Undergraduates win second place at LAHacks

Courtesy of Jason Teplitz

Courtesy of Jason Teplitz

Last weekend at the inaugural LAHacks hackathon, a team of Stanford undergraduates — Jason Teplitz ‘17, Jay Moon ‘17, Dennis Jeong ‘17, Mike Precup ‘17 and Russell Kaplan ‘17 —  won second place for their hack, called Wormhole.

The team won $1,000 for their hack, as well as a drone that was provided by one of the technology sponsors of LAHacks.

“The idea [behind Wormhole] is to basically allow you to use any computer as your own,” Teplitz said. “So you could go log in to your account and see what you’ve been working on and what computer you were working on — so any Word document you were working on or any Google Chrome tabs you had opened, you can access them.”

According to Teplitz, the original idea was conceived at an earlier event. Teplitz had envisioned a “disconnect from hardware,” where users would no longer need to be attached to a physical computer or laptop in order to access their work.

Moon framed the team’s success during the 36-hour hack as partially a reflection of skills the team members had already learnt.

“We worked on things that we were good at,” Moon said. “At [a previous hackathon], we worked on a 3D tower defense game, which was challenge because we have never used Oculus or Kinect and have never made a 3D game before. At LAHacks, we were all doing what we do best.”

Team members noted the value, however, of expanding their skill sets through the hackathon.

“One interesting thing at hackathons is the balance between how much you’re learning new stuff versus how much you’re doing what you’re good at and excelling at that,” Kaplan said. “Some people will explore a completely new technology but you can also go into a hackathon and do stuff that you’re good at to be productive.”

About Catherine Zaw

Catherine Zaw is the Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. She is a junior from Miami, FL, double majoring in biology and linguistics. To contact her, please email czaw13@stanford.edu.
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