EnerHack 2018

UW-Madison's First Energy Hackathon!


Powered by EnerGyan


Checkout the winners and participants of EnerHack 2018

Are you interested in energy and sustainability? Plan to participate in UW-Madison’s first energy hackathon. Create and implement new ideas for a sustainable future with real energy hardware.



Checkout the participants and winners of EnerHack 2018


We are pleased to announce EnerHack, UW-Madison's first energy hackathon. While apps for mobile and other computing platforms have become ubiquitous today, there is a need for design and development of 'energy apps' which promote sustainable energy practices. EnerHack covers a wide variety of topics. These include smart devices, mini/micro/nano/smart grids, AI/ML/Optimization, energy-based mobile and cloud computing for energy. EnerHack provides the necessary energy hardware.

Why should you compete?


Learn about Energy
You will get an opportunity to learn what it takes to build energy applications using real energy hardware.

Win cool stuff
Chance to win prizes - cash awards and access to some cool services at UW Makerspace.

Recognition
Get recognized by your peers, faculty, and others for the awesome energy application that you'll build! We'll put up your photo and app videos on our website and social media.

Network
You'll get a chance to meet people from different domains - engineering, sciences, and business etc. Maybe you'll find your future startup co-founder?


The Big Qs


Do I have what it takes?

As long as you have basic skills - programming or hardware (or someone in your team does), you should be fine! We have tutorials for you to learn more about energy and our platform. This is chance for you to pick up some new skills.

I don't have a team!

Our info session has a 'team formation time' where you'll get chance to meet potential team members and form a team!

I don't know what to work on!

You're in luck. We have a bunch of hackathon challenges for you to work on! You can also get creative with these challenges and solve a real-world problem!


Audience

Open to all UW students. Experience with hardware is not required or necessary. Basic programming skills will be useful.


Rules

Hackathon topics

Topics include Smart/Micro Grid Management, Smart Homes/IoT, Mobile Apps for Energy, Cloud-based Apps for Energy, Hardware-based Projects and Optimization/AI/Machine Learning.



