Shaping Ideas, Pursuing Collaborations
28 Nov 2018

The inaugural HackerFest was held on 24 to 25 November 2018 to seek out new ideas and innovative solutions.

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HackerFest was organised as part of DSTA’s efforts to be plugged into the technology start-up clusters to pursue open innovation and partnerships with the local start-up community, enterprises, academia and students. Co-organised with NUS Enterprise, the hackathon took place at Block 71 JTC Launchpad over an exciting weekend of intense hacking and pitching.

It consisted of three specific challenges: to tap image analytics to reduce the efforts to analyse and extract insights from video footage; to develop a game-based solution for training simulators that builds proficiency in individual skills before combined crew training; and to leverage immersive technologies to achieve remote multi-party collaboration and coordination for a zero footprint operations centre. A total of 17 submissions were received, with each comprising a proposed exploration plan, deliverables and potential benefits of the solution.

Prior to HackerFest, training workshops, data clinics and a site visit to the Armour Simulation Centre were organised to gear up the participants. The series of events offered deeper insights into the challenge statements, and served as opportunities for the organisers to engage potential participants and equip them with the related technical knowledge.

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Besides the training workshops conducted with AWS, Nvidia, Bohemia Interactive, Microsoft, NCS and SUTD, the pre-Hackerfest events also included a visit to the Armour Simulator Centre at Sungei Gedong Camp.

Clinic sessions took place on the first day of the hackathon. Mentors from DSTA shared their technical knowledge during the consultation sessions while those from NUS coached the teams on pitching techniques.

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On Pitch Day, 10 teams were shortlisted to present their. Besides the technical assessment, teams were evaluated based on originality and innovation, quality of prototype as well as feasibility and adaptability.

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From left to right: Team Odin’s Eye, MAGES Studio

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From left to right: FXM Team 1, RevOPSlution

Open category winners walked away with collaboration opportunities with DSTA and NUS Enterprise, access to mentorship and industry network and cash benefits. Meanwhile, student winners were awarded internship opportunities with DSTA and cash benefits.

Team Odin’s Eye, which won the challenge on image analytics, designed an end-to-end solution for image and video captioning. It involved the extraction of key frames, multiple object detection and natural language processing to generate descriptions of scenes.

MAGES Studio’s winning game-based solution for training simulators was a cost-effective one, using both mobile virtual reality for dismounted soldier training and marker-less augmented reality for a virtual sand table.

For the challenge on zero footprint operations centre, FXM Team 1 proposed the adoption of novel mixed reality technologies to reduce large physical footprint as well as set-up effort and time for future operations centre.

On the other hand, the student category winner from Nanyang Polytechnic, RevOPSlution, proposed the application of virtual reality technologies with live objects annotation to support command and control operations between operations centre and ground forces.

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