Hackpoly gears up for its fourth year at Cal Poly Pomona this February, calling for hackers of all skill levels to congregate for a challenge in technological innovation.

The 24-hour hackathon, hosted by Poly Founders, will be held at the Bronco Student Center Feb. 11-12.

Much of the competition’s hacking activities will take place in Ursa Major and Minor, but participants are allowed to code anywhere in the BSC.

Additionally, any person over the age of 18 is allowed to participate, meaning the event is not exclusive to CPP students. Students from more than 20 other colleges in the nation have applied to Hackpoly this year, according to President of Poly Founders and Hackpoly organizer Rushi Shah, a fourth-year business management student.

“[Hackpoly is] experiencing and exposing, really getting out there and building a product that really means something to them,” said Shah. “It’s about ‘Learn by Doing.'”

Participants at Hackpoly will compete by either teaming up with other hackers or embarking alone to create the most innovative hack, typically software or hardware.

Creating a hack, as explained on Hackpoly’s Facebook page, is “creating something that doesn’t exist yet, something that will improve the lives of the individuals that use it.”

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive electronic prizes that include Amazon Echos, virtual reality sets and Google Chromecast.

Some hacks that won last year include an automated machine that could separate recyclables from trash and a vehicle that, when detecting disturbances, could snap a photo and upload it to Twitter to alert its owner, according to Hackpoly 2016’s webpage.

Along with a competitive environment, Hackpoly will provide mentors to give advice to students on their innovations.

These mentors are individuals sent by companies among the 20 sponsorships of the hackathon that include IBM, one of the world’s largest information technology companies.

Hackpoly will also provide workshops, such as introductory workshops to 3D development or Android or iOS development, since participants are not required to have prior coding knowledge.

Tech Talks will be available as well; sponsors will give presentations that explore and discuss aspects of tech culture, like the digital economy or approaches to innovating technology.

At the conclusion of the event, participants will present their innovations to a panel of judges who will inspect their projects and select the top 10. The creators of these top 10 will then pitch their projects to judges, who will select three winners based on technicality, design and applicability factors.

According to Shah, about 1,200 to 1,300 applications have been submitted by the Jan. 31 deadline.

From those applications, about 500 will be selected to participate. The selection process involves assessing applications for applicants’ prior experience with hackathons or their interests.

Hackpoly applicants have increased from a few hundred in 2014 to approximately 1,200 to 1,300 this year. (Courtesy of College of Business Administration)

The number of applications has grown exponentially throughout the years of hosting Hackpoly, the first being in 2014 which had received a few hundred applications and hosted about 100 participants.

Initially held at the College of Business Administration, Hackpoly migrated to the BSC starting last year to accommodate the booming number of participants.

CPP organizations like SWIFT, IEEE, the Computer Science Society, the Game Design and Development Club and others also help out at the massive event.

“We really want them to sit down for 24 hours [and] just make something”something cool,” said Shah.

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