Students Showcase Programming Skills at UCR’s Citrus Hack

More than 400 students competed to create new apps and products in 36-hour hackathon

An aerial image of students showcasing their work at the citrus hack competition

Participants demonstrate their work at Citrus Hack 2016, a hackathon organized by students in UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — It took 400 students just two sleepless nights to create 55 new apps and products at Citrus Hack 2016, the second annual hackathon created and organized by students at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering.

The event drew students from across California, who competed around the clock to use their programming skills to create digital applications and products, which they then presented to a panel of judges from industry and academia. The fast-paced, 36-hour hackathon began 9 p.m. Friday and ended 9 a.m. Sunday, with technical workshops, talks, and on-the-go meals built into the program. The event was supported by 15 sponsors, including Equipo Vision, Google and Facebook.

UCR students Spyridon Catechis and Alex Illich received first place for developing a new intuitive tool to fly quadcopters, unmanned helicopters that are popular with model aircraft hobbyists. The event’s co-hosting sponsor, Equipo Vision, presented the entrepreneurial award to UCR students Steven Luna, Chirawat Sanpakit, Justin Chandra, and Karen Pho. The team’s TruPen, a program to uncover whether someone’s signature has been forged, also received the “Watch Dogs 2” best device privacy hack.

Students working on a project at Citrus Hack 2016.

Students work on a project at Citrus Hack 2016.

This year’s hackathon was organized by 15 UCR students and 60 volunteers led by electrical engineering student Alberto Tam Yong, and computer science student Kevin Hsieh. Tam Yong said the event, which drew a larger crowd than the inaugural hackathon last year, was a great success.

“We had very motivated students participating and they submitted awesome projects, but at the end of the day, we measure Citrus Hack’s success by how much fun everyone had, and I can confidently say that everyone had fun this weekend,” Tam Yong said.

Additional winners included:

  • Second place award and Equipo Vision Entrepreneurial Award 2: FPV_Battle_Bots (UCR students Andrew Nava-Juarez, Jiunn Siow, Emilio Barreiro, and Gustavo Correa).
  • Third place: Seeing_Pi_to_Pi (UCR students Flynn McGettigan, Alexandro Candia, and Matthew Lauhakamin).
  • Best Data Science Prize: Dictionary Explorer Edge (California State University, Long Beach students Cherie Woo, Aleks Kivuls, Rich Cherngchaosil, and Cesar Montelongo).
  • Entrepreneurial Prize: Scangone (UCR students Nichelle Chung, Todd Larson, Peter Hung, and Jose Mendez).
  • Best Beginner Hack: Neatris (UCR students Eva Schwesig and Jeremiah Griffin and Cal Poly Pomona student Travis Linkey).
  • Best Internet of Things (IoT) Hack: SuperSoil (UC Irvine students Zihan Chen and Zhaofeng Li).
  • Best Game Hack: SumoPuck (Cal Poly Pomona students Colin Trotter, Andy Cook, Matthew Lee, and Stephen Jackson).
  • Best Voice User Experience using Amazon Alexa: Learning with Alexa (CSU-LA students Jose Aparicio, Christopher Anderson, Cedric Tong, and Fernando Montes).
  • Best Use of AWS: R2-OBD2 (Cal Poly Pomona student Alfredo T Giron and Irvine Valley College student Andrew Pham).
  • Best Domain Name from Contribumate (UCR students William Shiao and Thomas Wan and Contra Costa Community College students Thomas Munduchira and Zhenli Zhang).

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