Seven coders, four judges, seven weeks and a whole host of cutting-edge technologies begins today with the launch of Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual. We're going to give you a front row seat to truly exciting innovation.
How the Challenge works
The Ultimate Coder Challenge is a seven week contest staged between seven teams of developers with the goal of producing the “ultimate” app. This challenge is called "Going Perceptual", where the developers are tasked to build an app that will:
- Leverage the Ultrabook convertible form factor: A laptop when you need it, tablet when you want.
AND / OR
- Leverage the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 Beta: Allowing for apps that can be controlled by gestures, 3 spacial tracking, and or voice recognition
We get to observe the action as each developer team will post their progress, road blocks, and solutions to the Intel Developer Zone site and Ultimate Coder Challenge portal every Monday, starting February 18th. Four industry thought leaders serve as judges, evaluating the work week to week, and offering suggestions and critical feedback. Should all go according to plan, each team will then submit their final work on April 12th, to be judged.
While there is a set framework to this competition, it’s definitely not a scripted event! This is the real deal. How these developers do the work, what IDEs they use, what teams they assemble are up to them. For most of them this will be brand new technology, and we have no idea what is going to happen.
The Hardware: Each developer team has been provided:
- An Intel powered Lenovo* Yoga* Ultrabook, which has the ability to change its form from a laptop to an tablet.
- Intel Perceptual Computing SDK Beta 2013 for close-range hand and finger tracking, speech recognition, face analysis and 2D/3D object tracking
- Creative * Interactive Gesture Camera Developer Kit with RGB and 3D depth capturing capabilities
Meet the Challengers
Simian Squared: Two brothers, Robert Cummings and Guiseppe Landolina, are behind this UK-based video game development studio. They are the creative minds behind Physynth, a physics-driven musical experience, and The Other Brothers, a soon to be released project with a striking take on retro style. Their project for Ultimate Coder is a unique one: they plan on creating an interactive experience that will give users the chance to use their hands to sculpt digital clay into pottery, using physical gestures to mold, manipulate, and then paint the clay on-screen. Their hopes for this project are to showcase the true power of Perceptual Computing paired with an Ultrabook.
Peter O’Hanlon: Peter’s been a coder for a long time, and it shows in his impressive range of skills ranging over a wide variety of machines and platforms. He’s worked with C/C++, and for the last eleven years has focused primarily on C#, first with Windows Forms and ASP.NET, and then for the last five years on WPF. He’s a regular on Code Project, has released several Open Source projects (such as an MVVM framework for WPF and a couple of Visual Studio add-ins), and started the XAML Experts group on Facebook. His project: a photo editing app called Huda that makes use of the Ultrabook and Perceptual computing to provide a wide variety of inputs and manipulations (think Minority Report and real world applications).
Lee Bamber: Lee was in the first Ultimate Coder Challenge and he’s back for more. He brings more than twenty years of experience in the games industry, starting from the tender age of 9 on the Commodore VIC-20 and going on over the next three decades to create such brands as Dark Basic, The 3D Gamemaker, FPS Creator, and the App Game Kit (with a little help from his friends at The Game Creators). Lee plans to create a new kind of webcam software aiming to solve the problem of bandwidth lag while teleconferencing with multiple users on the Internet. Perceptual coding features include hands-free sharing and manipulation of images, voice and facial synthesis, and the ability to superimpose yourself into a virtual 3D scene.
Code-Monkeys: The Code Monkeys are another repeat challenger from the first Ultimate Coder Challenge. They are a full-service app development company focused on building great apps that solve problems, affect change, and help grow business. Their project is a touch-based game that will utilize Perceptual Computing, touch sensors, the Ultrabook convertible, Sony Tablet Tap 20, Unity, and their own Unity plugins for Stargate Gunship. They plan on writing multi-touch plugins as well as full perceptual plugins for Unity 4 and Windows*8.