Hackathon Challenges

This is preliminary list of challenges. We'll be adding more. Each team gets to pick a challenge and get creative. We are also open to new ideas as long as they fit the scope of the hackathon :)
Keep in mind that the info below is just to get you started thinking. We'll add more info to each of these challenges to point you to some resources but we'll leave the majority of the work for you to do.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"Alexa, am I powerful?" Energy Assistant for your Home Power Grid Use Amazon Echo Dot, Alexa Skills and AWS services to monitor and control your home power grid. The flow would be something like this:
  • "Alexa, turn off my fan"
  • Amazon makes a request to your lambda function (AWS lambda) to get the response.
  • Lambda function makes a request to a small web API running on EnerGyan's computer (Yes! EnerGyan has a small single board computer (SBC))
  • Your app turns off the fan
"Lets set the mood, dim the lights" Intelligent Home Manager with Smart switches and Smart lights When power consumption in a home crosses a threshold, use EnerGyan and Philips Hue light to reduce the power consumption by dimming the lights and turning off non-critical loads using Wemo switches. The flow would be something like this:
  • Your app constantly monitors the power level through APIs
  • When the power level crosses a threshold, you use Philips Hue API to reduce the brightness (this makes a big difference in a building with 1000s of lights)
  • If you still need to cut power consumption, switch off non-critical appliances connected to the Wemo switches.
"Flic it" Click-controlled smart home app using flic buttons Imagine if you could control your home energy system with click of a button ( I mean an actual button. Not the one on your screen). One-click and you put your enter energy system into an 'energy-saving' mode. Another click turns into 'away from home' mode. Develop an app to use bluetooth controlled flic buttons to manage your home in a simple, smart and fashionable way. We'll provide you the flic buttons. Want to know more about flic? Check it out here.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
A: "Candle night dinner? How romantic"
B: "Romantic? My app says I'm using too much energy"
Energy Monitoring and Control Mobile App Develop an Android/iOS app to monitor and control the energy system. Users can be shown the status of the system, energy/power production and consumption, $ spent/earned etc. You will be pulling all this info from EnerGyan through APIs. You can also add simple statistical analysis to motivate the user to learn more about their energy habits.
  • On which day did you produce/consume the most energy?
  • Which hour of the day did you produce/consume more energy?
  • Send push notifications to user when battery charge runs low
  • The list goes on ...
"Quick, give me a dollar. The light's going to turn off any minute" Pay-as-you-go Mobile App for Energy Markets Develop an Android/iOS app to provide payment capabilities. Similar to your mobile phone service providers, users will be required to purchase pre-paid credits (through your app) to use devices in their homes. Imagine a scenario where you are the grid operator of a small community. You need to charge people to use electricity just like the electric utility charges you today.
"I wonder how much energy the neighbors are using. Hmmmm " MyMicrogrid Mobile App This is like a social media app for microgrid owners. Based on your geographical proximity, you can see and connect with other microgrid owners. Each owner displays stats from their EnerGyan platform.You can click on your neighbors profile and see how much energy they are producing/using. When you run out of energy, maybe you can borrow??
"O, what a web I weave" A multi-service web dashboard for energy grids A small-scale microgrid has several homes each having an energy management system. The grid operator has to remotely monitor and control the grid. Develop a web dashboard to aggregate the data from all homes (say each home has an EnerGyan platform) and visualize this in a way that can provide useful insights to the grid operator. Is the grid stable?What's the peak demand? The web platform should have the ability to integrate other services such as payments, weather etc. in the future.
"What a mesh!" A de-centralized peer-to peer wireless mesh network based mobile app During natural disasters, the central Internet and cellular network goes down. Along with this the electric utility grid does down. People and communities with mini/microgrids can sustain can share excess energy with others who dont have access to electricity. Can you build an app which can work on a p2p network to communicate with others to figure out which locations have a functioning energy system? For example, the app should have a map of all places with an energy source and you should be able to text the person to get more details (remember you have to do all this without Internet or cellular data). For starters, checkout Firechat
"So you want to build a chatbot?" Energy chatbot app Build a chat bot to help users get useful insights about their energy system through Q&A. For example, if the user wants to know which of their appliances has the highest power consumption or which day of the week their solar panel produced most energy. You get the idea! Making this process fun might motivate more users to be energy conscious and use sustainable energy practices.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"Walking a tight-rope" Grid manager for smart and micro grids Have you played real-time strategy games? You need to manage your resources, find new resources, forge alliances and strategies, and identify patterns etc. A microgrid is similar. This app should best manage the available resources in different scenarios. Imagine the grid fails or the time-of-use price is extremely high. You're broke and cannot buy energy from grid? Will you turn off your lights or schedule your washer later?
"And in today's forecast ... " Weather-based grid management Many of the ways we use energy are closely tied to the weather outside. Heating and cooling depend on temperature and humidity and lighting depends on cloud cover. Production from wind and solar are also extremely weather-dependent. This app should find a source of local weather information and automatically pull data from it. How can this information be used to improve the way energy is managed in the grid?
"Houston, we have a problem" Crisis response app One of the most important features of microgrids is the resilience that they can give to an energy system. This is especially true in the case of crises like natural disasters, which can leave a place without electric power for an extended period of time. If a microgrid can anticipate a crisis like this, it will make a priority of filling up its storage reserves beforehand and carefully rationing energy until the crisis is over. This app should utilize any available resources to detect a potential imminent crisis and take appropriate action.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"Long Distance Relationships are Hard!" Long Distance RF based communication network for microgrids Design and develop a wireless long range mesh network (using LoRa tech) to communicate between two EnerGyans or one EnerGyan and your computer. This is particularly useful in remote communities where Internet/cellular communities are flaky and you need a local network to communicate between your microgrid controller (in the community center) and the homes in the community.
"Hellooooo... anybody home?" Design and Development of a Context-aware home Use an array of sensors and embedded micro-controllers to get information about the home environment. Communicate this to the EnerGyan platform to better manage your energy. For example, switch off lights when there is nobody in the room or its the middle of day and there is abundant sunshine in the room.
"Get phased!" Low cost phasor measurement unit Design and develop a low-cost phasor measurement unit using a single board computer (like BeagleBone Black/Raspberry Pi) to take measurements of the microgrid. This will be useful in understanding the state of the power grid and detect scenarios of instability and prevent blackouts.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"The Soothsayer is here" Load forecasting application for smarter management of electric grids This apps help plan for the user needs at a specified time in the future. The goal of this app is to collect load data from the energy system, use this data to create a model which forecasts the load at a specified future time and take action to improve system operations.
"It's a bird, it's a plane.. No wait.. its a large cloud cover" Solar forecasting based Energy Management using cameras Use cameras to capture videos and images to detect cloud cover and manage your grid. (No cloud cover means no energy from your solar panels)
"Roof hunters! Premiering on Netflix soon" Solar site planning and assessment app If given a geographical area, can you use Google Satellite images and other sources to figure where we can install solar panels using image processing? The geographical area maybe a small village in India or a community in Texas. Can you hunt for the best rooftop?


