Silicon Valley file-sharing giant Dropbox – a rival to Aaron Levie’s Box which IPO’d at $2.7 billion last Friday – hosted its first London Hackathon over the weekend, following its UK launch last week.
The hackathon, held in East London's Shoreditch, acted as the perfect opportunity for Dropbox to tap into the creative and technical talent on offer in what is arguably the UK's leading tech hub.
The overall winners, developers Alex Curran and Stuart Lynch, were awarded £1000 for Matter - a private blogging app allowing users to post photos and text to Dropbox in a neat timeline, and share them with friends and family while retaining complete control.
Matter creators Alex Curran and Stuart Lynch (©Dropbox)
Over 120 developers joined Dropbox to create new apps on Dropbox's APIs.
Dropbox said some of the most unusual ideas included converting Dropbox into a bitcoin wallet, building a memory card to instantly upload images from a DSLR, a 3D-Dropbox to upload physical objects to your digital Dropbox with the help of a 3D scanner, and tours of London where users are given their next direction after they've taken a photo of their location.
While Matter won the overall prize, four other teams were recognised for their efforts within a particular category.
Dropbox Star: Easy Wallet
The Dropbox Star prize was awarded to the team that made the best use of the Dropbox API in their hack. Easy Wallet won the award by turning Dropbox into a bitcoin wallet. The entire interface to Easy Wallet is the file system in Dropbox. For example, users can make change from their bitcoins by simply renaming files in Dropbox, and can give away bitcoin by sending a file.
London Local: Dropbox Pictour
The London Local prize was awarded to the hack with the best emphasis on London. Dropbox Pictour won this award with their app that helps users take directed tours around London. Pictour starts by giving a user a hint as to where to start their tour. The user needs to make their way to that location and take a picture there. Pictour notices the new picture in Dropbox, checks the geolocation of the photo, and rewards the user with a hint for their next location.
Best Design: Swapbox
Swapbox won the Best Design award with their app that lets users exchange photos with random strangers. Every photo that's sent via Swapbox gets delivered to another random Swapbox user's Dropbox, and that user is notified by email. Both users get to see how far the photo traveled. Swapbox is already live at https://swapbox.co.
Cool Tech: Dropbox Live
The Cool Tech prize was awarded to the team that built the most impressive technical hack. The Dropbox Live team won the prize with their hack to perform instant camera uploads with their DSLR camera. By building their own SD card mirroring and Dropbox uploading via an attached Raspberry Pi, this team managed to make camera uploads almost instantaneous from their camera. You can see some of the images they captured live at the hackathon via their Twitter account: @dropboxlive2.