University of Michigan’s Hackathon: A Motivating and Inspiring Environment


After the great experience I had at IIT Hackathon which was a 24 hour competition to come up with a creative idea, execute it, and eventually present it, I was definitely interested in doing that again. Therefore, I was among the first couple of people who registered for the MHackathon, the world’s largest hackathon this year.

I met one of my teammates in the elevator after the kickoff of the MHackathon 2013 last Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan when he was trying to recruit an engineering student to work with him.  We pulled an all-nighter since then, and I don’t even remember that I had any water during that Hackathon because of the incredible amount of energy drinks and Red Bull that we had. Representatives from all the large companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Epic, and more were there to help the participants and encourage them.

Our ultimate aim was to replace the traditional method of measuring blood pressure with an advanced technology that allows users to get their instant blood pressure by just touching their smart phone’s screen and having another finger placed on the camera of it.

Within the given time frame of the Hackathon, we were able to build and test the proof of concept for our project and we built a very cool iPhone app that was ready to receive the data from the sensors that we had. On Sunday, all the hackers set up their booths to present their ideas; the general theme was INNOVATION. So it was very competitive and hard for any team guarantee the winning. However, we were lucky enough to win one of the sponsor prizes on that day J

Fully excited and enthusiastic, I am looking forward to participating in more future hackathons because it is not just about participating in a competition, it is a perfect environment to make new friends and connect with so many creative people!

It always feels sad when I remember my fellow students in my home country Syria, and remember how those awesome people there are not having such a good environment to fuel and develop their expertise. However, it’s never late to do that; Syria will recover, and it will be everyone’s responsibility to help rebuilding it and bringing what they have seen and learned back to their people so they can get similar opportunities.

Short video about the Hackathon project:


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