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"So I put a container in your container so you can container your containers ..." Secure light-weight container management system for managing energy applications Deploying 3rd party applications on a computing platform can be hard if they are not managed properly. Malicious or inefficiently designed apps can bring down the system in a number of ways - use up resources, override critical software and render it unusable etc.. Two popular pathways exist - virtual machine (VM) or containers. While deploying a VM for each app can be resource intensive, containers provide a viable pathway. This project would involve design a container system (using Docker or something similar) to deploy and manage 3rd party apps on a single board computer. You need to think about services the app needs, resources, communication between container and host system and all the vulnerabilities that can arise and try to address them.
"Do you even blockchain?" A blockchain platform for energy trading Imagine you are the grid manager for a small remote community which does not have access to an electric utility. Your community members can produce, consume or exchange energy in the energy market. This means they can buy or sell electricity with you (the grid manager) or with the neighbors. Can you come up with a blockchain platform to make this energy trading secure and easier?
"I'm not stealing my neighbor's Wifi, their Wifi is trespassing into my house" A network manager app for energy Whether your computer network is as small as your home network or as large as community network, you need to ensure best network policies are practiced to ensure unauthorized access of the network which may lead to system failures, Quality of Service (QoS) degradation or other unwanted system conditions. This app constantly monitors network traffic in a grid to ensure secure network policies, make sure QoS is acceptable, data is secure etc. This can be done through a SDN (software defined network) which acts as a manager for all local traffic or as a gateway for exchange of traffic to the Internet.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"Photovoltaic? Kids these days. I don't understand their lingo" EnerLingo: A mobile-based energy learning app for middle/high school students Develop a mobile app to teach middle/high school students about energy through a hands-on approach. Teach them a concept and your app should show the demo on EnerGyan. Can you come up with an active-learning based curriculum that can work on mobile platform? Can you teach and make it fun? Like a game or a puzzle?
"An app to build an app??" Web based app to help middle, high school students and energy enthusiasts to build energy apps through simple visual flow based blocks programming Can you build an app that'll help others build an energy app without actually programming? Can you use frameworks like Node-RED that can help users build an app using simple blocks? Abstract all the programming from them and make building apps fun and interesting. Something like the App Inventor of energy apps.


Challenge Title (fun and cheesy) Challenge Title (technical) Challenge Details
"How to EnerCoin?" App to earn rewards by motivating energy conservation and efficiency Have you heard of sweatcoin? A digital currency that converts exercise into digital tokens. The more you exercise, more sweatcoins you can earn and then redeem that to buy actual stuff? Can you do something like that for energy? Can you motivate users to save energy by giving them an energy digital currency that they can use to buy groceries? Who will pay for this and how can you make this profitable?
"Incentivize!!" App to promote sustainable energy use practices though non-price incentives Some research studies have shown that having non-price incentive boosts energy efficiency and conservation. Can you develop an app which provides users with environment and health messages about the power system to motivate them to sustainable energy practices. For example, showing them carbon emissions from their activities. Can you figure out what these incentives are and how they should be delivered to the user?


