Washington University Freshman develops winning route-mapping tool
Student hackers in St. Louis descended upon the T-REX innovation center on April 18-19 for the first annual Mil-OSS Student Hackathon. As a sponsor of the event, several OGS VIPER engineers and developers were on hand, as well as DoD executives, academic thought leaders and various technical mentors from some of the Midwest’s fastest-growing startups.
T-REX is a world-class venue designed to give entrepreneurs with great ideas a place to see those ideas come to fruition. It offers affordable office space for startups and is currently home to several developers, designers, mentors and educators.
After setting up our booth and exploring T-REX (and the St. Louis food scene!) we settled in for the kickoff of the hackathon.
The students (some as young as 13!) were tasked with a challenge problem to write a web application that allows a tank commander to plan a mission, with the expectation of using Google Maps API and open source tools. And with that, the students broke up into teams to begin development, utilizing some of T-REX’s unique features for brainstorming (team collaboration space, isolation rooms for quiet work, and walls painted floor to ceiling with whiteboard paint).
After nearly two full days of development, the students presented their applications to the judges on Sunday afternoon where Will Papper, a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, was crowned the winner. He developed ThreatSpot, an online route-mapping tool for spotting threats to tanks in military operations. ThreatSpot is an integrated intelligence platform for route planning and navigation and aggregates data from intelligence sources to properly direct tank movements. The judges commended Papper for his use of open source tools and his integration with existing Blue Force trackers. Will also uniquely demonstrated how resource constraints for users under fire are different than normal users, and planned for that in his design.
Congratulations Will! Looking forward to the next student hackathon in October!