Be ITMO was held as part of the Strategic Project Well-Being that aims to create an environment stimulating the all-round development of ITMO staff and students. One of the stages of the project includes the development of the Digital Happiness Profile, a system to help manage the well-being and health of ITMO.Family. This system is currently under development, however, as noted by Lyudmila Tsoy, a manager at ITMO’s Creative and Corporate Projects Planning Center, it is impossible to create such complex solutions without turning to ITMO staff and students. The recent hackathon presented a great opportunity to look at the product from a different perspective and engage as many people as possible in its development. 

The event was open for anyone, not only members of ITMO.Family but also other developers looking to create a new product – the only requirement for any team was that it had to include at least one member representing the university and familiar with its infrastructure. 

Participating teams were welcome to choose one of the following tasks: developing an interface of data analysis for the digital happiness profile, as well as the underlying logic; creating a gamification mechanism that will increase the motivation and engagement of ITMO.Family in the university’s corporate culture. 

The expert board of the hackathon. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

The expert board of the hackathon. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

On June 22, the 20 participating teams presented their prototypes of apps and services that will assist students with a variety of tasks, from signing up to events to making new friends. 

According to the organizers, these solutions will help students quickly adapt to ITMO’s corporate culture and lifestyle, supporting their growth within six areas: 

  • be pro (professional development) 
  • be healthy (mental and physical well-being) 
  • be eco (conscious consumption) 
  • be fit (sports) 
  • be friendly (personal development and social connections) 
  • be open (a comfortable environment)

The hackathon’s winning team, selected by the expert board, received 100,000 rubles to support the implementation of their solutions; the teams in the second and third places were awarded 70,000 rubles and 50,000 rubles respectively. Additionally, the three teams were invited to work on their solutions as part of the university’s tech teams. 

“What the teams presented today beats all expectations – the products are so thoroughly developed! So my impressions are very positive. Choosing the winner was a challenge because the majority of teams came up with truly cool, inspiring projects. We are currently looking at each presentation one more time so as to start assembling a group of students not only from the winning teams to continue developing the Digital Happiness Profile,” said Evgeny Raskin, ITMO’s Vice Rector for Youth Policy and coordinator of the Well-Being project. 

Evgeny Raskin. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Evgeny Raskin. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev / ITMO.NEWS

Winning projects

A new mobile app, inspired by dating services and games. The first place went to the team ITigers, who developed an app that allows users to track ITMO events, sign up for them, get recommendations, and unlock achievements. Say, for instance, you want to join the Bike Ride With the Rector. To sign up, you just swipe right; then, after the event is over, you will unlock the achievement “Rector is here!” In the app, the university is divided into locations that open after you complete a number of achievements – so you advance from easy to more complex ones, like in a computer game. Users are introduced into the app with a tutorial, a number of tips indicating where to click for specific results. According to the developers, all these features will help students quickly adapt to life at ITMO. 

“In the future, we want to introduce even more ideas that will motivate users to cooperate instead of ranking them against each other. This way, students in the same group or members of the same department will collaborate to complete tasks in all six areas, from be pro to be open,” explained Grigory Simonov, the team’s captain, a second-year student of the Information Technologies and Programming Faculty. 

Personalized feed for the my.itmo app. This solution was suggested by team Masterminds, who came second in the hackathon. The team believe that the existing feed of the app needs to mimic those found on social media, so that students can tweak it to their liking and use it to track their progress within the six areas of Be ITMO. Additionally, the solution features challenges that will reward students with achievements when completed. 

Next, the team is planning to add the option of linking the app with a wearable fitness tracker to monitor students’ well-being, as noted by Andrey Borisov, the team’s captain, a second-year student of the Institute of Applied Computer Science. He adds that the app can be used not only at ITMO, but other universities as well. 

A mobile app with its own currency. The third place went to the team hahatoners with the app ITMO.STUDYPASS that assigns students with missions within each of the six areas – for every week or each semester. Examples of missions include attending classes, taking a psychological survey, volunteering, or doing sports. By completing each mission, students earn points and upgrade their level. The higher their level, the more ITMOcoins a user will have. In the future, the team is planning to create an online store where students can use their ITMOcoins to purchase, for instance, the university’s merch, as shared by team captain Alexander Semenovsky, an ITMO graduate.