ZiHack is back! The story of the hackathon we’ll want to put on repeat

ZiHack, our beloved hackathon, returned for the 11th edition! Check out the story of this hackathon we'll want to put on repeat.
ZiHack is back! The story of the hackathon we’ll want to put on repeat

After two years of waiting, our 11th ZiHack was back on the 15th of April: 24 hours of coding and fun, suspense and teamwork, innovation and connection. We’re wrapping up here the story of this year’s ZiHack, the hackathon we’ll want to put on repeat until the next edition. 

ZiHack is back, ZiHack is wack!

In 2020, we organized our ZiHack online, but it was hard to feel the true spirit of a hackathon. We couldn’t sense that vibe of sitting at the office all night with the team and making every effort to see the application work. The following year we tried an offline ZiHack, but as the option was out of the question at that time, we postponed it for another year. For the 11th ZiHack, we wanted something special, something to remember!

Before the event, the teams that signed up for the competition had mentors assigned to help them determine what hack they wanted to do, what value their application brings, what features were feasible to build in 24 hours, and so on. So we did everything by the book with the preparations.

We started on Friday morning, around 9, with good coffee, treats, and a cool participation kit. We colored the hackathon with henna tattoos, portraits, and a candy bar with ZiHack-branded sweets, an ice cream dispenser, and a photo booth. In parallel, we held a ping pong championship for all supporters of the 13 teams that signed up for the hackathon.

Over 100 participants, 13 teams, one goal! 

Over 100 colleagues from all over the country decided to bring their passion for tech and code or support their colleagues. There were 5 hacking sessions from Friday at 10 AM to Saturday at 9 AM; almost 24 hours of coding, fun, and team spirit. All this time, people worked and ran from side to side to lend a helping hand to colleagues from other teams. The jury members and mentors walked around, took the pulse of the projects and of the teams, and offered their support. We were also visited by the Red Bull team, who shared drinks in the office, while massage was at our disposal when we wanted to keep our mind focused but the body was telling us something else. For relaxation, we also had a FIFA championship.

In the morning, the teams had to register their projects in Devpost, the well-known platform for building products, practicing skills, learning technologies, winning prizes, and getting yourself known. Saturday, at 9 in the morning, everyone left home, had some rest, and then gathered back at 5 PM.

We continued with the presentations of the projects. In 3 minutes, each team had to deliver a presentation highlighting the value of the application they built. The judging criteria revolved around functionality, utility, technical complexity, usability, viral factor, business drive, fun factor, team spirit, and pitch. Once the winners were announced, they entered “The Treasure Room” where they had one minute to pick the prizes they wanted.

ZiHack winners and categories 

Green Delivery – Zihack Spirit & Business Drive

The team built an autonomous locker with minimal impact on the environment. It works without conventional electricity, while the internal battery that stores solar energy allows the locker to be used even on cloudy days, providing the energy needed.

Smart Office – Technical Complexity 

Inspired by Nanoleaf panels, the team wanted to create their own improved version of an intelligent panel, which helps to monitor and optimize the quality of the environment in any room, be it at home or in the office.

Security Bot – Utility 

The purpose of the app is to bring security closer to colleagues’ daily routines in the easiest and funniest way possible. Security Bot provides a simple interface to interact with vulnerabilities identified on laptops.

JUST MIMIC – Fun Factor 

The app tells you how well you can imitate some famous people. The user listens to an audio file and then records his/her own replica. JUST MIMIC compares the 2 files and gives you a score. The fun is guaranteed!

Round Earth Society – Fake News 

The project approached one of the most stringent problems of our society: fake news. Round Earth Society aims to detect fake news and save everyone from a life of misinformation. Their Chrome extension is capable of evaluating the page you’re on, regardless of language, and gives a score based on which you can tell whether the article is true, fake, or at least questionable.

Your Virtual Buddy – Public Vote & Virality

The main goal of Your Virtual Buddy is to unite the entire experience of onboarding in a single application. The app includes the human component of onboarding by adding an extension, a BUDDY🐇, to bring colleagues from all over the country to the same place, at Zitec. The project was so viral it got over 15,000 views on TikTok in 24 hours!

Where there’s no party, there’s no winning 

We celebrated the success and team spirit with a party, cocktail bar, and cake close to midnight to give us the energy to continue the party.

If you missed the fun or wanna try it out next year, it’s simple. Stay tuned for the next hackathon or join our team for even more fun and special events! 


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Ana Păstrăvanu