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Real World Hack weekend winners

IMG_5883Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios welcomed developers and designers from across the UK when it hosted a hack weekend as part of the Bath Digital Festival. The inspirational setting and broad spread of participants made for a unique event. The challenge was for participants to create an app using either or both of two APIs created by companies who have Peter Gabriel as an investor: The Filter (a recommendation engine for music, movies and TV shows) and Gabble (a visual language). And things were spiced up a little with cash prizes for the best teams.

Eleven teams took part across the weekend and we were delighted with what was achieved by such a broad range of participants. But as with all competitions, there has to be winners. The team of judges included Neil Andrassy from The Filter and Tree, Jamie Middleton, Katrina James and myself from Gabble. And, here are the four winners as well as a special mention to a fifth team:

Overall winner (prize: £500) – Frabble


The Frabble team mashed up The Filter API with the Gabble API and delivered a Facebook game that was a whisker from being ready to launch. The game takes a random film from The Filter API, feeds it through Gabble to offer the player a series of pictures that they need to decipher to guess the name of the movie. If the player wants, they can reveal some hints (also from The Filter API) like the name of the director, year of release and genre… The Frabble team have asked for their prize to be donated to Child’s Play.

Special Commendation for Creativity & Imagination (prize: £500) – Gabbetar


Jack Hopkins demonstrated the most ambition and imagination for Gabbetar, a tree of connected images that was created from mashing up several APIs including Gabble and The Filter. Jack fed tweets & Facebook status updates through Gabble to display a tree of connected images based on what was important to the user in the moment. Incredible imagination and all the more impressive as Jack was abandoned by his two other team mates half way through Saturday!

Special Commendation for Effort (prize: £500) – Idiom Hangman


The Hangman team achieved as much in just one day as most of the other teams did in the whole weekend. Their app took English idioms, displayed them as pictures (via Gabble) and once the user guessed them correctly, they were given the translation into Mandarin. The app had a fully working scoring mechanism and a hangman graphic that develops as the user makes incorrect guesses. The judges were not only impressed with the effort that went into this app but also delighted with the educational angle.

Special Commendation for Viability (prize: £500) – Gabblr

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Gabblr is a collaborative turn-based social game. Players provide one another hints (using Gabble) to work out the phrase or word. The Gabble team were especially taken by the simple yet potentially addictive nature of the game and felt that this project was probably the one that could be most turned into a viable game – all the more impressive because this team was made up of three 1st year CompSci undergraduates from The University of Bath!

Special mention to “Beyond Words”

In stark contrast to all the coding and mashing up of APIs, there was one team that decided to take a very different approach and hack the Gabble idea rather than the code. This team, made up of Robert Thomas (Interactive Music Composer at rjdj), Kelly Snook (Imogen Heap’s Studio Manager) and Katerina Janouskova (photographer) presented a personal communication and artistic expression concept using multi-media to make incredibly strong and deeply personal pieces of digital art. Though no code was cut, this team gave Gabblers the most food for thought and for that we are very grateful.

IMG_5889Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all who took part. The feedback we received from the teams was that the setting and the vibe for the whole weekend was truly unique. Typical quote: “It was a great weekend – so good to have time to think about solving other people’s problems in such a wonderful environment”. More photos of the weekend can be viewed on Facebook.

About David Maher Roberts

Founder & Partner of Digital DNA; Founder of BathSPARK/The SPARKies; Non-Exec Director at Claritize & The Filter; Advisor to Visual DNA and GoTag; Mentor to Bath University Student Enterprise teams. Previously, David was CEO of personalisation engine, The Filter and Board & Digital Director at media company Future PLC where he founded the award-winning content agency Future Plus.


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