Computer Visionaries 2014 – Incredible success!

Computer Visionaries 2014 was a Kinect for Windows hack-a-thon sponsored by Microsoft and the Kinect for Windows team that took place on July 18th and 19th in Dallas, TX.

First of all, it was my pleasure to work with Skip Howard, and the other volunteers from the Computer Vision – Dallas group, to bring the Kinect team to Computer Visionaries 2014 in Dallas! I hope all involved had a great time and a big shout out to The DEC for hosting us in their newly opened facility in the Dallas West End.

How it all started

When we contacted Ben Lower to come down to speak at the Computer Vision – Dallas user group in July, we had no idea that it would blow up into a full blown hack-a-thon! We talked to Ben and he said, “Let’s do something big – it is Dallas after all, where everything is BIG”. So, we went from a simple speaker request to a full blown hack-a-thon on just a few weeks.

From there, we planned the event, marketed the event and drove ticket sales up to 128 the day of the event in just 7 weeks! This speaks volumes about the level of trust, commitment and enthusiasm Microsoft has from the developers in Dallas/Ft. Worth and surrounding areas and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that community.

The Event

We had 114/128 registered attendees show up to hack on the Kinect sensor. That is an 89% show rate, which is nearly unheard of for any kind of developer event. This number doesn’t account for the numerous visitors we had come through to see the projects in addition to our guest judges. This to me, shows that the developers, entrepreneurs, makers, and overall tech enthusiasts in the DFW area recognize the potential that Kinect has to change the way we interact with our computers in a day-to-day basis and are truly enthused to be a part of that future.

The event attracted an impressive mixture of attendees – we had programmers, artists, designers, web traffic specialists, local entrepreneurs, composers, DJs, hobbyists, makers, gamers, attorneys, college students, high school students, middle school students, professors, teachers, and a CEO or two snuck in to see what was happening.

At the end, 15 teams presented their projects on Saturday night in front of the judging panel. The projects ranged from scanning your body measurements, detecting head nods for paraplegics on into video games and educational apps. The ideas, innovation and level of execution on these projects was nothing short of amazing and mind-blowing. I could tell by how long it took the judges to come out with the results, that their job was indeed difficult in choosing the winners.

The WINNERS!

In the end, the event was a contest, so we had to have clear winners.

1st Place

Team: Dallas Society of Play

Project: Super Dueling Golem Dudes

Members: Daniel Fairley, Jim Welch

Prize: $500 in cash and a Kinect V2 sensor each

Vine: https://vine.co/v/MQL3lP1MxwX

2nd Place

Team: Kinectergarten

Project: Kinectergarten

Members: Phil Denoncourt, Anthony, Erik Leaseburg, Jason Eads, Kamila, Chris Ford

Prize: $250 cash and a Kinect V2 sensor

3rd Place

Team: Burger ITS

Project: Put Me in Space

Members: Shawn Weisfeld, Theresa Burger, Robert Burger, Harold Pulcher, Corey Drew, Alisson Drew, Taylor Wooley, James Porter

Prize: $100 cash and a Kinect V2 sensor

The Judges

A big heartfelt thanks for our guest judges who volunteered their time to participate in the event and help us choose our winners!

From left to right – Dan Ferguson, Gabriela Draney and Caleb Jenkins. Each of which received a shiny new Kinect V2 sensor for helping us out!

Thank you!

Also, a big thanks to everyone who made this event happen – Skip Howard, Ben Lower and the Kinect for Windows team, Dr. Neil Roodyn, Joshua Blake, Jenifer Conley, Nathalie Goh-Livorness, the judges and all of the volunteers who helped check people in and keep the venue clean.

I really hope everyone had a great time at the event and if you have any feedback, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or by e-mail.

Cheers!

Jason Fox

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