College Dorm Rooms Get Hacked (in a Good Way) by Amazon Alexa
Imagine it’s 7 am. You are in your dorm room. Your alarm is going crazy and class is in an hour. When it’s this early in the morning, you have the brain of a zombie and the motor skills of a baby. #Thestruggleisreal. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have someone help you get your day started?
Unfortunately, most college students don’t have assistants or nannies to get them out of bed and organize their lives so Amazon is using Alexa to take on the challenge. For those of you who haven’t met Amazon Alexa, she is a smart virtual assistant trapped inside black cylindrical objects known as Echos and Dots. Think of her as Siri but way more capable and sassy.
So this whole college dorm room hacking business came to life when Amazon partnered with MindSumo (hey that’s us!) to ask our community of 250,000 students to create some useful skills for our favorite gal Alexa to perform. Check out the full challenge here: Amazon – Hack the Dorm | MindSumo
Not only did the students have to brainstorm brilliant ideas for an Alexa skill but they also had to program it using the Alexa Skills Kit. Whoa.
The judges over at the big A finally got a chance to review the submissions, and now we have the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Amazon Alexa Hack the Dorm Room challenge! Drum roll please…
Dorm Event created by Nitin Surana from the University of Southern California. Dorm Events is a skill that can inform students about events going on around campus through a Facebook integration.
CourseTracker created by Sai Pathuri from the University of Texas at Dallas. CourseTracker is a skill meant to be an easy-to-use assignment tracker for students to use while at school.
Obie Food, created by Jen Crainic from Oberlin College. Obie Food is a skill meant to provide students with an easy way to learn what is on their cafeteria’s menu for the day.
Congrats to the winners! If you love any of the skills, you can actually download them onto your personal Amazon Echo or Dot. Between having your events, assignments, and food taken care of by Alexa, college students everywhere now have no excuses to be late or starve. Parents rejoice!
Okay so what did the winners receive for all their hard work? First place took home $1K + an Amazon Echo. Silver was rewarded $300 + an Amazon Tap. Third place walked away with $300 + an Amazon Echo Dot. Everyone else that participated was also hooked up with a hoodie. Not too shabby.
We are so pumped by all the exciting ideas that were submitted on this hackathon and continue to be impressed every day by the students in our community. If you haven’t done so already, come visit our MindSumo Challenges page to see what other interesting things college students are working on. Submit your own brilliant ideas, get some experience, and earn prizes!