About the Hackathon


About the Hackathon


Every year we host the Hacking Arts Hackathon, a competition where creatives can bring together their tech and art skills to make new things.

Our hackathon is 24-hour competition designed to push innovation in the arts and entertainment field. It’s all about connecting creative and ambitious minds with the necessary tools to foster collaboration in the arts through technology. We bring resources specifically for creative technologists and artists to help you push the boundaries during our hackathon. You'll learn, share, build, and create awesome things during the hackathon, we promise.

Applications for the 2018 Hackathon are now closed! Stay tuned for information on this year’s winners and special awards.

More information on last year's winners can be found here

toys for tinkering

Here are some of the tools we’ll have on hand for hackers and mentors to bring their awesome ideas to life:


  • 12 V12 Velodyne LiDAR sensors, sponsored by Velodyne LiDAR

  • Position-based sound sculpture cubes, sponsored by MASARY Studios

  • 10 Leap Motion controllers, sponsored by Leap Motion

  • 5 HTC VIVE kits, sponsored by VIVE

  • 4 Oculus Rift VR systems, sponsored by MIT VR/AR Club


  • Wayfair 3D model API, sponsored by Wayfair

  • Fritz Machine Learning solution, sponsored by Fritz

  • GCP (Google Cloud Platform) credits for all registered hackers, sponsored by Google Cloud

Prizes and special awards

Check out the amazing prizes for winners and special awardees of this year’s Hacking Arts:

Best All Around Hack:

  • 1st Place: $2,500 - Sponsored by MIT Sloan E&I Club

  • 2nd Place: $1000

Hackers Choice Award: $500

Wayfair Prize

Wayfair believes everyone should live in a home they love. Through technology and innovation, Wayfair makes it possible for shoppers to quickly and easily find exactly what they want from one of the world's largest selections of home furnishings, décor, home improvement, housewares and more.

Awarded to teams of Wayfair’s choice. To be eligible for this prize, teams need to use Wayfair’s 3D model API in their project.

  • 1st Place: 1 Oculus headset for each team member in the winning team

  • 2nd Place: $250 donation to the charity organizations of the hacker’s choice for each team member in the winning team

Google Cloud Prize

For all registered hackers

  • GCP (Google Cloud Platform) credits for all registered hackers

Awarded to teams of Google Cloud’s choice. To be eligible for this prize, teams need to use Google Cloud Platform in their projects.

  • Winning team will be awarded 4 Google Home Minis

Fritz prizes

The most compelling mobile experiences these days are powered by machine learning. Fritz offers APIs to solve common problems like image labeling, object detection, and artistic style transfer. Everything runs directly on-device which means it works offline, at high frame-rates, and keeps sensitive data in the hands of users. Developers with custom models can use Fritz to manage and protect them. We support Core ML, TensorFlow Lite and TensorFlow Mobile. All ML features along with custom model support are available on both iOS and Android. Make apps that can see, hear, and understand with Fritz.

Awarded to teams of Fritz’s choice. To be eligible for this prize, teams need to use in their projects.

  • Two years of Fritz premium services (valued at $5,000) to the winning team of the Fritz Prize

  • Fritz ML Grants ($1,000 each) will be awarded to team(s) of Fritz’s choice.


Mentors & Judges

Here are some of the mentors and judges you’ll get to work with at the 2018 Hackathon.

Mentors & Judges

Here are some of the mentors and judges you’ll get to work with at the 2018 Hackathon.

Edward Bilous: Director, Center for Innovation in the Arts, The Juilliard School

Innovation in the Arts and Education
Bilous began his career in arts education in 1978 as one of the first teaching-artists at the newly created Lincoln Center Institute. Together, with colleagues in theater and dance, he helped to create the basic cannon of aesthetic education practices that continue to inspire students and teachers around the world.

Bilous joined the faculty of the Juilliard School in 1984 and developed many of the institution’s most innovative programs including the Arts and Education Program, the Center for Innovation in the Arts and Beyond the Machine– A Festival of Interdisciplinary and Multimedia Art. In 2012, he was awarded the William Schuman Scholars Chair by the Juilliard School in recognition of his life-long contributions to arts education.

