On November 30 and December 1, 2018, the Google Developer Student Club Ashesi hosted the Hack-APIs hackathon at Ashesi University, Ghana. That event, which was sponsored by Cloudinary, comprised 15 teams, whose members were undergraduates from Ashesi and other universities in Ghana. The goal was to create an environment in which the competing teams, regardless of skill, could huddle for 24 hours, during which they would brainstorm for ideas and build apps with real-world APIs. The prizes were GH₵ 1,000, GH₵ 600, and GH₵ 400 in cash for the first-, second-, and third-place winners, respectively.
A Cloudinary representative [myself] was present at the hackathon to mentor the teams and to show them how to use our APIs in development and how to submit their completed projects. After the demo, the teams broke away to start their discussions before coding in earnest.
The winners were —
First Place: “Dzifa: A Task-Oriented Dialog System for Editing Pictures”
By leveraging Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cloudinary APIs, this team built a chatbot that accepts pictures and textual commands like “convert image to grayscale,” processes the commands, and then returns the edited pictures to the user. The app understands the user’s intent, manipulating images as instructed with Cloudinary’s image-transformation API.
Second Place: ”MyTutor: An Online Classroom That Offers On-Demand Tutoring to High-School Seniors”
The second-place winner built an online classroom in which high-school seniors receive purpose-driven and affordable tutoring on demand. The goal was to teach students the portion of the syllabus on which they are behind or which they don’t understand during regular school attendance. Another feature enables those students’ parents to monitor their children’s progress and scores. This app uploads, serves, and manipulates images and videos across the platform with Cloudinary’s API.
Third Place: “Phronesis: An Online Campus Marketplace”
The third-place winner built an app with which university students can locate businesses that operate within their school campus. The purpose was to raise awareness for those businesses and to make it easy for people to find certain products and services. Like MyTutor, this app uploads, serves, and manipulates images across the platform with Cloudinary’s API.
Also notable are two other team projects:
“Childsafe: A Chrome Extension That Enables Safe Browsing for Children”
Besides storing images with Cloudinary API, Childsafe, an Android app, filters out adult content in browsers by means of the Amazon Rekognition AI Moderation Add-On. This app features a browser extension that scrapes images as children browse the Internet, sending those images to a Laravel API. That API then stores them on Cloudinary and cross-checks them with Rekognition AI Moderation, ensuring that the images contain no nude or sexually explicit content. In the event that Rekognition detects undesirable images, the Laravel API notifies a trusted guardian or accountability partner, who can then looks into when the images were viewed and where they originated with Childsafe.
“Transcriber: An App for Taking Notes and Transcribing Videos”
Transcriber translates recorded speech to text with NLP and then saves the text as a Word document to the Cloudinary Media Library.
At the end of the hackathon, we mentors from Cloudinary encouraged the students to keep the fire of their enthusiasm burning. Our hope is that the event acted as a catalyst for them to continue developing robust, intuitive, and useful apps that serve the world at large.💥
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