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11 Hackathons to Attend in 2019

January 8, 2019

Hackathons are a unique opportunity to get curious, passionate people in a room to ideate around big problems, build new inventions, and sometimes just create something fun. Fostering collaboration among participants with diverse skillsets — both technical and non-technical — hackathons bring together the perspectives of engineers, makers, artists, coders, policymakers, writers, entrepreneurs, and more to do everything from innovating climate change mitigation tactics to creating AR/VR experiences to addressing racial and gender bias.

We've rounded up a list of hackathons taking place in and around Boston over the next few months, and invite you to contribute your unique perspective to solving some of the fascinating and important problems they present. If do you check any of them out, be sure to let us know what you create!

Reality Virtually Hackathon is a five-day experience that brings together interdisciplinary stakeholders to explore applications and innovation in virtual and augmented reality. During the hackathon, participants will form teams to brainstorm and build VR/AR experiences, and the event will culminate with an Expo to showcase participants' work to the VR/AR and tech communities. Developers, designers, engineers, artists, coders, experts, sound designers, storytellers, students, creatives, and imaginative AR/VR enthusiasts are encouraged to apply.

When: Thursday, January 17 — Sunday, January 21
Where: MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Cost: Free (application required)


LEGO Batmobile/Robotics Build and Hackathon is an epic day of building, driving, and hacking LEGO Power Up Batmobiles with LEGO WEDO2.0 robotics kits. Designed for kids in third through eighth grades, the hackathon will give participants the chance to control Batmobiles before hacking them with sensors to make them navigate autonomously.

When: Monday, January 21, 9:00 AM — 3:00 PM
Where: Champman Farm School, 74 Accord Park Drive, Norwell, MA 02061
Cost: $95 (designed for 3rd-8th graders)


Global Game Jam 2019 at MIT is a 48-hour hackathon focused on all aspects game development: programming, iterative design, narrative exploration, and artistic expression. Aiming to create a global buzz in gaming, the Global Game Jam encourages attendees of all backgrounds to participate.

When: Friday, January 25, 4:00 PM — Sunday, January 27, 5:00 PM
Where: Kirsch Auditorium, Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02142
Cost: $0-$22


Sustainathon 2019 @ UMass is a 24-hour sustainability-focused creative marathon that brings together teams of professionals, students, and young people to brainstorm solutions to global climate and sustainability challenges and those facing the UMass campus. Including workshops, coaching sessions, and project creation, the rapid ideation format spurs innovation, teamwork, and skill building. Software development experience is not required, and people from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds are welcome. A fun bonus: Sustainathon is "a launchpad for bringing ideas into the real world," so a few projects will be funded at the end!


When: Friday, February 1, 7:00 PM — Saturday, February 2, 7:00 PM
Where: University of Massachusetts Integrative Learning Center, 650 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003
Cost: FREE


HackBeanpot is an independently-run interdisciplinary hackathon geared toward "curious students, hackers, makers, and beginners" — sounds good to us. Past projects have spanned the full gamut of industries and topics, from a crowdsourced music playlist to a scripting language made entirely of emojis.

When: Friday, February 8 — Sunday, February 10
Where: Catalant Technologies, 25 Thomson Place, Boston, MA 02210
Cost: FREE (application required)


Tech for Truth Hackathon will explore how we will use technology to find and communicate truth in the 21st century. Participants will create projects relating to one of three themes: Using technology to understand the impact of climate change to enable and support aid and humanitarian efforts; truth in a digital world (i.e. combatting fake news, social media bots, and deep fakes); and ensuring supply chain integrity.

When: Friday, February 22, 9:00 AM — Sunday, February 24
Where: MIT Innovation Initiative, 1 Broadway, 12th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142
Cost: FREE


Hack for Inclusion aims to build solutions to address some of today's biggest issues related to bias, diversity, and inclusion. Bringing together participants with technical and non-technical backgrounds, attendees will address 15-20 challenges on topics such as racial bias, gender bias, and culture bias.

When: Friday, February 22, 11:00 AM — Saturday, February 23, 8:00 PM
Where: MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Cost: $20


MakeMIT 2019 brings together over 250 hackers (who will churn out over 3524 person-hours!) to hack hardware in a fast-paced 19-hour event. Working in teams of 3-5 and using cutting-edge technology, participants are encouraged to prototype and make anything their heart desires.

When: Saturday, March 2, 7:00 AM — Sunday, March 3, 12:30 PM
Where: MIT Innovation Initiative, One Broadway, 12th Floor (E70), Cambridge, MA 02142
Cost: FREE


TechTogether Boston Hackathon is Boston's largest all-female and femme non-binary hackathon. Aiming to create an inclusive environment to "encourage more underrepresented people to either get introduced to the world of technology or harness their skills to create projects of their own," TechTogether empowers participants to build complex, groundbreaking projects, while also chipping away at the gender gap in tech.

When: Friday, March 22 — Sunday, March 24
Where: Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Cost: FREE (application required)

Youth CITIES Mini Hack aims to build solutions to local community issues. Each session addresses one topic by employing a range of decision making and problem solving styles. After a collaborative discussion, each participant will share an elevator pitch version of what is believed to be the best solution. Mini-Hacks are open to middle or high school teens, college students, entrepreneurs, educators, and other professionals.

When: Thursday, May 9, 4:30 PM — 6:00 PM
Where: Venture Café Cambridge, 1 Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142
Cost: FREE


Astropreneurship, Space Medicine, and the Dataverse Hackathon brings together space lovers to address practical issues that arise from space exploration. Participants will spend the day at Harvard hacking solutions to biomedical, social, policy, and data-driven challenges of people working with — and in — outer space.

When: Friday, June 7, 4:30 PM — Saturday, June 8, 9:00 PM
Where: Harvard University (TBD)
Cost: $0-$40

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