Additionally, Bilous served on the National Endowment for the Arts panel for Learning In the Arts and was the Senior Education Advisor in the creation of The Academy – A Program of the Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall and the Weil Institute.
He is a leading advocate for the arts in education and has led discussions and workshops with business leaders, lawmakers, teachers and administrators around the nation, in Europe, and Asia. His recent TEDx talk was titled “Nurturing Creative Intelligence Through the Arts”.

Creative Work
As a creative artist, Bilous’ innovative work includes music for film and dance as well as multimedia theatrical events and virtual reality experiences. His most recent projects include “BASETRACK LIVE”, a multimedia theatrical event hailed by The New York Time as one of the “Top Ten Shows of 2014”, “SACRED” a multimedia concert and VR experience developed in collaboration with New York Public Television, “Emperor of All Maladies,” a PBS TV series helmed by Executive Producer Ken Burns.
Recently, Bilous directed “Cracked Orlando”, a multimedia opera by composer Jonathan Dawe.  Bilous is also serving as the Artistic Director for the National World War I Centennial Commemoration in Washington, 2018.
During his long career as a composer and music producer, Bilous has collaborated on many projects that foster understanding and social awareness including the documentary films “Scottsboro” (2001 Academy Award nominee) and “Portraits of Grief – A Tribute to the Victims of the September 11th Tragedy” (New York Times Television) and “Forgiveness” (PBS).

Bilous received his MM and DMA from the Juilliard School, composition with Elliott Carter and Vincent Persichetti and B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music, composition with Charles Wuorinen and Elias Tannenbaum. He also studied privately with Krzysztof Penderecki and Roger Sessions.

Mike Headshot - Mike Dearborn.JPG

mike dearborn: co-founder, TiM Digital Onboarding

Mike Dearborn started his filmmaking career by telling stories with Legos and the family video camera. Since then, he's graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the arts with an BFA in Film & Television Production, graduated from the Directors Guild of America's (DGA) Assistant Director Training Program and joined the Guild as a 2nd Assistant Director, working on features and series such as John Wick 2, Law and Order: SVU, The Knick and many more. Mike is also the Co Founder of TiM Digital Onbaording, a technology company that's revolutionizing the way the entertainment industry wrangles hiring paperwork for it's casts and crews.

Zachary Gay - Zachary Gay.jpg

zachary gay: senior software engineer, wayfair

My current focus is AR and using it to improve the experience of shoppers on Wayfair's storefront. My background is mostly in iOS development and I've used those skills in a large number of domains (E-Commerce, CAN bus data collection, EHR, etc).

I'm passionate about science and engineering and can usually be found, on my own time, hacking away on side projects, playing videos game or watching science videos online.

linkedin - Eric Hsiao.jpeg

eric hsiao: Software Engineer,

Eric is an engineer with over 8 years of experience working at different startups around Boston including HubSpot and VerbalCare. Currently, he is at where he does full stack development with a specialty in mobile machine learning on Android.

Judy Mam.png

Judy Mam: Co-founder and CMO,

Judy Mam is the cofounder of, the only social network where artists from all over the world speak to each other through digital drawings, creating provably rare collaborative art in the blockchain. Judy handles marketing and communications for DADA. Before cofounding DADA, Yehudit was a creative director in advertising. She writes about film and other topics. She lives in New York.

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Andrew Shum: VP, Product, Sotheby’s

Andrew is an MIT '12 Course 6-2 alum. In 2015, he founded Thread Genius, a visual discovery startup focused on fashion and art. Thread Genius was recently acquired by Sotheby's to build the future of tech disruption within art and luxury commerce. Before that, he was an engineer at Spotify working on music recommendations. Andrew enjoys art and music, particularly the kind you find on Resident Advisor.

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rachana sreedhar: Wayfair

Rachana is currently working at Wayfair Next - Wayfair’s R&D group focusing on computer vision and Image processing projects. She has worked in areas such as 3D Computer Vision, Immersive 3D AR/VR, and 3D Graphics

BLTBluBot_Comp2 - Brian L. Tan 'BLT'.jpg

Brian L. “BLT” TAN: Co-Founder, Wrapal

For awhile, Brian L. Tan “BLT” lived a double life; working on studio features such as Tron: Legacy, X-Men First Class, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo whilst pursuing his own independent films, commercials, and documentaries by night. He's had some successes, including a few nationally broadcast commercials, a Top 20 finish in HBO's Project Greenlight, and winner of Condé Nast’s Best Travel Video 2017. He main gig is that he runs wrapal, the film industry’s first online marketplace that connects filmmakers to film locations. On top of his penchant for content creation, he is addicted to travel (90 countries and counting!), long walks by the beach, and talking about himself in third person on a bio he totally did not write.

