as both teams were competing for the Phonexia challenge cup.
The Hackathon launched at 10:00 AM – team captains called team meetings and began to plan solutions. Conceptually, both assignments are similar, they both use an input device with a recording element, subsequently, the input is sent to a computer server, where the information is processed and sent back to the input device in which the required task is performed. The team LockPick working on the building entry did not use the USB microphone provided as an input device, but instead chose to use a smartphone in a creative way; the team wrote an application that served as an input/output device.
In case of voice records processing, it is necessary to have a sufficient amount of samples in order for the recognizer to work correctly; the team handled this problem very creatively as well when they used social media for data collection and in merely 4 hours managed to collect more than 50 samples from their friends and relatives only. In combination with samples collected directly on the spot, these will serve as samples to compare the voice records for target/non-target recognition. This process simulates on a smaller scale the steps taken when implementing these technologies in real-life environment.
The team “Code Ninjas” applied a different strategy and chose a more familiar environment: they used a USB microphone connected to a Raspberry Pi as an input device; the input collected was sent for processing to an internal server where the input has been evaluated and sent to the Raspberry that was turning a LED light on/off. The team Code Ninjas completed the task, but that did not stop them from expanding their solution. The team created a prototype assistant Phonexia Ninja which was able to recognize several commands and respond to them, e.g. weather, date and time or what is the menu in a nearby restaurant.
This week, the jury sat to determine the winner. After short presentations, both teams ended up very close, but in the end the team LockPick was declared the winner since they impressed the jury with their innovative approach and prototype accessibility. Everybody appreciated that the final decision was certainly not easy to make since both teams not only completed their assignments, but went far beyond all expectations. Although there can only be one winner, both teams certainly had their moments of glory.
Practical solutions by both teams show the strength of Hackathon events; both teams approached the assignments according to their best creative ideas and built two functional prototypes. While building them, they discovered multiple innovations that we are implementing into daily life right now.
We will definitely continue to hold Hackathons in the future.
Want to join us? We’ll happy to have you.