Big ideas meet cautionary advice in week 1 of Ultimate Coder Challenge

Week 1 of Ultimate Coder is behind us and it’s been another exciting start to the Ultimate Coder Challenge.  Challengers, for the first time, exposed their ideas and approaches to building  futuristic applications where the mere waving of hands, tracking of eyes, or speaking out loud control the app experience.

The apps are rich and varied from the Sixense team’s puppet platform, to Simian Squared’s app giving users the ability to sculpt virtual clay with real hands. Eskil is thinking big, offering three apps that aim to change the PC experience.  Peter is building a voice, gesture and touch-enabled photo editing app. Lee is working on a new kind of webcam that reinvents the category.  And don’t forget games; SG1 Gunship goes hands-free from Code-Monkeys, while Infrared5/Brass Monkey take on a bird vs cat game of revenge. Catch up on all the posts here.

As judge Nicole Scott put it on Google*+:

Our conclusion was that Intel did a darn good job of bringing together a really varied and interesting group of developers. The projects are all pretty different, from highly specialized industry applications to titillating entertainment.

The judges appear to be impressed, and possibly too impressed. From Steve “Chippy” Paine of

It’s almost worrying to see the complexity of the projects being taken on here. Seriously, there are 7 weeks in total and teams are taking on huge projects. The bar is being set extremely high but if rich and engaging results come out at the end it will be a win for everyone watching.

Judges know seven weeks is short, so they are trying to make sense of the timeline with what they are hearing from Challengers. Could we be seeing early exuberance from Challengers…have some bitten off more than they can chew, are judges are underestimating  the skill, or perhaps the talent and skill level has been upped this go around?

One thing is certain.  The ideas are big this time, and the judges have taken notice. Where this lands between shooting too high vs going big might be evident in what we are already seeing in week 1.  It is just one week but look at where some of these guys are.  Infrared 5 is showing impressive character building and a story line for their game from this recent post on their site:

Also look at Simians concept art and test screen of perceptual control.  These guys are serious:

Judges also took time this week to set expectations for the challengers.   Judge Chris Maunder of the Code Project goes as far as to outline his expectations, wanting to see apps that not only leverage perceptual computing but are apps that leverage the Ultrabook  hardware platform features AND are a desirable app experience for the device:

What I mean by this is that an application that is an existing application shoehorned into an Ultrabook with support for an Ultrabook tacked on in a way that doesn’t harmonise with the original application will not get my vote.

Read all the judges posts.

So week one has been a BIG week.  Challengers have put a tall order of work and judges have made their expectations clear. Off we go to week 2.  See ya there!