Tim Zhang - Tim Zhang.jpg

tim zhang: research engineer, wayfair

Tim Zhang received his MS in Predictive Analytics at DePaul University. He is currently a research engineer at Wayfair Research with a primary focus on 3D machine learning. He is also the founder of Boston Computational Creativity Meetup group, a cohesive off-line group for people passionate about the intersection between art, creativity and technology.



Never attended Hacking Arts before? Please read our FAQ, and be sure to email us if you still have questions.


Never attended Hacking Arts before? Please read our FAQ, and be sure to email us if you still have questions.


Hackathon admission is free (with a refundable $10 deposit)! This includes food, drinks, and some awesome late-night entertainment. If your application is accepted, you will have access to the rest of the festival as well with no additional cost!


Why do we collect a deposit?

We have a long wait list of Hackathon applicants. We collect a deposit to make sure that you are committed to participating. We will refund you the full deposit when you arrive, and provide meals, space and materials to you free of charge.



Unfortunately we are unable to provide any reimbursement for travel or housing for Hackathon participants. Housing is not necessary to participate in the Hackathon. Whether or not you stay in the area is at your discretion.



No, sorry. We are not able to provide any legal endorsements for visas of any sort. 



The Festival and the Hackathon are two separate events under the umbrella of Hacking Arts. The festival is designed to inspire you, while the Hackathon is for you to put your ideas and skills to use. 

Each are ticketed individually. Those wishing to attend the Festival can purchase a ticket. Those wishing to attend and participate in the Hackathon must submit an application. Entry to the Hackathon is free for accepted applicants. 


What are the creative arts?

Creative arts include visual art, design, music, fashion, performing arts, virtual reality, gaming, film and video. But no one can put a limit on artistic innovation - all creative interests are welcome. 


What is an arts hackathon?

Hacking Arts is 24-hour competition designed to push innovation in the arts and entertainment field. It’s all about connecting creative and ambitious minds with the necessary tools to foster collaboration in the arts through technology. We bring resources specifically for creative technologists and artists to help you push the boundaries during our Hackathon. You'll learn, share, build, and create awesome things during the Hackathon, we promise. 


Who can attend?

All students and young professionals are welcome! This includes university undergraduates, graduate students, and young professionals active in arts and entertainment space. We welcome experienced designers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and artists as well as total beginners eager to join a team. MIT students and partner school students are given preference. 



People under the age of 18 are not admitted to attend the Hacking Arts Hackathon, but are welcome to purchase a ticket for the festival.



We will help accommodate your dietary restriction. There is a field on the application form to describe your needs. 



Yes. We will keep you fed and hydrated while you and all of the other hackers work through the night to solve problems, create something new, and innovate arts. 


How big are teams?

Teams may contain 3-6 people. We run a team formation and ideation session to make sure you find the right people to work with. If you have friends you would want to work with, please encourage them to apply. Applications are for individuals only and we are not able to guarantee entry for all applicants. We believe that diversity of personalities and ideas foster creativity, so we encourage you to work with new people.


Whom can i expect to meet and work with at the HACKATHON?

Hackers who attend the Hackathon come from all skill sets and backgrounds. You will interact with technical, creative, and entrepreneurial-minded people.



Note that applications are for individuals, we are unfortunately unable to accept hackers off the waiting list based on prior arrangements for teams. We will have a team formation period at the event.


Do I need to come with an idea?

You can come with an idea or without, and we will help you find a team during the team formation and ideation session.  


What can I build?

In addition to our sponsored challenges and API hacks, we strongly encourage ALL hackathon participants come up with creative projects and bring them to life. Final projects will be judged based on creativity, technical use, disruptiveness, and usefulness.  


What should I bring?

All hackers are required to bring a valid ID for admission. Please bring your laptop, hardware (if you want to do a hardware hack), or any additional gear you might find useful.


