Projects

A Winning Hackathon Project: the Lunch Button

At Bluecore, we aim to have a hackathon every quarter. This is a designated time for engineers to take two days to work on new projects, expand existing app functionality, or explore new technologies. This past July, we really branched out and had a hardware hackathon!

At first, it felt challenging to think of a project that 1) used hardware 2) was useful 3) could be completed in two days. A problem we realized we could solve is a problem that exists at many start ups: how do we know when lunch is here? At Bluecore, we have a catered lunch every day. Once it arrives, someone who sits near the lunch area has to Slack the rest of the company that lunch is ready. Working with my wonderful teammate Bahar, we realized we could make this one step simpler.

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The idea was to create a Lunch Button that would automatically post “Lunch is here!” to a #lunch Slack channel.

Bahar took over most of the physical work. She was more familiar with hardware and read through a few tutorials on Slack buttons. She had an easy time putting together the physical button and testing it along the way.

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I set up our Raspberry Pi by downloading Raspbian, ensuring our WiFi dongle was able to connect to our office internet network, and creating a Slack App that would post to our Slack #lunch channel once hit with an incoming webhook.

Putting our efforts together: we had a Lunch Button!

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And, our Lunch Button project ended up winning the hackathon! We were able to fill a company-wide need. (It probably also helps that in the demo, we had an alternate version of the button that would send a PagerDuty alert to our manager…)

Jessica LaughlinComment