Team 'FrontDoor' fronts up at Android Hackathon

17 May 2016 - 09:11:19 in Achievement

We asked third year Bachelor of Engineering Honours student Divya Patel to tell us about the recent Android Hackathon held for VUW students. Divya, a Software Engineering major, was excited to share her experiences of being part of ‘FrontDoor’, the team that won second place at the final prizegiving...

What was the Android Hackathon?

The Google-sponsored Android Hackathon was a ‘hackfest’ for students where we had 48 hours to develop an Android app using a programme called Android Studio. We also had the chance to make connections with each other and with industry mentors.

How did you get involved?

Word of mouth! I found out about the hackathon through a friend, and I had always wanted to learn how to make an app, so I signed up. I enjoyed working with my team members David Barnett, Daniel Braithwaite and Jack Bannister Sutton.

What was your team name and why?

We called ourselves ‘FrontDoor’. The name came up as a joke when we were discussing ideas with our mentor. It suited what we were trying to achieve, which was to connect to networks directly without knowing the passwords.

What happened across the weekend?

We presented our ideas for apps and then formed teams by choosing the projects we were most keen to develop. Next, each team decided on a plan of attack and split the tasks among team members. My job was to work on the front-end of our app, creating the front page and implementing the display.

Tell me about your app.

The app we created is a network hacker. It scans for wireless networks in the area, and for each network found, attempts to connect to it by trying the passwords on the ‘100 most common passwords’ list.

What is the purpose of the app?

It’s basically an academic research tool to gather interesting information. The app wirelessly monitors and probes network connections. It helps to point out how vulnerable some passwords are, and also identify gaps in security that individuals and organisations need to be aware of. The information gathered could also be used to educate the public on how to pick strong passwords.

What were some of the other apps that grabbed your attention?

There was one to control robots which was pretty cool, and another to make Metlink travel information like timetables and updates more accessible. Considering I often travel by bus, having that information available offline would be very handy.

Was there a grand prize?

The winning team ‘WeLoveKids’ made an app to teach children maths through fun, interactive games. Each of their team members won a Google Developer License to pursue the project. The licence allows them to publish their app publicly to the Google Play Store.

What was the whole experience like for you?

It was a great opportunity to learn how to do something I’d never done before. It was so rewarding to make our idea a reality over the course of just one weekend.

Would you attend another hackathon like this in the future?

Yes, definitely! It’s a lot of fun and you learn so much in such a short period of time.

What advice would you give to other students interested in getting involved?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any experience with the technology because it’s supposed to be a learning experience. Everyone is in the same boat so it’s ok to ask the mentors for help. Just go for it!