Voice-Recognition Shooter Game Hits Bullseye at Hackathon

Hackers produce 14 apps in 26-hour frenzy at perceptual computing event.

Daniel and Andy Mileusnic of WebGames 3D at Perceptual Hack

Daniel and Andy Mileusnic develop one of four apps they entered with teammate Steve Favis (not pictured) en route to taking grand prize at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

A voice-activated skeet shooting app won top honors at a marathon 26-hour computing hackathon in Sacramento, Calif. The event hosted by Hacker Lab drew 52 participants and spawned 14 apps that use so-called perceptual computing, including a head-tracking robot, a sign-language teaching game and the age-old hand game of roshambo, or rock-paper-scissors.

The participating hackers comprised 15 teams and four of the apps they produced captured titles and a share of $7,000 in cash prizes awarded by Intel. A sign language teaching game by Team BOGWack won for Best Education App and a robot with a custom head-tracking feature took Most Innovative honors for Team Code Monkeys. The Best Game winner by Team TeleMe was based on roshambo.

The team with the simplest name, Team 4, took the grand prize for creating a virtual skeet-shooting game that, according to the judges, used voice recognition “in a way that was seamless and natural to use, making the perceptual features the best way to experience this kind of app.”

Voice Controlled Skeet Shooting app developed at Perceptual Hack

A voice-activated skeet shooting app won top honors at the perceptual computing hack event at Hacker Lab.

For the game, Team 4 determined the angle and rotation of the gun in the shooter’s primary hand by using GeoNode, an open source platform that facilitates geospatial data. The app has an offset along the z-axis to make it seem more like the shooter is pointing at the screen when playing, as opposed to pointing at the camera. The clay pigeons are triggered by the voice command “Pull.” The win came as a surprise for the three members of Team 4 who split the $4,000 top prize.

“We were kinda shocked and at a loss for words” said Steve Favis, who owns Ameon Entertainment, a Natomas, Calif.-based mobile app development and training company that was started 2 years ago out of his living room. “We weren’t expecting to win because the competition was really strong.” Added Team 4 partner Andy Mileusnic, “We weren’t sure we were going to win. I guess ours was complete, a fully working demo, and that’s what the judges liked.”

Andy and Daniel Mileusnic and Steve Favis accept Perceptual Hack prize

Andy and Daniel Mileusnic (father and son), and Steve Favis accept the $4,000 top prize rom Intel's Bob Duffy at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

Mileusnic and his 20-year-old son Daniel, a college student who rounded out the triumphant trio, are the principals of Fair Oaks, Calif.-based WebGames 3D, a developer of iOS and Web gaming apps, including Grind, a popular skating app. The senior Mileusnic gave his son credit for doing most of the work on the prize-winning app.

“Daniel came up with the idea and did a vast majority of the hard work,” his father said. “I was kind of reluctant because Intel showed a video before we got started that showed a shooting game. I wanted to be innovative. But when Daniel suggested that we add in voice recognition, I thought that was pretty good.”

The skeet-shooting app was among a small handful of programs that Team 4 entered as part of what Favis called a “shotgun” strategy. Two of the team’s other entries centered on perceptual painting and music mixing, and a third was a 3-D combat version of the Japanese ball-bearing game Pachinko.

Robot with a custom head-tracking from Perceptual Hack

A robot with a custom head-tracking feature took Most Innovative honors for Team Code Monkeys at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

The senior Mileusnic said, “We were able to build four games in such a short time period largely because of how well Intel’s Perceptual Computing SDK [software developer kit] was integrated with Unity,” the multiplatform engine popular among game developers. Favis added, “The Intel perception team was wise to use that engine for the SDK. It’s affordable and can be used to create mobile and Web games for consoles or the PC.”

Along with the SDK, Ultrabooks and other technology were supplied by event sponsor Intel. Participants also were provided with the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera Kit by Creative Technology.

Hacker Lab, which marked its first anniversary last month, is an incubator of sorts for technology startups that occupies a 10,480-square-foot campus near downtown Sacramento. About a third of that space is dedicated to hardware fabrication and product prototyping. The facility also has co-working and office areas, tools and event space in a spacious community-like setting.

