What is UHack?
UHack is the University of Tasmania’s annual weekend-long event involving cross-functional teams working to create an innovation, business plan and pitch video to be presented to our panel of online judges.
Free to enter with cash and prizes up for grabs, as well as mentoring from industry leaders, team-building opportunities, and the potential to turn your idea into a reality!
Whether you are a student or not, enter as an individual (we’ll help you team up) or assemble a team, identify a problem, and pitch your idea!
An exciting fast-paced innovation competition!
A great way to hack together new business ideas and develop skills to fulfil them.
Enter as an individual (we’ll help you team up) or assemble a team, identify a problem and pitch your idea!
Even though UHack is fully online this year, there are limited places available for participation.
UHack Tasmania is an open, state-wide competition. UHack is open to anyone including both students and members of the public. If you are under 18 years of age you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
We recommend at least four (4) people, with a maximum of six (6) per team.
It's ok to register as an individual, but UHack is a team event so you cannot compete as an individual.
Make sure you register for one of the Meetup and Briefing sessions prior to the UHack weekend so we can help you find possible team-mates!
The Meetup and Briefing sessions are held online.
The UHack Meetup and Briefing sessions are designed to help you understand how the weekend will run, how the judging will take place and to provide you with tips on putting your entry together!
It's also the perfect place to meet like-minded people to form your team if you are registering as an individual.
The only exception to this rule is if it has been made Open Source, freely available for use by other teams and in the public-domain.
Prior to the event, feel free to fill your boots with learning about relevant University research themes and thinking about problems aligned with those themes, but don't pre-build - if we detect it, your entry will be jeopardised.
To find out more about the judging criteria / process, you can read 2019 Hackathon Judging (PDF 78 KB)
Entries will be judged by the panel with prizes awarded on Sunday afternoon at the end of the weekend.
The judges will view every teams' pitch videos then ask the teams questions.
There will also be a People's Choice award at the end of the weekend.
Even though you can't start work on your solution until the Hackathon begins, there are some things you can do ahead of the event!
Leading up to the event, you and your team can start thinking about the problems and opportunities you want to address, making sure it will address some or all of the following themes:
- Give creative expression to our identity and ideas
- Create place based partnerships across all sectors
- Create better access to education that will lead to secure employment and good incomes
- Develop distinctive professional capabilities
- Solve industry problems and contribute to innovative, implementable policy ideas
- Enrich our understanding of the state's unique human and natural history
You can also spend some time digging around the University of Tasmania's website.
Your innovative solution can be anything, for example:
- Digital art (visual art, written art, a digitisation of a performance)
- An app
- A prototype device
- A software application
- A website
- A game
- Whatever you create!
Past UHacks are also a great way to get inspiration as you can see what other people have created and get ideas!
Most of the submissions from last year are still available on Devpost 2019.
Judging takes place on the last day of the UHack weekend. It's important that you host your solution and any associated digital materials somewhere accessible via the public internet so the judging panel can access it.
If you're building any sort of web-connected application (be it web, mobile, or a desktop application) you'll need a server to host it on.
Amazon Web Services
There is a free tier of usage available to all new Amazon Web Service accounts, see the AWS Free Tier page for more information. If you're part of a startup company, you might like to sign up for AWS Activate.
Those new to AWS should check out the Getting Started with AWS guide.
The National Research Cloud (aka NeCTAR) is just like Amazon Web Services, however it's run on open source software (OpenStack) and is for use by academics and researchers in Australia. In physical terms, NeCTAR spans eight data centres around Australia (located at top ranked Higher Education Institutions) which have combined to provide the largest Federated Academic Cloud in the world at 30,000 cores.
Any University student / staff with a valid .edu.au email address can logon right now and use two "small instances / cores" for three months for free. After the initial three month period, there is a simple "allocation tab" on the dashboard where you can apply for longer usage or more compute cycles. The allocation form is a simple one page description of your research and how you are using the cloud for that research.
Azure, Google Compute Engine, et al.
