“Accelerate smart cities” Individual thoughts and social issues overlap and connect
——Online hackathon “HackTrek 2021” report

Online hackathon “HackTrek 2021” was held

"Epson DX" has inherited Epson's DNA of "efficient, compact, and precision technologies" and has digitally connected the cyber world and the real world through products and services.
Now that the world has been divided by the influence of COVID-19, we thought that we could create a new opportunity to deepen the connection of each person, so on the last weekend of February, the complete online hackathon "Hack Trek" 2021 ”was held.

The theme this time is "accelerate smart cities." The only limitation in the hackathon is to use the "Epson Connect API", which gives participants a high degree of freedom, so the participants' ideas and skills will be tested for two days.
What kind of members participated and what was the winning team? It's time to open!

What is the Epson Connect API?
An API that provides a function to control and execute printing processing via the Internet for printers and scanners connected to a cloud service called "Epson Connect".
You can also have a printer located away from the user print your files.

14 teams, 53 people in total, fascinated by the realization of smart cities

The number of participants in this hackathon is 14 teams and a total of 53 people. From teens to 50s, members of all ages who are eager to take on the challenge of realizing the idea of "accelerating smart cities" gathered.

A printer that supports the Epson Connect API lent to each participant. This is the cornerstone of the hackathon.
A printer that supports the Epson Connect API lent to each participant. This is the cornerstone of the hackathon.

This event was held online by connecting the whole country. The operation was carried out with full back up from G's ACADEMY, whose mission is to "support those who act to change the world on their own."

Venue: G's ACADEMY TOKYO BASE
Venue: G's ACADEMY TOKYO BASE

The atmosphere from the Tokyo base was filled with enthusiasm that did not make you feel online. The enthusiasm and tension can be seen from the facial expressions of the participants reflected through the zoom screen.

Participants over zoom. Everyone is nervous about making products that are about to begin.
Participants over zoom. Everyone is nervous about making products that are about to begin.

Input time to learn about Epson Connect API and deepen ideas ——Hackathon Day 1

After the greetings and explanation of the screening criteria were over, it was finally time for the input time of the "Epson Connect API". It's an important time to get to know the API that is the core of the product. The first person to explain was Junkichi Yoshida, Executive Officer, Deputy General Administrative Manager of DX Division and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Printing Solutions Operations Division. He expressed his expectations for Epson's commitment to open innovation and this hackathon.

Yoshida talked about his thoughts on this hackathon from the Hirooka office in Nagano Prefecture
Yoshida talked about his thoughts on this hackathon from the Hirooka office in Nagano Prefecture

Next, Yoshihiro Nakami, General Manager of DX Strategic Planning Department of DX division, introduced Epson's focus areas on smart cities. Nakami sends a yell to the participants from "Smart City AiCT", which was opened in a location overlooking Tsuruga Castle (Wakamatsu Castle), the symbol of Aizu, where we Epson have positioned as a base for open innovation.

Nakami from Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture. The advantage of online hackathons is that you can participate from anywhere in the country.
Nakami from Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture. The advantage of online hackathons is that you can participate from anywhere in the country.

The mentors who participated in this hackathon were Masahiko Mizuta, Manager of the P 1st Planning and Design Department, Printing Solutions Operations Division, and Haruki Inoue of the same department. They carefully explained the characteristics and precautions of the "Epson Connect API" to the participants while actually sharing the screen.

Two mentors. They answer the participants' questions seriously.
Two mentors. They answer the participants' questions seriously.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

When the input time is over, it's finally time to hack.
Participants who are looking forward to a new hackathon, such as a team trying to develop in a VR space by taking advantage of the characteristics of online, and a team composed of members from different places of residence. Looking into the situation, we feel the deep trust and connection of each team that can overcome the situation divided by the coronavirus crisis.

G's ACADEMY Tokyo graduate team working on development
G's ACADEMY Tokyo graduate team working on development
G's ACADEMY in Fukuoka. Checking the connection with the printer is also an important point.
G's ACADEMY in Fukuoka. Checking the connection with the printer is also an important point.
In fact, the Epson employee team that participated is seriously working on development
In fact, the Epson employee team that participated is seriously working on development

And at 16:45 on the second day, the hack time is over! After about 27 hours of development, the participants felt relieved for a short while, and then went to the presentation & demonstration time for the judging.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

This examination was conducted from the perspective of "theme points" that question the degree of matching with the theme and "realization points" that lead to demonstration experiments at Aizuwakamatsu for social implementation.
The key to winning the championship is whether or not the product can spur the theme of this time, "accelerate the smart city," At the presentation time, each team seriously discussed the realization of smart cities.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2
Moderator G's ACADEMY Kano watching the passionate presentation
Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2
Omori of Japan Research Institute and other judges listen to the presentation seriously.
Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2
Yoshida watches over the participants through the screen

At the next demonstration time, the judges moved to each team's room using the zoom breakout rooms. The judges are very impressed and delighted to see each demonstration.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2
Checking the actual printed matter from the product developed in the VR space!

