20-21 February 2016 was an eventful weekend for us at Materialise Malaysia: it marked the date of our first public hackathon, located right at our office in Menara OBYU, Damansara Perdana! The Precedent About a few months ago, we held a similar hackathon event (known as a Hack-A-Thon within Materialise), where our employees came up with various prototypes and proofs-of-concept relating to some of Materialise’s core competencies, including 3D printing and STL object manipulation. It was an internal event that gathered people from Sales, Engineering Services and Software Engineering backgrounds, to work without restrictions on any project they felt like.
Considering the positive reaction, we made it a public event. As a result, we witnessed how the simple concept of a hackathon could actually be a great idea creation platform. The months and months of hard work leading up to the public event finally paid off, with 52 participants from 18 teams registering for the event. The participants not only consisted of students from various backgrounds, but also of other working professionals. The hackathon itself was held from 20-21st of February, with Designex 3D as the event sponsors, and the Multimedia Development Corporation of Malaysia (MDeC) as event supporters. The 24-hour event displayed various proofs-of-concept, from Braille web-platforms for the blind, to cost-cutting dental kits for dentures! After enduring sleepless nights of programming, designing (and maybe some ping-pong as well), we identified two winners for the hackathon. The ‘Most Impactful’ award was won by a group from Nottingham University, Malaysia Campus for their 3D Braille Library (Braille Hub), and they received a 3D printer from Designex3D as their prize. The ‘Most Innovative’ award was won by a group from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman for their stem cell grafting design (Building Stem Cell Grafting by Using 3D Printer), and they received a cash prize of RM3,000 from Materialise.
The MADE Project "Looking back at those two Hack-A-Thons, one would never have expected that these would be the ideas to come out of a business plan I drove as a Software Engineer here at Materialise Malaysia." Firdaus continues, "It all started back in 2014, when I had the opportunity to work on a business proposal as part of the MADE* program. I was already a hackathon fanatic, having previously participated in a few similar competitions in Malaysia and Europe. I saw the added value of these competitions, and the learning opportunity it could bring to people. This was clearly echoed by one of the participants in this Hack-A-Thon as well. As a result of successfully ‘defending’ the program, I won a budget approval to run an inaugural Hack-A-Thon, in-house, amongst colleagues." The rest, as they say, is history.
*MADE is an acronym for ‘Materialise + Autonomy + Development = Expansion’, a program that started in Materialise Malaysia in 2012. Materialise employees selected for this program will undergo a 6-week program, with the help of a coach, their People Manager, and a Business Unit Director / Management team, to build and defend a business case.