- Google Compute Engine (IAAS) and Google App Engine (PAAS), Google Container Engine
- Joyent offers support for Docker along with its traditional IAAS and PAAS offerings
- DigitalOcean and Linode have great offerings from a mere $5/month
- Azure services (IAAS/PAAS)
- RedHat's OpenShift NextGen PaaS - but note that there is a waiting time before they give you access
- Heroku has a great PAAS offering if you need some simple out-of-the-box software
The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool which allows you to design, describe, challenge, invent and pivot your business model.
Here's a good introduction by Simon Boot:
And here's a full introduction by the author of the BMC, Alex Osterwalder:
A good starting point with BMC is to start with your value proposition and product-market fit:
Finally, there’s also a free course by Udacity on how to build a startup using BMC.
Your Pitch video is one of the main vehicles for explaining your business model to the judges. Due to time restrictions, your team won't be able to fully demo your solution to the judges. Your pitch video will be viewed by the judges and used to assess your Business Model Canvas, your solution, innovation and potential for impact.
Making your video
You'll need to shoot and edit your video using your own equipment – laptop and phone camera quality will be fine.
Your pitch video is a core component of your UHack submission and should be a maximum of 90 seconds.
You should aim to communicate your Business Model Canvas, demonstrate your app, and engage would-be users in 90 seconds. Use the video medium to create excitement and demand for your solution. What evidence can you provide or discuss that adds credibility to your team and your solution? Do you need more resources to take it to the next level – would your video attract crowd funding, the interest of an angel investors or philanthropist – or just get you on the news?
The preferred method is to use a screen cast with a voice-over narration explaining your project, your Business Model Canvas, and what is being show in the video. Remember that the judging panel is viewing the videos in isolation and won't necessarily have any context around your project.
You may mix in other elements with the screen cast, such as footage demonstrating the issues your projects addresses, interviews, live action material and actors (read: team members and bribe-able friends!) you've filmed, etc - but be aware that videos that don't primarily focus on showing off the project itself will not be as valued as ones that do.
You are encouraged to include your team name, team members, and to talk about how your project is innovative, has impact and relates to the University's Themes.
Remember: Your video should not take more than a few hours out of your weekend if you keep it simple.
Your pitch video should include:
- A Theme: How does your solution relate to one of the University's key themes?
- A Problem: What problem does your project solve?
- A Vision: What is the vision for your solution?
- A Solution and Unique Value Proposition: How do you solve the problem you just defined? What is the unique value about your solution?
- A Target Market: Who are you aiming this solution at? How will it benefit them?
- A Solution demo: Show us how your solution works! What are its core elements? Give us a demo!
- A Project Team: Show us your team with their names and roles!
Your pitch video could include (if you have time):
- Market statistics of the industry your product or service will be a part of.
- Feedback or user stories surrounding your solution.
- Short term (1 year) and long term (5 year) plans.
- Financial breakdown of costs including how much you would need from an investor.
Some interesting points to consider when making your video:
- Is your video showcasing the product/service and convincing to the viewer?
- Do you clearly identify the target market with justification?
- Do you convincingly explain why this idea is needed with justification?
- Do you showcase why this product/service is interesting?
Ideas for video production
- To help with storyboarding your video grab this huge pack of free storyboarding illustrations
- For screencasting check out software like ActivePresenter or OBS that will allow you to record demos of your application. If you have a Mac, Quicktime will do the job
- For mixing clips together the YouTube Video Editor is super user-friendly; though VLC or LWKS may also be handy.
Teams will be required to produce the following deliverables (to be completed across the weekend of the competition) and address the following criteria as part of their entry:
- A Descriptive Page which lists your team members and provides details of your solution.
- A Business Model Canvas (BMC) which maps out the elements of how your business idea or creative solution could be brought to reality (worth 20%).
- A Creative Solution which can be anything from an artwork, a performance or a written piece through to a website, a mobile app or a game (worth 30%).
- A Pitch Video (maximum 2 minutes) which explains your Business Model Canvas and demos your solution (worth 20%).
- Innovation and Creativity (worth 20%).
- Potential for impact (worth 10%).