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This weekend’s SIU HackSI event promises to be biggest ever

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Gather a bunch of technology and computer enthusiasts. Put them together in a room and give them a challenge and a time limit and see what innovative things they can create.

That’s the principle behind a “hackathon” as the HackSI hackathon returns to Southern Illinois University Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2-3, courtesy of the university and the not-for-profit organization HackSI.

 

Everyone welcome

HackSI will take place at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive, in Carbondale. Nearly  200 people already have signed up to compete. Registration is still open. Visit hacksi.org to sign up.

People are welcome to attend the final segment of the event as well.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend HackSI, set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2-3, at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale.

Members of the media find engaging opportunities for stories, photographs and video at any time during the event as people discuss and work on their prototypes. Final project presentations will begin about 6 p.m. on Sunday. Contact Lynn Andersen Lindberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 618/453-6754 for more information, to set up a visit, and to verify the time of the final presentations. The finals timeline may be adjusted, depending upon the number of presenters.


Hundreds of creative minds involved

People of all ages participate in the event, either individually or in teams. Some contestants are computer programmers or are involved with graphic or interface design, software development or other related fields. But a large segment of the entry list is made up of people who are interested in computers, programming, innovation and creativity.

Dav Glass, event organizer and Verizon lead architect for infrastructure as a service, noted that he moved back to the region after working in California for a few years and quickly checked out the local tech community but found “nothing jumped out at me.”

“Since I had participated very heavily in “hackathons” while working out in Silicon Valley, I decided that I would try to put one on here, Glass said. The Office of Innovation and Economic Development at SIU had seen an uptick in technology-based local business opportunities, so in 2013 I teamed up with them to put on the very first HackSI.”

The first year was a 12-hour event and Glass anticipated perhaps 30 people would attend. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find more than double that in attendance.

“We’ve grown ever since,” he said. “This year’s event will be our seventh and we are on track to have 250 people attending.”

What happens?

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long participants have. The contest runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day and during that time, contestants, working individually or in teams, will test their innovative spirit, creativity and ability to conceptualize ideas as they create a plan, make a functional prototype and present it for judging. They must also give  a short “elevator speech” to explain the project and its value.

“HackSI is an event where people of all ages and ability levels come together to create using technology. Tools like Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s, 3d printers, drones, virtual reality systems, and laser cutters are made available to everyone,” Ken Stoner, small business specialist, said. 

Ingenuity is showcased

Stoner has been an event volunteer since the inception of HackSI and praises the ingenuity he sees there every year, as well as the helpfulness of the volunteers.

“Whether it’s children coming up with a way to get midnight snacks without waking everyone in the house, teenagers figuring out how to turn on a light with nothing but concentration, or adults creating a device that will hold an umbrella so that a person in a wheelchair can have his/her hands free, the passion and drive these individuals show is inspiring,” Stoner said. “It’s a fun environment of learning and creativity, where you can build whatever comes to mind. The idea is to come together with a group of like-minded individuals and build the next big thing.”

Game Jam added to HackSI

A Game Jam is making its inaugural appearance at HackSI 2019, courtesy of SIUeSports. Just bring your computer and your friends and put your minds together to create a new video game in 24 hours.

If you don’t have a group, that’s fine. Just show up and gamers will be grouped at the event. There’s no cost to participate in the Game Jam or in HackSI.

Final presentations open to all

The HackSI contestants will make their final presentations at about 6 p.m. on Nov.3.

The public is welcome to attend the presentations. The winners will be announced at the conclusion of the presentations.

More event info

Sponsors of HackSI include:

  • SIU Carbondale.
  • Mayer Networks.
  • Black Diamond Harley-Davidson.
  • Carbondale Tourism.
  • Krispy Kreme.
  • Ultimate Gaming Championships.
  • Rend Lake College.
  • uBreakiFix.
  • Black Diamond RV. 
  • The Print Shop.

For more information, visit the HackSI website at www.hacksi.org or contact Lynn Andersen Lindberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 618/453-6754.

SIU promotes innovation and entrepreneurship

HackSI is one of the many ways SIU’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development connects with people throughout the region and assists entrepreneurs and innovators. The office and its various units offers a variety of services and programs for SIU students, faculty, staff and community members.

To learn more about the office and the numerous ways it provides assistance, visit www.econdev.siu.edu, call 618/536-4451 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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