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Penn State’s ‘HackPSU’ Just Got Techcrunched, Y’all

Yes, you read that right — Penn State’s Hackathon, HackPSU, just got Techcrunched.

HackPSU, organized by Innoblue and hosted by the College of IST, brought together entrepreneurs from schools such as Penn State, Michigan, and MIT. In 24 hours, they created product prototypes ranging from a soon-to-be iOS app called Hologram to an intriguing yet wholly sketch website concept called hackmyj* No, that is not a link to a porn site. Yes, that is apparently the market price of Mark Zuckerberg’s semen.

At the conclusion of HackPSU, a panel of judges including Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, Weebly founder David Rusenko (Penn State ’07), and Sincerely founder Matt Brezina (Penn State ’03) awarded the hackathon’s top three teams with the following prizes:

  • 1st prize (Trip to Silicon Valley, sponsored by Readyforce) – “Hologram” by Ishaan Gulrajani (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) & Zain Shah (University of Pittsburgh)
  • 2nd prize ($1000) – “E Tracker” by Ani Channarasappa (Penn State)
  • 3rd prize ($500) – “Beefball” by Nick Baugh and Tim Oxley

Hologram, according to Gulrajani, will allow users to take “full 3D photos using just the camera on your phone.”

“The math behind [the app] is sort of complex, but basically Hologram takes two pictures: one without flash, and one with flash,” explains Gulrajani. “Areas of the photo which are dimmer without flash and brighter with flash are closer, and areas of the photo which aren’t affected by the flash are farther away.”

On the less-serious (I think) side of the product spectrum, former Michigan student David Fontenot — who, incidentally, marked his territory in IST Building with this blasphemous flag — used his 24 hours to create a website concept called “hackmyjizz.” I’ll just let him explain it to you:

“In ten years, is my wife really going to want to pass on my genes to our child?” said Fontenot when pitching to the judges. “No. Not when she can give them Jack Dorsey’s or Mark Zuckerberg’s genes. That’s why we created hackmyjizz.”

All in all, HackPSU and the other events of IST Startup Week seem to have been a success — one step further for the entrepreneurial community here at Penn State.

“All week, students got to listen to speakers like David Rusenko (CEO of Weebly) and Steve Huffman (co-founder of Reddit),” said Kathleen Warner, President of Innoblue. “But it didn’t end there. Students learned how to best take advantage of their college experience and start their journey of learning skills and building something that could turn into the next Weebly or Reddit.”

About the Author

Bobby Chen

Writer and photographer, helping tell the many stories of the Penn State community.


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