Hackpacking Around Europe: Music Hackday Paris and The Next Web Hack Battle


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Music Hackday ParisThis week, we’re hacking in some of the best cities of the EU – Paris and Amsterdam. Jealous? Well, you should be; and here’s why…

Last Friday, I arrived in the City of Light, to meet my pal and SendGrid Developer Evangelist, Martyn Davies, for Music Hackday Paris. The geekery that has ensued since then has been nothing short of awesome. The best part: we’re not done yet!

First, a little background: Martyn is Central Coordinator of Music Hackday, and one of the visionaries of the event, which provides an environment for “programmers, designers and artists to come together and conceptualize, build and demo the future of music.” The event in Paris this weekend was the 33rd Music Hackday to occur throughout the world, but just the first to be held in Paris.

Within hours of arriving in the city, Martyn and I were hanging with the hackers, at the offices of Deezer, who graciously hosted the event in their brilliant new office. It was clear, from the get-go, that the Parisian developer community had been awaiting this moment of opportunity and were excited to start building.

After API demos on Saturday morning, where 13+ APIs were presented, groups scattered to their respective clusters of Fat Boys, and the hacking commenced. After 24 hours, a few hundred Heineken, and a sizable spread of croissants, baguettes and coffee, we all gathered once again to see the magic that had been conjured and coded into a set of epically artistic apps. Though this was my first Music Hackday, I’ve attended a lot hackathons over the last few years and seen my fair share of hacks. I must say, I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and creativity that poured from the minds and Macbooks within the room. Of course, I would be remiss to not share with the rest of the world, so here goes!

As always, you can check out the full lineup of projects on Hacker League, but I’ll highlight some of our favorites below. Oh yeah, and don’t worry, there was no shortage of Daft Punk ;)

First, we commended two of our faves, by awarding them each with a pair of Rasberry Pi‘s:

  • Camera Lyrics: iPhone app: take a photo; the app recognizes the object, associates to that object a keyword (or words), and plays a track whose lyrics are related to those keywords. Check out the demo video!
  • Professor Xavier: control a music player with your mind! They used the NeuroSky brainwave Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) detection device to play/pause songs and adjust volume, all while saying, “Look Mom, no hands!”

Now, I present to you two videos of the most captivating demos.

Video #1: NAO Robot Music Streamer – jam out with your robot buddy. Tell it what you want to hear, and it makes it happen!

Video #2: Granular Orchestra – audience members connected to the web app, and then acted as a distributed collection of speakers, which played sounds manipulated by said application.

I don’t mean to discount any of the other projects, because they were all deserving of recognition, so I encourage you to check out each of them on Hacker League. I put together this Storify of the event, as a summary of  the live tweeting we did from the event, and you can view even more photos on our Facebook page.

TNWWait a minute…we started this whole story with a mention of Paris and Amsterdam. So, where does Amsterdam come in, you ask? Well, that’s the next stop! Martyn and I are now jumping on a train to the Netherlands, where we’ll join the Dutch startup and developer community for The Next Web Conference and Hack Battle.

This will be our fourth event in a row working with our dear friends at The Next Web – last year we joined them for TNW Europe 2012, TNW LatAm 2012, and Kings of Code 2012. We’re excited to reunite with the hippest peeps in Holland, for yet another great event, and we hope to see you there, too!

Stay tuned for more details on the TNW event – follow along with us on Twitter, and check back here afterward, for more hackathon results. Also, make sure to find us, if we’re ever at the same event – be it this or another. We love meeting new people and catching up with old friends.

Until next time…happy hacking!

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Director, Developer Relations at @SendGrid. Passionate about bringing people together around things they love. I tweet at @TimFalls.

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