#IoT: Meet 13 Startups Formed at Ireland's First Hardware Hackathon
by Rado Durina, 12th October 2014
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"We have seen it too many times: You have a great startup idea, but you just don't have the right skills, the right team and the right support to bring your idea to life. #HACKDUBLIN - Ireland's first Hardware Hackathon proved the notion false."

If you are unfamiliar with Dublin's Hardware Hackathon Weekend, the format was similar to the Startup Weekend: 54-hour event where participants pitch ideas and assemble into teams to build working prototype. Then, on the last day, the teams present their projects to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. 

The main themes of the Hackathon focused on the emerging 'Internet of Things' (IoT), connected devices and user experience design.

Dublin's first Hardware Hackathon attracted more than 100 entrepreneurs, software developers, product designers and hardware enthusiasts from across Ireland gathered in DCU Innovation Campus to work on their exciting ideas over the entire weekend. 

Watch them in action!:



  "An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied." - ARNOLD GLASGOW -

Things kicked off with a series of one-minute pitches, during which tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs presented their brilliant ideas.  Each idea was trying to solve a real-world problem or trying to enhance existing consumer experience.

Participants pitched their product ideas to the crowd in an effort to attract attendees to vote on their idea and to join their teams. Our favourite idea was a smart package delivery box that allows delivery companies to securely deliver a package when nobody is at home.

Hey, but we don’t want to be biased :-) In the below video you can watch all the 'Internet of Things' ideas pitched during the Hackathon and pick your favourites!:



  "If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs." - TONY GASKIN -

A total of 13 teams of innovators and makers were formed in DCU Innovation Campus on Friday night. The teams were busy developing working prototypes for their newly connected hardware products. At the same time they worked on their business plans and prepared their pitch for the final presentations on Sunday.

The makers were equipped with the latest technology, such as CNC machines, 3D printers, Intel Galileo computers, Raspberry Pi kits and other prototyping equipment every maker could wish for.

Our short video clip brings the highlights from the Dublin’s Hardware Hackathon and puts the teams of tech enthusiasts and 'IoT' makers in the spotlight so that you can see them in action:



  "The beauty about this Hackathon is that it lets you explore your skills/abilities at the very best." - SHELMET Team -

The participants received a valuable assistance and support from their mentors. Most of these mentors were the CEOs of major technology organisations. Such an initiative is worth its weight in gold. 

To give you a better idea of Dublin’s Hardware Hackathon we conducted video interviews with participating teams who chatted to us about their startup ideas and what inspired them.

They told us how their pitched ideas evolved and changed over the Hardware Hackathon Weekend before they converted them into MVPs by Sunday evening. They also gave us their first-hand experience with the Hackathon and what they got out of the weekend.

If you plan to attend the next Hardware Hackathon or are just curious, we encourage you to watch these exclusive video interviews to make up your mind quick before tickets are gone the next time the Hardware Hackathon takes place in Ireland!:



  "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - ALBERT EINSTEIN -

Each team was thoroughly prepared for their final pitch by a presentation specialist and pitch performance coach who flew to Dublin all the way from Berlin.

This resulted in 13 impressive pitches delivered to a panel of judges and an audience of around 300 people on Sunday evening. The pitches were judged by the ability of the teams to tell and sell the story behind their ideas which proved to be equally important as their working prototype.

In case you couldn’t come along to the Ireland’s first Hardware Hackathon, we have put together a video gallery of all 13 team final pitches. We hope you will also get inspired by these young and talented techpreneurs!

Pitch #1 - PHARMALYTICS (Connected Inventory for Pharmacies) -  FIRST WINNER  

Pitch #2 - HOMEBOX (Home Deliveries Made Easy) -  SECOND WINNER  

Pitch #3 - ECO PULSE (Connected Water Monitoring Device ) -  THIRD WINNER  

Pitch #4 - VIZ (Intelligent Visor System)

Pitch #5 - BLIIINK (Smart Bicycle Light for Safey & Way Finding)

Pitch #6 - TEMPER TAP (Office Climate Optimisation Tool)

Pitch #7 - SHELMET (Sensor Safety Helmet)

Pitch #8 - DRIBBLE (Plug and Play Water Management)

Pitch #9 - BITVEND (Cashless Payment Machine)

Pitch #10 - CYCLE SAVER (Radar Collision Prevention)

Pitch #11 - ORBIT (Tracking Device for Valuables)

Pitch #12 - RED SKY LABS (Livestock Management Wearables)

Pitch #13- DASH (Smart Sensors for Fire Safety)

.... you can watch all the final pitches presented by 13 teams during the Hardware Hackathon Sunday evening in this video playlist: 



  "20 years ago I had to do 6 years of study to get the computer to say Hello World. That's the world we grew up in. Now, my 14-year old son loads his app to a world-wide market on an App store. So, the energy barriers in software have dropped between the idea, the product and the market. What's happening now is the equivalent in the physical world. It is incredible when you can connect everything to the Internet - not just every screen. And the energy barrier between your idea and the product or service can now be done in a Hackathon over the weekend. All you need is smart people with good ideas."  - PHILIP MOYNAGH @ INTEL -   

The Hackathon concluded with a panel discussion exploring how startups, multinationals and other stakeholders can make Ireland a leading hub for “IoT” innovation and they also gave away some great tips for startups on bringing hardware products to market.

The panel was chaired by Paddy Cosgrave (CEO at Web Summit) and featured key industry leaders: Liam Casey – CEO at PCH International, Philip Moynagh –VP Internet of Things Group at Intel Corporation, Will Prendergast  - Partner at Frontline Ventures and Ben Harris - CEO at Drop.

If you are involved in the tech startup community, you will find this talk on on the 'Internet of Things' insightful and inspirational:



All in all, Dublin’s first Hardware Hackathon was a fantastic and well executed startup community event and a valuable addition to the tech startup scene which we haven’t seen in Ireland before.

Thanks to PCH International, DCU Innovation Campus, Intel Ireland, The Summit, AIB, Tyndall National Institute, Cisco, DesignPartners and many other sponsors for making this event happen and we can’t wait to see the next Hardware Hackathon Weekend bringing even more tech and IoT ideas to life!

For those of you interested in taking part in the upcoming Dublin's Hardware Hackathon Weekend, check out the official website HwHackathon.com or follow @HwHackathon on Twitter or follow their hashtag #HackDublin.

Hope to see you there next time !

Author: Rado Durina

If we left out anything in the article, please leave a comment with your thoughts, tips or experience from the event.

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