SXSW 2012 Google Lego Hackathon

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This past Sunday at SXSW Google and Lego sponsored a Hackathon at the Google Developers House. The object of the hackathon was to build a Lego Mindstorm robot to navigate an obstacle course. The course was built during the hackathon so the contestants had to design toward a moving target.

The available parts were limited to the a single Mindstorm 2.0 kit and a small assortment of axles and wheels. Lego also made some decorative pieces available during the last couple hours so people could beautify their robots. Prizes were awarded for speed, style, and technical innovation.

I couldn’t resist the challenge, and didn’t have many plans for Sunday so I rounded up a few of the GeekMoms and formed a team. We worked on the robot throughout the day and Ruth Suehle and I stuck around for the driving competition. GeekMom Marziah stopped by for a while to help skin the MINDroid app with our logos and to fine tune the sensitivity to make controlling the robot a little easier. Also helping out through the day were GeekMoms Andrea and Nicole.

The competition started and 7pm and went very well for us, right up until the end. We set the fast time through the course at 37 seconds on our 3rd pass. In the end we lost to a team from Great Britain. There was a consolation race for 2nd place which we won by the skin of our teeth.

Be sure to check out the video after the jump. The entire event was streamed live on YouTube with over 1 million viewers at one point. I’m glad that I didn’t hear that number until near the end of the event.

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