Freestyle rapping, Pac-Man win prizes at Hackathon


Senior computer science major Kyle McMaster tests his work with his Oculus virtual reality goggles during Kent Hack Enough on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015.

Stephanie Rosso

The 2015 Kent Hack Enough event began Oct. 9, inviting not only Kent State students, but others from around the country to design, build and party.

Students worked around the clock to design projects such as apps, websites or hardware. Local restaurants Rise and Shine Café and Jimmy John’s catered the event. Social activities, such as water pong, allowed students to interact and take a break to have fun.

Teams gathered Sunday in the Student Center to show off their final products and have a chance to earn a spot in the top five best projects to present at the Kiva, where final judging would determine the overall winner.

The top five teams included Spitbars, Project PAC-MAN, Push 2 Party, Forget the Forgetting and ILoveLamp.

Team Spitbars emerged as this year’s winner, followed by ILoveLamp in second place and Project PAC-MAN in third.

The winning app, Spitbars, was designed to test the winner of a freestyle rap battle. The app uses an algorithm system that analyses language processing, including rhyme density and word length. The data is calculated through a system called Python which determines the winner.

The team was awarded a prize of $2,000, four Dell Tablets and four sets of Kent Hack Enough custom brand playing card sets.

Team member Russell Hawkins is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He said the team got together during the event.

“We weren’t initially on the same team,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he had a different project, but decided to join Spitbars after helping them with their design.

“I feel happy. I feel excited. I just feel pumped up,” he said after winning first prize. “We just kept pushing and pushing towards our idea.”

Project PAC-MAN received third place with their virtual interactive 3D game of Pac-Man. The team won $500.  

Team member Spenser Scalise is a third year student at Oakland Community College in Detroit, Michigan and has attended Kent Hack Enough for the past nine years.

Scalise came up with the virtual reality Pac-Man idea.

“In the past I’ve done projects with games like Pokémon, The Last Airbender and the Zelda game, so I was trying to think of something fun to do for this year,” Scalise said. “I thought, ‘Why not give Pac-Man a go and have him shoot ghosts?’”

Project PAC-MAN team members said they came across some challenges in designing their project.

“For some reason, my computer wouldn’t connect to the school’s Wi-Fi network. Nobody could find out the solution,” said Canton South High School student, Tyler Burker.

Overall, Project PAC-MAN agreed that the weekend at Kent Hack Enough was a fun and successful event, and they plan to come back next year.

Other prizes were awarded by Major League Hacking including Best Fashion Hack, Best Domain Name, Best Use of Pebble, Best Use of AWS, Best Data Visualization and Best Internet of Things.

To learn more about this year’s Kent Hack Enough event, visit and the Kent Hack Enough page on Facebook and Twitter, at @KentHackEnough.

Stephanie Rosso is the libraries reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].