Frequently Asked Questions


What is energy hackathon?

Energy hackathon is an event which is focused on building hardware and software solutions focused on energy and sustainability. While most hackathons are software-based, EnerHack aims to bring together an ecosystem which include both hardware and software developers with a passion for energy and sustainability.

What is EnerGyan energy platform and why should I use it?

EnerGyan is an energy education platform (hardware + software) designed and developed at UW-Madison. It's a programmable electricity grid-in-a-box. It takes on a many roles and can function as a micro version of a home, grid, community center and a lot more! It's an easy way for you test your app with real energy system hardware. This way you don't have to simulate your energy system or spend months building one. It's very simple to use. It takes less than 10 lines of code to build a simple app with EnerGyan. (more details coming soon!)

How much does it cost to attend?

Admission to EnerHacks is completely free. We will also be providing food! There will also be workshops and activities.

Who can participate?

We welcome all UW-Madison students of all backgrounds. You don’t need to be an Energy Engineer to attend. If you don't know how much about energy, we will have workshops to teach you the basics!


Will there be prizes?

Yes! We have bunch of cash and non-cash prizes worth over $3000.

Do I need a team?

We encourage students to work with a team of 2 - 4 people but you can work individually as well. If you don't have a team yet, there will be a 'team formation time' during the info/kick-off session.

Do I have to attend the kick-off/info session?

We'd like you to if you can. This will give you a chance to know what the energy hackathon is about, meet new people and find a team! You can still attend the hackathon if you cant make it to the info/kick-off session.

Still have questions?

You can contact us via enerhackchallenge@gmail.com or facebook.com/enerhack



Available Hardware

We will provide the following hardware.

Available Software

Tentative Schedule


Kick-off/info session

Friday, March 21, 5:00 - 6:00 pm in UW Makerspace (215 N Randall Ave)

Hackathon Schedule (Venue: UW Makerspace - 215 N Randall Ave)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Organizing Team

Prof. Giri Venkataramanan

Prof. Giri Venkataramanan Faculty
UW-Madison

Ashray Manur

Ashray Manur
PhD Student
UW-Madison

David Sehloff

David Sehloff
PhD Student
UW-Madison

Helene Demont

Helene Demont
Administrative Director - WEMPEC
UW-Madison

Lennon Rodgers

Lennon Rodgers
Director - UW Makerspace
UW-Madison

Christopher L. Demarco

Christopher L. Demarco
Faculty
UW-Madison

Bernard Lesieutre

Bernard Lesieutre
Faculty
UW-Madison

Get in touch with us!


Organizing Partners


College of Engineering
Makerspace
WEMPEC

Sponsors


Faith Technologies

Smart Wires

Qdoba
Jimmy John's
Glass Nickel Pizza
Papa Johns Pizza

Volunteer Team

Alec Sivit

Alec Sivit

Undergraduate Student (Senior)
Computer Engineering
UW-Madison
Travis Leanna

Travis Leanna

Electrical Engineer (full time) at Faith Technologies
Graduate Student in Sustainable Sys Engg. (part time)
UW-Madison
Maeve Ryan

Maeve Ryan

Undergraduate Student (Sophomore)
Life Sciences and Communication
Certificates in Digital Studies and French, UW-Madison
Sogol Babaeinejadsarookolaee

Sogol Babaeinejadsarookolaee

Graduate Student
Electrical Engineering
UW-Madison
William Barford

William Barford

Sophomore
Madison West High School
Antara Kkadria

Antara Khadria

Graduate Student
Electrical Engineering
UW-Madison
Lee Shaver

Lee Shaver

Energy Engineer
Seventhwave
Adria Brooks

Adria Brooks

Graduate Student
Electrical Engineering
UW-Madison
Peter Killeen

Peter Killeen

UW-Madison
Trenton Feda

Trenton Feda

UW-Madison
Peter Irgens

Peter Irgens

UW-Madison
Priyabrata Sundaray

Priyabrata Sundaray

UW-Madison
Stacey Wallis

Stacey Wallis

UW-Madison