And here is the team that won a prize after a heated judging time!

[G's ACADEMY Award]
Extra prize: Tech judge G's Academy mentor Mogi's mentoring for commercialization

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

・ Development service name: Neos VR print
They have developed four products that enable printing from the space of Neos VR. (1) Print documents from the VR space (2) Print the photo sticker booth shot in the VR space (3) Print the board writing in the VR space (4) Print the paper craft that can be assembled 360 °on the paper printed from the VR space. It is a service that connects virtual and real.

[Japan Research Institute Award]
Extra prize: Judge Omori's mentoring for actual service.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

・ Development service name: Clipping paper
It is a system that extracts various information on the Web under certain conditions, summarizes it, lays it out on paper, and prints it. By printing and posting them, it aims to stimulate communication among the people who gathered there.
For example, it can clip and print slack sentences that are difficult to understand due to the large amount of interaction, so it can post them in-house and create an opportunity for chat between members.

[Epson Award]
Extra prize: QUO card for 30,000 yen.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

・ Development service name: New communication tool unique to printers (service name undecided)
It is a service that prints the content of the talk and delivers a message to elderly people (grandparents, etc.) who live far away. In cooperation with LINE BOT, when you send texts and photos, they will reach the printer and be printed in a picture book-like layout. In addition, AI has the ability to extract appropriate sentences from group interactions as well as individual messages and print them out on a regular basis, saving the effort of summarizing the stories of multiple people.

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

・ Development service name: Emergency information receiving service Emason
This service automatically receives and prints information on nearby evacuation shelters and tips on actions to be taken in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake. Being able to check on paper the information needed in the event of a disaster that requires urgent action or response is useful for matching awareness with those around you. Paper media is also convenient to carry around when you go out. By outputting from printers at convenience stores and government agencies, tourists and temporary visitors can also obtain appropriate information and prevent confusion in the entire city.

【Second place】
Extra prize: 50,000 yen

Hack time to change your thoughts into shape, and to announce the results——Hackathon Day2

・ Development service name: Everyone's circulation board
It is a new circulation board made in the area. If local topics and news are posted by residents as if they were on SNS, topics and news will be delivered to your home printer and printed. If you give the printed matter to the whole family about emergency information in the event of a disaster, each person can keep the same information at hand. In the future, we aim to ensure that administrative information reaches the printers of each household and is automatically printed so that there is no information gap among residents.

"We spent more than half of our high school life in the coronavirus crisis."

This time, the people who won the championship were the "I want to be great". Judge Yoshida says, "I was impressed by the product that realizes the earnest feeling that there is no time after school," which is unique to high school students who are directly influenced by COVID-19.

This winning product is derived from the worries that each team member always has in their hearts. Individual thoughts and social issues overlap and connect—it was a victory suitable for the hackathon of “Epson DX,” which continues to create connections with customers around the world through products and services.

[Winner]
Extra prize: 100,000 yen

"We spent more than half of our high school life in the coronavirus crisis."

・ Development service name: A bridge for learning after school Catenary
This is a service that allows teachers and students to communicate after school. "We spent more than half of our high school life in the coronavirus crisis, and it will continue," said the participant, who faced his own problem-solving. "Time to teach study with friends" "Time to go to the teachers’ room and chat with them" "Time to have the teacher teach the problem" "Disappeared after school time" is reconstructed online. By combining the online meeting function and the chat function, they have created a space where you can easily ask questions to the teacher.

Takamune, who is full of smiles when he hears the victory
Takamune, who is full of smiles when he hears the victory

This hackathon was attended by many people regardless of occupation or age. It was the first time that the hackathon was held online, but in the questionnaire after the end (How was the hackathon's fulfillment this time?), We were able to receive an evaluation of 4.46 satisfaction (out of 5).

ハッカソンの全体充実度について:About the overall fulfillment of the hackathon 充実度高い:High degree of fulfillment 充実度低い:Low fulfillment
ハッカソンの全体充実度について:About the overall fulfillment of the hackathon
充実度高い:High degree of fulfillment
充実度低い:Low fulfillment
オンラインでのハッカソンについて:About online hackathons 良い:Good 悪:Not good
オンラインでのハッカソンについて:About online hackathons
良い:Good
悪:Not good

<Introduction of some answers to the questionnaire>

"It was hard to plan and code all night, and it was fun to do it with my friends. It was a very good experience. Thank you. The ideas of other teams were all amazing and they were very inspiring.” (Male, 20s)

"It's been a fulfilling time online. I'm happy because it was easy to participate from a distance." (Female, 40s)

"I felt the advantage of online because I was able to exchange valuable opinions with people far away who I can't usually get involved with." (Male, 20s)

The winning teams, including the winners and second place, have already begun to move toward actual service. We will keep you updated on future developments, so please look forward to it!

The last screenshot of the hackathon. Thank you for your wonderful ideas and thoughts!
The last screenshot of the hackathon. Thank you for your wonderful ideas and thoughts!