Voice-Recognition Shooter Game Hits Bullseye at Hackathon

Hackers produce 14 apps in 26-hour frenzy at perceptual computing event.

Daniel and Andy Mileusnic of WebGames 3D at Perceptual Hack

Daniel and Andy Mileusnic develop one of four apps they entered with teammate Steve Favis (not pictured) en route to taking grand prize at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

A voice-activated skeet shooting app won top honors at a marathon 26-hour computing hackathon in Sacramento, Calif. The event hosted by Hacker Lab drew 52 participants and spawned 14 apps that use so-called perceptual computing, including a head-tracking robot, a sign-language teaching game and the age-old hand game of roshambo, or rock-paper-scissors.

The participating hackers comprised 15 teams and four of the apps they produced captured titles and a share of $7,000 in cash prizes awarded by Intel. A sign language teaching game by Team BOGWack won for Best Education App and a robot with a custom head-tracking feature took Most Innovative honors for Team Code Monkeys. The Best Game winner by Team TeleMe was based on roshambo.

The team with the simplest name, Team 4, took the grand prize for creating a virtual skeet-shooting game that, according to the judges, used voice recognition “in a way that was seamless and natural to use, making the perceptual features the best way to experience this kind of app.”

Voice Controlled Skeet Shooting app developed at Perceptual Hack

A voice-activated skeet shooting app won top honors at the perceptual computing hack event at Hacker Lab.

For the game, Team 4 determined the angle and rotation of the gun in the shooter’s primary hand by using GeoNode, an open source platform that facilitates geospatial data. The app has an offset along the z-axis to make it seem more like the shooter is pointing at the screen when playing, as opposed to pointing at the camera. The clay pigeons are triggered by the voice command “Pull.” The win came as a surprise for the three members of Team 4 who split the $4,000 top prize.

“We were kinda shocked and at a loss for words” said Steve Favis, who owns Ameon Entertainment, a Natomas, Calif.-based mobile app development and training company that was started 2 years ago out of his living room. “We weren’t expecting to win because the competition was really strong.” Added Team 4 partner Andy Mileusnic, “We weren’t sure we were going to win. I guess ours was complete, a fully working demo, and that’s what the judges liked.”

Andy and Daniel Mileusnic and Steve Favis accept Perceptual Hack prize

Andy and Daniel Mileusnic (father and son), and Steve Favis accept the $4,000 top prize rom Intel's Bob Duffy at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

Mileusnic and his 20-year-old son Daniel, a college student who rounded out the triumphant trio, are the principals of Fair Oaks, Calif.-based WebGames 3D, a developer of iOS and Web gaming apps, including Grind, a popular skating app. The senior Mileusnic gave his son credit for doing most of the work on the prize-winning app.

“Daniel came up with the idea and did a vast majority of the hard work,” his father said. “I was kind of reluctant because Intel showed a video before we got started that showed a shooting game. I wanted to be innovative. But when Daniel suggested that we add in voice recognition, I thought that was pretty good.”

The skeet-shooting app was among a small handful of programs that Team 4 entered as part of what Favis called a “shotgun” strategy. Two of the team’s other entries centered on perceptual painting and music mixing, and a third was a 3-D combat version of the Japanese ball-bearing game Pachinko.

Robot with a custom head-tracking from Perceptual Hack

A robot with a custom head-tracking feature took Most Innovative honors for Team Code Monkeys at Perceptual Hack. Photo: Hacker Lab

The senior Mileusnic said, “We were able to build four games in such a short time period largely because of how well Intel’s Perceptual Computing SDK [software developer kit] was integrated with Unity,” the multiplatform engine popular among game developers. Favis added, “The Intel perception team was wise to use that engine for the SDK. It’s affordable and can be used to create mobile and Web games for consoles or the PC.”

Along with the SDK, Ultrabooks and other technology were supplied by event sponsor Intel. Participants also were provided with the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera Kit by Creative Technology.

Hacker Lab, which marked its first anniversary last month, is an incubator of sorts for technology startups that occupies a 10,480-square-foot campus near downtown Sacramento. About a third of that space is dedicated to hardware fabrication and product prototyping. The facility also has co-working and office areas, tools and event space in a spacious community-like setting.