Today’s guest blog post is from Troy Petrunoff, content strategist at AngelHack. Amazon works with companies like AngelHack who are dedicated to advancing the art of voice user experience through hackathons.
This year Amazon Alexa teamed up with AngelHack, the pioneers of global hackathons, for their ninth Global Hackathon Series. Since 2011, the series has exposed over 100,000 developers from around the world to new technologies from sponsors ranging from small startups to large corporations. Amazon Alexa joined the fun this year at nine AngelHack events, sending Solutions Architects and Amazon Echo devices to give talented developers, designers, and entrepreneurs the chance to learn about the Alexa technology. Thirty two teams included Alexa technology into their projects.
Of the nine events Amazon Alexa sponsored, three of the grand prize winners won using Alexa. Winning the AngelHack Grand Prize earned these teams an exclusive invite into the AngelHack HACKcelerator program. AngelHack’s invite-only HACKcelerator program connects ambitious developers with thought leaders and experienced entrepreneurs to help them become more versatile, entrepreneurial, and successful. The program is intended to give developers of promising projects built at a hackathon the opportunity to listen and talk to some of the biggest players in the Silicon Valley tech scene on a weekly basis. All while providing them with the resources to successfully transition their Hackathon project into a viable startup with early traction.In addition to the grand prize, the Amazon Alexa team offered a challenge at each AngelHack event. The challenge for the series was best voice user experience using Amazon Alexa. In addition to the three grand prize winning teams, two Alexa Challenge winners will also receive an invite into the HACKcelerator program. Participating teams of the HACKcelerator will be provided with mentorship and other resources to prepare them for the Global Demo Day in San Francisco.
Meet The Three AngelHack Grand Prize Winners
Genii, Winner of AngelHack Washington DC
Genii is an Alexa project that could help shoppers, including the visually impaired, find the products they need in a store using voice commands.
New York Minute, Winner of AngelHack New York City
New York Minute is an Alexa project that could eliminate the frustration of getting around New York City. It calculates the fastest, cheapest way to get to your destination by comparing Uber and public transportation.
StudyLex, Winner of AngelHack Cincinnati
StudyLex is an Alexa project that could integrate an interactive element into the traditional study environment. Unlike popular websites such as Quizlet and StudyBlue, this skill incorporates Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition software to offer an engaging study experience much like having a real-life tutor, anytime of day, for any subject. The user-friendly interface allows you to pull already-made study sets from Quizlet’s API with over 4 billion terms.
The following projects won the Alexa Challenge and may receive an invite to the HackCelerator.
Foggy, San Francisco
Foggy is an Alexa project that aims to crowdsource the process of planning a trip. From trips and tricks from experts, to reminders for things to buy, Foggy is designed to alleviate stress from the whole process, using the power of your voice. Check them out here, and request early access.
Alexa Adventures, Austin
Alexa Adventures is an Alexa project that could walk the user through a text-based RPG style adventure. Watch the Video
Lingo Guru, Seattle
Lingo Guru is an Alexa project that could teach users a new language by giving real-time feedback.
EventGuru is an Alexa project that could provide answers to frequently asked questions at an event, such as 'what’s the wifi password?', 'when is judging?'. This gives event coordinators the ability to leverage an Amazon Echo to free up time to attend to more pressing matters. The analytics from the frequently asked questions help them plan and deliver better events in the future.
AirBnB My Butler, Los Angeles
My Butler is an Alexa project that could allow AirBnB hosts to set up an Amazon Echo in their homes to greet guests if they are unavailable. The Echo is able to cover the basic house rules and answer common questions. Guests can find out who’s in charge, host contact information, and more. Check out the video.
RoomScore, Silicon Valley
RoomScore is an Alexa project that could provide an all-in-one application for roommates or families. It covers chore assignments, payment transparency, and a built-in reward system to motivate household memebers to complete daily chores. Each user is awarded their own RoomScore©, a profile page with a specific score which acts a metric for future room-sharing/house-sharing opportunities, and a way to pick the most suitable roommate candidate.
It was truly inspiring to see such groundbreaking ideas and implementation of the Alexa technology emerge from these hackathons, and AngelHack looks forward to seeing these ideas furthered through the HACKcelerator and beyond. Best of luck to all of the HACKcelerator participants. We are sure the Alexa teams will do well on Global Demo Day in the fall. And hopefully all these projects will become published skills in the near future.