(photo credit: Courtesy)
A marathon took place last week in Beersheba, but probably not the kind you’re imagining. This marathon involved computer programmers, software developers, graphic designers and other hi-techies who had gathered to come up with new ideas for wearable technology products. The marathon lasted 28 hours and incorporated new innovative technologies such as Android Wear, Google Glass and Cardboard.
The WearSheva! Hackathon was held at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and was organized by the Google Developers Group Beersheba (GDG). GDG was founded two and a half years ago by Yossi Elkrief and Leonid Olevsky, who still manage it today alongside Bengis Center.
The competition, which was open to the public, attracted 210 developers and designers who were split up into 17 groups and instructed to come up with a new, innovative wearable technology product. Hackathon participants had direct and remote access to 3-D printers, as well as to Google technologies, so they could make progress within an extremely short amount of time. In addition, technology experts from around the country were on site to act as mentors for the teams.
Google Developers Group (GDG) Beersheba GDG Beersheba is part of a wider project organized by Google around the world. In fact, 550 groups in 103 different countries are currently participating in this project.
Local technology meetings are held as part of this voluntary project in which participants discuss issues related to Google technologies in an effort to improve accessibility, increase knowledge and enhance the communities’ capabilities.
GDG’s vision is to create a first-class hi-tech community in the Negev. Most hi-tech activity has traditionally taken place in central Israel, and the group is proud to announce that many companies are beginning to open operations in southern Israel.
Hackathon winners When the hackathon was over, each team presented a five-minute pitch about its final product to the judges, and then the winners were presented with awards.
First prize went to the SlideWear team (Ran Cohen, Idan Nakav, Ken Saggy and Lidan Hifi), which came up with a cross-platform solution to manage classes with video presentations for lecturers and students. Their final product, which includes the Android Wear interface, enables students and lecturers to interact and offer each other feedback (both anonymously and openly) in real time during or after lessons.
Second prize went to the BlueVent team (Eran Belcher, Elinor Busidan, Aviran Berg, Elad Magal, Dor Halperin and Liad Hamiel), which developed a wearable wireless product to be used at events where cellphone reception is problematic or overloaded. The BlueVent solution enables users to always know where their friends are at a party and be able to communicate with them.
Third prize went to the BabelFish team (Udi Levy and Shai Atias), which used a Raspberry Pi board to develop a realtime simultaneous translation service with Bluetooth technology that interacts with cloud computing in real time to translate what’s being said into a number of different languages.
Fourth prize went to the BuzzFit team (Masha Sodel, Doron Vainrub, Gina Novek and Eliahu Mashadi), which developed a personal fitness system based on Android Wear and sensor systems that are currently used in watches.
BuzzFit can be used anywhere and also measures the number of exercises you do.
Google’s new operating system, Lollipop 5.0 Is it worth upgrading to Google’s new Android operating system? Unlike Apple iPhones, each Android model receives updates at different times. As a result, the percentage of people who actually download the update is not so large.
Google’s new version offers a brand-new design that’s reminiscent of Google’s online designs: It’s like a deck of cards, only more colorful.
Here’s a list of the pros and cons of the new Lollipop 5.0 version: Pros: • New, more colorful and lively design • Improved notification mechanism • Multiuser and guest data protection • Improved camera performance • Quick access to flashlight for speed settings • System works faster • Convenient and colorful SMS software.
Cons: • Photo gallery disappeared; turns out it was transferred to Google’s Image Service • Excessive number of options in alert mechanism frustrates users • There is no continuity in transfer of data between devices. In Apple, on the other hand, if you’ve begun writing an email on your iPhone and there’s a Mac nearby, you can just finish writing the email on the computer • Few users take advantage of Google Wallet • Shutdown requires three steps (it used to be two) • Failed to have longer battery life as promised (Google has announced that this will be rectified ASAP).
So, is it worth downloading Lollipop 5.0? I recommend finding someone else who has the same phone as you do and watching how it handles all the bugs before downloading it on your own phone.
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Translated by Hannah Hochner.