BBC 6 Music Festival Hack Day!

Posted on Posted in Engineering, Music, Soundwave News

By Hugh Rawlinson

Soundwave were recently invited to attend the BBC Festival Hack Day in Newcastle on the weekend of the 21st of February. This hack day was organised to coincide with the BBC 6 Music Festival and I went along on behalf of Soundwave to get involved!

The festival hack was held in The Core; a shared space between Newcastle University and Newcastle Science. The day kicked off on the Friday morning with numerous API Presentations from  companies such as Twilio, 7digital and the BBC. Hackers were mingling and caffinating in preparation for the long day ahead. By lunch time, hackers were deep into their code (as well as a healthy selection of sandwiches and fruit platters!)

The tech talent on the day was very impressive! One team had even managed to stream MP3 encoded audio in PHP after just a few hours. This is a technical feat I can only aspire to but a task I do not envy. Other amazing hacks that really caught my eye were:

FestivalBot –  Using Twilio, this app was a handy festival assistant!

HeartBeat – This Android app played music to match the users heart beat.

Hot Hot Tweet – This app created a realtime visualisation of the trending artists at a music festival.

What’s on 6? –  An Android Wear app which displayed the artist/song name of what’s currently playing on BBC Radio 6 Music.

And there were so many more brilliant apps!

I have attended many hack days over the years! At least 50 as a hacker and a handful as an organiser but this was my first on behalf of a Soundwave! I also had the task of choosing a winner for a Soundwave prize and despite all my experience of these events, being a judge was definitely the hardest thing I’ve done at a hackathon!

I awarded Alistair MacDonald the Soundwave prize for his clever app called AirVU. This is an Arduino project that displayed audio features on a light wand. This enabled long-exposure photography to visualise the audio feature over time. It used the Meyda audio feature extraction library for the web audio API. I must say. it was an incredible feat to build such a product at a hack day! Well done, Alistair!

BBC Hack

In the end, Orange Bus were the overall winner of the BBC 6 Music Festival Hack with their app nativating music app; ‘Follow the Music’!

Great job done by everyone involved! What an amazing way to spend 24hrs!

Looking forward to next year!

Hugh Rawlinson

PS. Check out all the hacks made at the BBC Festival Hack Day here!


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