Looking back at the 2017 Skype University Hackathon in Tallinn, Estonia

For the third consecutive year, Skype and Microsoft Estonia have organized a Skype University Hackathon (Unihack)—a Hackathon aimed especially at university students. This year’s occurrence was a three-day event where students could turn their wild ideas into something real, get help from Skype engineers, connect with other students, build something amazing and have fun.

Unihack is not about winning prizes (although they are quite nice), it is about experience, emotions and fun. The goal of the Skype Unihack was to give students a feeling of real-life ICT office environment, help them evolve their ideas, empower and encourage them to reach for the stars and never fear the unknown.

This year, the Hackathon took place in Tallinn, Estonia in the Skype office. Forty-five participants from universities around the world accepted the challenge and created practical IT solutions to various problems they encounter in real life.

For many years, Skype Estonia has worked closely with Tech Sisters—a non-profit organisation with a vision to inspire, educate and encourage women and girls in technology and IT—helping them organize Digigirls events in the country. This year, the two events got merged to allow “unihackers” and “digigirls” to be part of one great IT event.

Skype University Hackathon

The opening speeches of the event were given by Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, Merle Liisu Lindma, HR Manager of Skype Estonia, Hanna-Mari Kirs from Tech Sisters, and Nicole Johnson from the US Embassy in Estonia.

The opening event covered the following topics:

  • How to find your calling
  • The jobs of the future
  • Fun in Science
  • How to make the best decisions
  • The screening of the Code – Debugging the Gender Gap documentary and a Q&A with its director Robin Hauser

The event continued at the Skype Tallinn office on the following day, with girls taking part in different workshops and hackers progressing on their projects with the help of Skype mentors.

Skype University Hackathon

The final results of Skype UniHack 2017 were:

  • Main prize: SentiMan – a business analytics tool that helps businesses detect problems and create plans to improve their customer services by analyzing customer feedback on social networks
  • Skype & Microsoft Award: Servico – a local workforce search tool. Think of Uber but for handymen.
  • Entertainment Industry Booster Award: Punch Club – a fun voice-controlled fighting game for Android in which you can shout your way to victory.
  • Biggest Educational Impact Award: EXP-Lore – an augmented reality solution, with a whole new dimension to learn about places near and far.
  • Techsisters Innovation Award: Talking Head – a framework for visualizing text, which can be used as a help for people with disabilities, those who want to learn a foreign language, as well as a personalized customer support.
  • 0 to 100 in 48 Hours Award: EXP-Lore
  • People’s Choice: Servico

Check out the video below to get a feel of what it was like! We already look forward to hosting the next Skype University Hackathon! For more information, check out the Hackathon’s Facebook page.