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Winter WonderHack At Michigan Tech This Weekend

By Mark Wilcox, News Writer
Michigan Technological University

Students from throughout the Midwest will be at Michigan Technological University beginning Friday, (Feb. 24) for Winter WonderHack. Organizers describe the event as a 36-hour “make-something” marathon, where participants use their knowledge and creativity to make something new.

The event is organized by a number of individuals and organizations at Michigan Tech, including the Robotics Systems Enterprise, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Alley, Smash Club and Film Board.

Nathaniel Shapiro, one of the event organizers, says the goal of the weekend is to stimulate thinking and creativity and to appeal to a wide-range audience. “Winter WonderHack is a hackathon in the old MIT sense of the word,” Shapiro says. “Create something new from something old or from scratch.”

“While focused around technology, it’s designed to be open to people from many disciplines and all levels of experience. The theme here is innovation and creativity” he says.

While organizers are expecting the majority of participants to be current college students, in teams of one to four, MLH rules allow those who have graduated within the last 12 months to compete too. Shapiro says high school students may also participate with permission.

“We will be accepting registrants up to the start of the event until we are full,” Shapiro states, noting that students can register at winterwonderhack.org.

The event check-in begins at 9 p.m. Friday at the north entrance of the Rozsa Center. Opening ceremonies are at 9:30 p.m. with hacking set to begin at 10 p.m. and go straight through to Sunday morning.

There are events throughout the night and into the day Saturday. A project expo is set for Sunday morning with closing ceremonies at 10:30 a.m.

Most activities will take place in the Rozsa Center and  the Walker Fine Arts and Humanities Center with additional spaces in the IEEE lab and the Alley makerspace.

Sponsors include Meridian, Ford, Mortech, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Wireless Communications Enterprise, Handshake, Motorola and Jackson Life.

“This is an industry-sponsored event and we’ll have workshops, talks and demos Friday and Saturday on topics that participants could use in their projects or may just find interesting by mentors, sponsors, faculty and community guests. That interaction is part of what makes this format work so well, Shapiro says.

He says additional activities include drone racing (first person view), a smash tournament, metal casting, workshops and talks on electronics, startups and other topics. Mentors will work with students as fellow makers to help complete their projects. “It’s going to be epic” Shapiro says.

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