Students Converge on Detroit for Record-Breaking Weekend Hackathon

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that adapt the quickest will survive,” he said. “Every single industry will become a software industry. We’re going to be doing amazing things because we’re rebuilding the world through the lens of software.”

So what did these young Software People build over the course of MHacks III? A crowd favorite during the Sunday afternoon demo was a semi-automatic nerf gun that was able to track its target and accurately shoot every soul brave enough to stand before it. Another team of hackers won second place by creating a Quidditch video game by rigging a broomstick. Coming in third were two scruffy looking young men, one wearing an “I (Heart) Fat Blunts” t-shirt, who created a suitcase that harnessed the motion of its rolling wheels to charge cell phones and other devices.

But the winning team, made up partially of high school students, created Workflow, an iPad app that allows users to dictate and save tasks. For instance, one action might consist of “take a picture, edit the picture, and share the picture.” Users can name and save the task, creating an icon that can be moved to the iPad’s homescreen so the action can be repeated in the future with one click. The winning team looked a bit overwhelmed, but promised to keep iterating on their app.

Between presentations by the seven final teams, sponsoring companies announced prizes for their favorite hacker teams. Representatives from ADP got up on stage and said they had just opened a new office in Detroit and would soon be hiring, and they told the kids in the room to go to the company website for details.

I spotted a young man with a nametag that identified him as an MIT student immediately call the ADP homepage up on his tablet. If he hadn’t participated in the weekend’s hackathon, I wondered, what are the chances he would have given a tech career in Detroit a second thought?

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