This past weekend, nearly 40 participants from UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab, and the Bay Area gathered for Brave New Hacks, the 4th annual BERC Cleanweb Hackathon. The event was a huge success, and 7 teams made pitches at the end of the 24-hour event in front of a panel of judges, including Kate Knox of Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Jackie Weidman of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute, and Sam Saxena of LBNL.
The event kicked off with ideation and networking sessions that allowed participants to express their ideas to the group, meet each other and find teammates, as well as explore the feasibility of their idea. The teams then hacked Friday night and all day Saturday before giving a final 5-minute pitch on their idea to the judges. The submissions were judged on potential impact, technical achievement, originality, and next steps. The final pitch session was live-streamed on Facebook, and can be viewed again here.
To tie in with the general election, the focus of the hackathon was broadened from energy and resources to also include legal and political projects. The set of resulting ideas was fantastically diverse and the judges were faced with a very difficult decision to pick the winners. The teams participating (and their associated taglines) were:
- Electrip: Plan road trips with electric cars
- Project Pinnacles: Help companies find the best academic/lab researchers to support their R&D activities
- Visualising Gun Violence: VR visualization of a day’s worth of gun violence
- Keystone Mapping: A map of previous incidents of the pipeline and nearby water sources
- Mt. Rushmore: A twitter bot that tweets climate change facts at climate change skeptics
- Potato Solar: Help installers & customers reduce solar costs & find each other by using big data to predict financeability and probability of buying
- Drought in California/Oasis: A visualization website that raises awareness of the drought issue in CA and a chatbot that incites a call for action
In the end, Potato Solar won the prize for best Software project, Visualizing Gun Violence won the price for best Visualisation project, and Drought in California won the “Bravest Hack” (people’s choice) award. Read more about each submission at the Devpost page.