SMACK: Summer MITRE hACKathon

October 2017
MITRE Interns
Intern lying on the floor working on laptop

This summer, 41 interns from across MITRE participated in the Summer MITRE hACKathon (SMACK), an overnight coding challenge. Interns worked in groups to develop ideas and solve problems using their software, hardware, and design skills. At the end of 18 hours, the judges awarded prizes based on technical difficulty, innovation, ambition, and maturity of the proof of concept.

The first-place team created a mobile app that used gyroscope/accelerometer data to detect when a device is stolen. The project combined machine learning and Android app development to detect anomalous walking patterns. Team member Anusha Datar said, "Our goal was to develop a model that would learn a user's normal patterns and report deviations to both the phone itself and to a web portal."

The second-place team created an Internet of Things (IoT) dashboard called the "Emergency Geographic Information System" to assist smart cities with emergency services. This team used a set of Raspberry Pis (simple computers) to represent a suite of sensors, such as earthquake and forest fire detectors. Information from these sensors was gathered and parsed, then pushed to an IOS application to alert operators and emergency responders. 

The third-place team created an Android app that used smartphone sensors to recognize dangerous situations. When extreme behavior occurred—such as a fall or a crash—the app asked the user if they were in danger. If the user didn't respond, an automatic text alerted the emergency contact for the phone's owner.

By the end of the hackathon, the participants were tired but pleased with their accomplishments. MITRE intern Katie Bradford summed it up well. "It was my first hackathon, and definitely a fun experience! I never thought I could work for that many hours in a row but we created a really cool project and I learned how to develop apps. That's something I'm interested in continuing."

—by Gabby Raymond

(Video) MITRE summer interns take on an overnight coding challenge.

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