Quel Solaar: Eskil Steenberg is the man behind Quel Solaar, an independent development and research studio working on games, creative tools, and technologies. While perhaps most known for the procedural action adventure game "Love", Quel Solaar has also produced a range of creative tool for everything from 3D modeling, to asset management and texturing. The studio has a strong commitment to open source and shares much of the developed libraries and technologies under a Free BSD license. The project under taken during the Ultimate Coder Challenge will be to enhance a simple to use platform library with features such as multitouch, tilt sensors, head-tracking and stereoscopics.
Infrared5/Brass Monkey: Infrared5 is a digital agency that builds cutting edge technology for clients such as LucasFilm, Hasbro, Match.com, and more. They originally started in 2007 working on the open source media server red5, and since then have expanded their expertise to include web, desktop, and mobile experiences. They are perhaps best known for Brass Monkey, a browser-based game system that uses phones as game controllers. For Ultimate Coder, they plan on exploring what becomes possible when combining gamer experiences like those available on the Wii U and Kinect, using the Perceptual Computing SDK as a foundation.
Sixense Studios: Sixense was founded in 2007 by a team of visual stimulation and entertainment industry experts. They develop immersive software content for motion tracking technologies, including electromagnetic trackers (such as the Razer Hydra), depth cameras (such as Intel’s upcoming desktop camera) and hybrid inertial/optical systems (such as Sony’s PlayStation Move). Their first PlayStation 3 title, Portal 2 In Motion, was voted Best Use of PlayStation Move for 2012 by the readers of the official PlayStation blog. For the Ultimate Coder Challenge, Sixense will work on Puppet Theater, a freeform and creative experience that enables users to intuitively interact with virtual puppets using motion input.
Meet the Judges
Steve “Chippy” Paine: Chippy participated as a judge in the first Ultimate Coder Challenge, and apparently liked it so much he’s back again for round two (either that, or he’s a glutton for punishment!). You might already be familiar with Steve since he’s the owner of Ultrabook News, one of the best sites on the Web for finding out everything you ever wanted to know about the world of Ultrabooks. Chippy is also the owner of Carrypad and UMPCPortal mobile computing websites which were started in 2006 just before the 'UMPC' was launched. Between 1985 and 2006 Chippy had a career in the Internet industry with roles ranging from customer service to IP security design. He started computing and coding in 1983, his first internet post was in 1988 and his first blog in 2000.
Chris Maunder: Another repeat judge from our first Ultimate Coder Challenge. Chris is the Australian co-founder, administrator, and chief editor of the Code Project, an active community where developers exchange ideas and keep up with the latest technologies to help with day-to-day programming. Chris has been programming in various languages since 1988 and is a global Microsoft Visual C++ MVP.
Nicole Scott: Nicole Scott has been involved with online video since 2006 where she got her start as a technology journalist focused on mobile start-ups. In 2009, she moved to Taipei to launch Netbook News with Sascha Pallenberg, a fellow Ultimate Coder judge. Following the trends and the evolution of the Netbook together the duo launched Post PC Nation and Mobile Geeks.
Sascha Pallenberg: Sascha is one of the best known German bloggers. He is currently situated in Taiwan and writing for the English blog Mobilegeeks.com and for the German Mobilegeeks.de. The main focus lies on Smartphones, Tablets and Notebooks. During three consecutive years in 2010-2012, Sascha won the Top 20 Smart Mobile Device Pundit Award for the most influential bloggers and journalists in the area of Mobile Computing.
Let the challenge begin!
We’re definitely in for an exciting time as the Ultimate Coder Challenge gets underway! No scripts, no roadmaps, just seven coder teams raring to prove themselves with a lot of exciting technology. Stay on top of everything Ultimate Coder with the following links:
- Twitter: Follow the hashtag “#ultimatecoder” for all the latest news and chat.
- Facebook: Ultimate Coder will be on Facebook starting February 15.
- Website: Our Ultimate Coder website is also launching February 15; we’ll be posting updates from the challengers and judges weekly.