Y-Hack is Yale’s hackathon that I went to with my buds Jazmine, Michael, and Robert to work on a project that we called WorkIt!.


It’s watching you.

The main Idea was to have a pair of wrist bands that could collect motion data and use it to track fitness. It is similar to Fitbit, but more powerful in the sense that it has a much higher motion data resolution than Fitbit, so much more fine motions can be detected.


I spent most of the time soldering the pair of wristbands, which took ~12 hours because of some seriously fine ribbon cable soldering, and writing the firmware. While I was doing that, my teammates were writing up an android app, which uses Wolfram Alpha’s Mathematica API to do various exercise calculations, such as calories burned per minute of sustained exercise and whatnot.

Let me tell you, I have a deep hatred for the android developer everything now because of y-hack. We spent so much time just trying to get that thing working, and in the end we only had a fraction of the features that we really wanted.

Michael trying sooo hard to android, and Jazmine mesmerized by Mathematica

Michael trying sooo hard to android, and Jazmine mesmerized by Mathematica

Robert spent like 3 hours analyzing the motion data of a punch, and hit his laptop a couple of times. At one point, on of his frat bro’s invited him to a get together of some sort via text, and he just replied, “cant go, at yale punching air”, which we all thought was pretty funny.


It also gave me a chance to test out my mobile work station, which worked fantastically.

After 24 hours, so much doge, and one pretty badly burned index finger, we felt relatively accomplished. We finished the application, which was able to count punches, for a boxing application, and was close to detecting some jumping jacks, but not quite there. At the judging phase of the competition, we got a lot of compliments on the idea, as well as the hardware. Most people couldn’t believe we made them both in 24 hours. It makes up for not winning anything, but now I have the hackathon bug. I’m going to hacktech Jan 24.

I’m going to do a post on the full details of the WorkIt! project, w/ schematics and code and everything. Because of the whole motion sensing aspect, we are going to move the project away from fitness and towards a game controller type deal. Robert has an Oculus Rift, so hopefully there will be something in the works there.


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