Various Hackathons

Greylock Hackfest
In under 24 hours, my team built Mouse, an application that turns any smartphone into a wireless mouse by leveraging the power of the phone’s built-in accelerometer.

Kelly testing an early prototype of Mouse

The desktop mouse is a product that hasn’t undergone any significant design changes for a few decades. Many people still prefer the physical mouse over the trackpad for ergonomic and practical reasons (ie. designer, engineers, gamers). We considered a lot of directions including using the back camera and flash to read xy movements. We arrived at our final direction because we wanted to preserve the simplicity of the form and interaction.

Technical challenges
The biggest challenge was separating the signal from the noise in the accelerometer data—even normal mouse movements produced chaotic results.

We needed to translate phone movements in 3D space to standard 2D mouse movements

XYZ plots of accelerometer data

After several iterations we were able to generate an algorithm that corrected for these factors: establishing a minimum threshold for movement (to create a zero state), taking a moving average (to detect when the mouse was in motion), and accounting for inertia.

Windows 8 Hackathon
Microsoft organized a hackathon in the Bay Area for designers and developers to build Metro style applications. I learned a lot about developing Metro style user interface principles and working with native tablet controls. My team won the hackathon with Sonata, a native music artist search and recommendation application.

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