The HangBoulder Hackathon Recap

From Idea to Prototype: The HangBoulder Hackathon Recap

TLDR: Ghost Founder's team successfully executed a hackathon for pro-climber app, HangBoulder. During the event, they created a complex hardware and software system that enabled climbers to step on a mat to trigger a timer on their phone via Bluetooth. The team also designed a clickable online prototype, a pitch deck, and an elevator pitch. Despite facing technical issues, the team managed to show a live demo to the client and shipped the physical prototype the next day. The client was happy with the end result and is collecting feedback from other climbers in the community.

On a crisp spring morning, the team at Ghost Founder gathered to participate in their second hackathon event. The challenge? Bringing the HangBoulder app to life.

To prepare, the team had already decided on the design and layout of the electronics and ordered the parts ahead of time. They were ready to hit the ground running.

The day began with a Zoom call with their client Holden, who gave the team his approval of the style guide for the app. With the green light given, designer Emily quickly got to work creating the sitemap and wireframes for the key screens of the app, all done by hand on paper.

Emily then collaborated with developer Mudit to turn those wireframes into a clickable online prototype of the HangBoulder app, using the tool Canva. Meanwhile, founder Lovis worked on the pitch deck for the overall product using the Sequoia Capital slide format.

The engineering team was not idle either: Our resident physicist Clayton assembled the dev board with the switch-mat and programmed the Arduino, while Mudit and founder JP created the app prototype on the Android phone.

With the electronics and app software complete, Clayton and Mudit worked together to get the hardware and smartphone to talk to each other via Bluetooth. This proved more challenging than previously thought, but finally, JP figured out how to fix a critical issue with the UI of the Android phone going blank. (Link: Bluetooth blog post) But just ten minutes before the final presentation, disaster struck. The dev board burnt out, just when it had been working well moments before!

The team sprang into action, troubleshooting the board while Lovis was already walking Holden through the slide deck. Miraculously, they were able to fix the issue with the dev board and presented a live demo to Holden.

The next day, the team tied up some loose ends and shipped the physical prototype to Holden, including the Android phone with the app on it. Holden was ecstatic with the end result and is now working on collecting feedback from other climbers in his community.

The Ghost Founder team walked away from the hackathon feeling accomplished, knowing they had taken an idea and turned it into a tangible prototype in just one day. They had proven their ability to work together seamlessly, creating something truly innovative and exciting in the process.