Students of the IT Master program Services Computing (SCM) learn how the Internet of Things (IoT) will enable new digital services at home, for recreation, while shopping and for many more activities. Hackathons provide a great instrument to apply learnt scientific know-how. As a result, students experience individually and directly how newly created digital environments will behave.

The following video shows a hackathon project where IoT technology retrofits home devices and will enable new digital services.

Fridge Retrofitting, SCM Hackathon project @HHZ

Hackathon Projects

Hackathon’s objective: Students shall systematically research how IoT technology will support mundane daily activities in the upcoming Smart Home and Smart Shop environments.

During the 2-day hackathon the SCM students work on various projects. The following list provides a short overview. All projects have a comprehensive documentation on Github.

Fridge Retrofitting

Smartphones are Internet enabled sensor and communication devices. They are our permanent companions and run powerful camera apps. This project researches how well a temporarily fride-attached smartphone will detect and identify items in the fridge. Determining the fridge inventory is a basic service for a range of other services within Smart Home and Smart Shop scenarios.

Project wiki

Social Reporter

The lecture room is for a our students an important digital area of life. Previous hackathons have implemented digital services into the room supporting teaching and learning. The lecture room acts as a smart environment assisting teaching and learning activities in a calm and unobtrusive manner. The Social Reporter supports the lecturer in creating social media content for an increased public attention of the HHZ. The service is deeply embedded into the smart environment , therefore creating the experience the room itself reports on its activities within.

Project wiki

SmartFridge Barcode

This project sketches an other approach where smart home devices supports smart shopping through a electronic shopping list. We expect that various devices capable of visually recording the environment are brought into the smart home. Such devices are for example, optical appliances for detecting movement, identifying situation, e.g. for safety reasons, or smart glasses. Students systematically investigate situations where such devices detect and identify items taken out of the fridge or put into a fridge. So, instead of detecting the fridge’s inventory, this project aims to detect and identify how the inventory changes.

Project wiki

Smart Checkout

Smart Checkout operates in retailer’s Smart Shop environment. A lot of customers use electronic shopping lists on their smartphones while shopping. This project investigates a cash desk cooperating with such a shopping list by automatically striking out items on the list when they are bought. The video shows how this function can be integrated in existing task tools, such as Wunderlist. Ultimately, this scenario supports planning and creation of lists as repeatedly bought items can be identified. Furthermore, it may enable the retailer to provide individual recommendations. A service we know from online retailers like Amazon.

Project wiki

Alexa Shopping List

This project investigates how a device-free interfaces in the Smart Home may support the Smart Shopping activities. Amazon’s Echo device with its Alexa speech service enables a user to create a shopping list without an extra device such as a smartphone. The system is a prototype demonstration how retailers can embed their own service residing in a user’s Smart Home. It expands the typical domain of a retail store and let the shopping experience start in the customer’s home.

Project wiki

Hackathon as part of the HHZ Research Method

At the HHZ these hackathons are part of the process to cooperate with partners from the industry on challenging reasearch questions. Hackathons help us to justify whether an initial idea is worth to be followed up or put back in favor for an other solution concepts. This implements a risk management approach and increases certainty for our partners to move towards a successful realization.

This method allows us to try out blue-sky, even exotic, ideas while controlling the project’s progress and not being afraid of bringing the project at an inevitable risk.


My students have compiled a comprehensive documentation available on Github. Check out their material.