Hangout With Ultimate Coders: Week 2 Highlights

This week, a few of the developers involved in Ultimate Coder: Going Perceptual jumped on a Google+ Hangout to discuss how the contest was going, their challenges, and what they were really excited about. We had a good group of folks, including Chris Allen (Brass Monkey/Infrared5), Giuseppe Landolina (Simian Squared), Lee Bamber (The Game Creators), Chris Skaggs (Code-Monkeys) and Steff Kelsey (Infrared5).  You can watch the whole thing here:

What is Ultimate Coder?

The Ultimate Coder: Going Perceptual challenge is basically a seven week hackathon. Seven coder teams compete using the Perceptual Computing SDK and a convertible Ultrabook™ to produce the ultimate in cutting edge apps. They blog about their progress from week to week, and get constructive criticism along the way from our four judges. In the end, there can be only one. You can follow along with this exciting competition at the official Ultimate Coder page, on Facebook, or via the Twitter hashtag #ultimatecoder.

Initial Challenges

When asked what challenges they’ve already run into, the challengers answered unanimously that time management was a major factor. We have a good mix of larger teams and individuals in this competition, and all of them want to put in a lot more hours into this project simply because it’s so dang fun. It’s a matter of juggling commitments, and the work seems to be moving forward so smoothly (and fast!) that’s it’s somewhat difficult to tear yourself away once you really get going.

Interestingly enough, this challenge is extremely accelerated. All teams are jumping into their projects with both feet, but we’re also seeing a lot of backchannel collaboration with coders actively helping each other out. All the projects are audacious, and we’re only going to see more acceleration as we keep moving forward.

Surprises

None of our challengers have had any significant obstacles happen as yet in this challenge (knock on wood). For instance, the depth camera was a bit of an unknown, but now that coders have had a chance to work with it, they are impressed with how well it functions to grab the necessary data. In addition to the SDK, the hardware has been judged to be “really cool”, a blank canvas on which to put their unique twist.

Looking Forward

We’re only in week 2 of the challenge, and we’re already seeing demos, prototypes, and frameworks – not too shabby. Everyone is taking on some pretty amazing challenges, pushing boundaries that haven’t been pushed before. Will they fail or succeed? Or will this just push the entire development ecosystem into a new direction?

Judges are definitely watching as coders bring their “A” game to the competition and as apps start to take shape, we’ll be able to see if they function in real life, with real users, and real software/hardware. Thanks to all that participated in the Hangout! 

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