Can I see examples from previous years?

A recap of previous winners can be found below:


I can't attend anymore, how do I cancel my ticket?

We’ll miss you, but will be grateful you’ve let us know so we can fill your spot.  



Code of Conduct, Terms & Conditions

Code of Conduct, Terms & Conditions

Hacking Arts Hackathon 2018

Code of Conduct

Hacking Arts is committed to diversity, equity and inclusivity. We believe that every single person has the right to hack in a safe and welcoming environment that fosters open dialogue and the free expression of ideas, free of harassment, discrimination, and hostile conduct. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and maintain that environment for the benefit of all. Harassment includes but is not limited to offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. 

If what you’re doing is making someone feel uncomfortable, that counts as harassment and is enough reason to stop doing it. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Sponsors, judges, mentors, volunteers, organizers, Hacking Arts staff and anyone else at the event are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, attendees should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material both in their hacks and during the event. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment. If a participant engages in harassing behavior, Hacking Arts may take any action HA deems appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event with no eligibility for reimbursement or refund of any type. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact Hacking Arts using the reporting procedures defined below. 

Hacking Arts 2018 Leadership reserves the right to revoke any enrollments for any reason. Without limiting the foregoing, Hacking Arts 2018 Leadership reserves the right to remove you from the Event if Hacking Arts 2018 Leadership determines in its sole discretion that you are: (i) violating the spirit or intention of the Event; (ii) are acting in a manner that interferes with the enjoyment of others attending the Event; and/or (iii) you are found breaking, or to have broken, any applicable law. Be respectful. 


If you feel uncomfortable or think there may be a potential violation of the code of conduct, please report it immediately using one of the following methods. All reporters have the right to remain anonymous.If you are uncomfortable reporting your situation to one or more of these people or need to contact any of them directly in case of emergency, direct contact details are listed below: or fill-up the form at


Participant understands that the Hackathon may be photographed, videotaped, recorded, etc. and hereby grants Hacking Arts the right to use or refrain from using Participant’s name and/or likeness. You hereby agree to permit Hacking Arts to record your attendance at the Event. Hacking Arts shall have the right to record, film and photograph your attendance at the Festival, Hackathon, Workshops or Tech Expo and to distribute, broadcast or otherwise disseminate your attendance, for commercial purposes or otherwise, in whole or in part, throughout the world, in perpetuity, in any and all media now known or hereafter developed. The rights granted herein also include, but are not limited to, the right to promote Hacking Arts, MIT and its Organizations and to use the same either alone or together with supporting information, such as your name, voice, photograph, likeness, biographical data, and submitted information. You agree that Hacking Arts may designate or sublicense others, e.g., distributors or broadcasters, to distribute the any such recordings and that these designees will have the same rights you have granted to Hacking Arts hereunder. 


Hacking Arts does not claim any license or any intellectual property rights in Participant’s submission, except for the limited license to review the submission as part of Hackathon judging and awarding of prizes. We encourage participants to open source their projects to both share their hacks with the greater community and promote innovation in this space.
By submitting a Hackathon entry for judging or accepting any prize, you represent and warrant the following: (a) you will not submit content that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the content and to grant Hacking Arts Hackathon all of the rights granted herein; 


We welcome undergraduates, graduates and young professionals, with a preference for accepted Hackathon applications from current students. We expect participants to form teams which should be a minimum of 2 and maximum of 6; these teams may be formed in advance or at our team formation event during the Hackathon, but all projects should be initiated and completed during the Hackathon itself. We strongly encourage teams that reflect the diversity of Hacking Arts attendees - traditionally Hacking Arts has had students join from a broad range of schools (MIT, Tufts/SMFA, New England Conservatory, Harvard, Northeastern, RISD, Brown, MassArt, Emerson, Mt. Holyoke, NYU ITP and more… take advantage of the opportunity!). Last year’s hackathon was ~59% women and we had strong contingents of engineers/programmers, artists/designers, business students and creative technologists who defy categorization! 


Contest prizes are non-transferable by the winner. If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting such prize. Hacking Arts 2018 Leadership reserves the right to revise, make exceptions to, or otherwise change this Agreement at any time in whole or in part. with or without notice. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact