Emakina Hackathon unites talent for Chatbot challenge

Second EmHackination boosts developer and communication expertise

Thursday, December 15, 2016 — From the 21st to the 23rd October 2016, Emakina hosted its second Hackathon, baptised 'EmHackination'.

Five teams with in total 26 young talents went for all night creative and development action, to finish working prototypes of their Chatbot experiences. A team of coaches assisted them with strategic, marketing, technical and presentation support.

The jury, captained by Emakina Group CEO and CV Brice Le Blévennec, complimented the young people for their creative work and their unyielding energy.

Chatbots, the new User Interface

Chatbots are conversational agents, that is computer programs designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, 'Human language is the new user interface.' The types of chatbot uses are varied, they can accumulate Information (contact data, news, weather reports, ...) engage visitors, answer to queries, help to upsell products and services and control payment and delivery.

The challenges are multiple, there are new API's to build, and user experiences and user interfaces to create, and bot personalities to design, in various platforms and environments.

The competition united budding developers, UX / copywriters and conceptors to create chatbot applications, using their experience in .Net, NodeJS, language skills to change their 'killer idea' into a real and working prototypes, using open API.

Candidates could find inspiration in the MS Bot Directory, the Bot Directory, and the Facebook Messenger Bots Directory.

Five excellent teams

Using Python for the backend development and Luis for language recognition, the Enigmoo team won gold. Their tool helps you to create your own quest game or quizz, using only Facebook Messenger.

Silver went to the ‘Watch your eating’ Skype-based chatbot, tracking what you eat and offering healthy diet recommendations. Also food related was bronze winner ‘Linguini Assistant Cook’, who suggest illustrated recipes based on the ingredients you have in your fridge.

The two other chatbot projects also were interesting… a personal stylist suggesting clothes to match your look, and a virtual personal trainer giving you tips and exercises, based on your Body Mass Index!

The jury, lead by Emakina Group CEO Brice Le Blévennec, united the top expertise of Stefan Langerman, Research Director of the F.R.S.-FNRS  at the ULB Université Libre de Bruxelles - Algorithms Research Group, Gianluca Bontempi, Head of Machine Learning Group of ULB and Erik Kerkhofs, Director DX at Microsoft.