Three Wild Inventions from Hackpoly 2017

The Pomona mayor speaks during the opening ceremony

Creating a product from scratch is difficult enough, but the challenge of completing it in 24 hours is why nearly 600 college students showed up at Hackpoly 2017.

Organized by the College of Business Administration student organization Polyfounders, this year’s Hackpoly brought a record number of contestants and the 70 completed entries is by far the most to date.

Innovation was plentiful as students built a car-identifying app able to provide make and model with a photo, there was a smart closet that tracked and coordinated clothing and a program that reads brain waves before selecting music to play based on current mood.

Hackpoly 2017 kicked off with speeches from Pomona’s new mayor and President Coley. It shifted into high gear during talks with entrepreneur Henrik Fisker and Yammer co-founder George Ishhi. But the best really was saved for last as every entry was displayed science-fair-style in the Bronco Student Center for judging.

Although the expert pane of entrepreneurs selected their favorites, below are three of the wilder products to come out of Hackpoly 2017. If you missed it, there’s a full album on the CBA’s Facebook page.

MC Alexa can rap any word it's told
MC Alexa
Forget using an Amazon Echo for mundane tasks like grocery shopping or making reminders when MC Alexa is around. Simply say, “Alexa, rap using..,” and the electronic device becomes a lyrical genius, laying down a series of rhymes based off any word it’s told. Sure, an Amazon Echo can be used for more productive tasks, but would they be as much fun?

Automated Rice Cooker
On the subject of more productive tasks using an Amazon Echo, how about a smart rice cooker? Yes, a few rows down from MC Alexa was an automated rice cooker able to prepare one, two or three cups of rice on command. With literally one less thing to get off the couch for, it’s hard to put a price tag on coming home to a warm house and freshly-steamed rice.

The inner workings of a student-built, self-driving RC car
Smart RC Car
Self-driving cars and drones are their own raging trends, but imagine the possibilities when the two are combined. A one-man wrecking crew built an autonomous vehicle out of an RC car that communicates with its own drone to navigate, avoid collisions and detect obstacles. And it was one loose wire from being fully functional when its builder presented to judges a day after arriving to Cal Poly Pomona with a box of parts and some ideas.