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UCC hackers impress at University of Toronto event

A team comprised of three Upper Canada College students was the only one from a high school invited to demonstrate their product at the conclusion of UofTHacks III.

The Jan. 22 to 24 “hackathon” at the University of Toronto attracted 500 university and secondary school students who engaged in 36 hours of collaborative computer programming.

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The “push-up T-shirt” and its creators.

UCC was represented by Simon Guo, Nicholas O’Brien and Jack Sarick, who were accompanied by teacher Mark Hoel. Their goal was to create a smart T-shirt involving wearable technology.

“It will scan your body position when you do push-ups by computing the data from flex sensors on the shirt, and count how many push-ups you did,” says Guo.

“If you did it wrong, it will show instructions on an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) and a buzzer will make a noise. Otherwise, the OLED will show your body data like heart rate, body temperature and your body shaking level.”

Major League Hacking — which holds hackathons across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe — provided some hardware for the project along with what the boys brought themselves. Equipment included sensors and an Arduino micro-controller.

A mentor from Intel helped them and they also shared ideas with several university students before they were asked by organizers to demonstrate how their product worked by doing correct and incorrect push-ups.

“We were the youngest people to participate and we probably earned the first credit for our school in the Major League Hacking rankings,” says Guo.

“They have a great future ahead of them.” Hoel says of his young hackers.

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