8 April 2015 – First year NUS Computing students Ronald Kan Wai Leong (Information Systems), Tan Boon Jun (Information Systems), Nicholas Ooi Hsien Loong (Electronic Commerce) and Goh Yuan Tat (Computer Science) are the first place winners of The Great Nabu Challege,

a hackathon that began with a briefing at the end of September 2014 and concluded recently with its Grand Finals at the IDA Labs@HQ at the end of March this year. 

They won an estimated $14,900 worth of prizes in total, including a Razer Blade 2015 each, as well as a team cash prize of $500. The team did not expect to win, thinking that they were first year students and less knowledgeable than the other contestants who demonstrated advanced skills and also produced great applications during the competition. The Great Nabu Challenge was co-hosted by Razer and IDA to foster development in wearable technology - specifically the Razer Nabu smartband, an open device that allows developers to easily build integrations between apps and the device. A total of 15 teams of polytechnic and university students were selected to compete in the Grand Finals, following four prior competition stages, including a three-month final app design-and-build phase.

Ronald, Boon Jun, Nicholas and Yuan Tat built a real-time social mobile app called the Nabu Hunter that works with the Razer Nabu. According to the team, Nabu Hunter “allows Razer Nabu users to find fellow nearby users with similar interests, and make friends with them through the Nabu pulse technology. A notification will be sent to the user's phone and Razer Nabu whenever they receive a friend request. It also provides direct communication to the user's friends via Whatsapp with just a simple push of the button. Additionally, Nabu Hunter includes quizzes that allow users to gain points, which they can use to redeem prizes. Finally, web/app developers can access Nabu Hunter's own API to further enhance their web/app experience.”

Ronald, who spoke on behalf of the team, said, “It was a fantastic experience! Developing a working prototype with new wearable devices was a great challenge as we were in uncharted territory. However, it taught us valuable skill sets (e.g. coding Java on the Android platform and integration of codes as a team). Help was scarce as it was something new. Google searches and our personal beliefs kept us going, allowing us to embrace the challenges ahead. Juggling between our school work, events, and other personnel commitments with this competition [tested] our time management skills. We also found out that integrating the codes as a team was a huge challenge. We had to learn eclipse Git (connecting with Bitbucket repository) to commit and update our codes. This was very complicated, especially if there [were] code conflicts, and we spent lots of time resolving the conflict rather than focusing on the prototype. We believe that this project has enhanced our programming knowledge, communication skills, and most importantly, our friendship.”

“The most memorable moment [was] the competition day itself; we were still working on the prototype in Nicholas’s house until 5am. Even though we were all tired, we continued to motivate and push each other on so as to finalize the full product development, as well as the presentation. We believed that our prototype’s social capabilities (i.e. allowing people with the Nabu devices to make friends with each other) was the differentiating factor [against the competition]. We also added gamification to make the process of making friends more fun and rewarding. Points earned can then be used to redeem for Razer peripherals,” he added.