News at DCU

Bluetape announced as Winner of PCH Hardware Hackathon

11 New Consumer Devices Designed and Created During One Weekend in Dublin

“Hackathons are today’s garages where innovators get their start.” – Liam Casey, Founder and CEO of PCH

PCH, the Irish company that designs custom product solutions for startups and Fortune 500 companies, today announced BlueTape, which developed and prototyped a Bluetooth connected tape measure, has won the PCH Hardware Hackathon at DCU Innovation Campus. The product aims to reduce clothing returns for online retailers by helping customers find the right fit first time and was created in just 54 hours, from Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th May.

The two-day PCH Hardware Hackathon, in partnership with DCU and Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) and sponsored by leading computing innovation company Intel, is the third PCH Hackathon to take place at the DCU Innovation Campus. It brought together over 100 makers, collaborators, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs from Dublin’s hardware startup ecosystem, who had access to the latest prototyping equipment and mentoring from leading technology industry representatives.

Over the course of the weekend, participants collaborated to hack new hardware devices from concept, to working prototype, to final product. They ultimately developed a range of functioning hardware devices that have the potential to have consumer appeal and to answer a consumer need.

●      First prize went to BlueTape, which developed and prototyped a connected tape measure. The team was awarded a €3,000 cash prize, a service design workshop with Each&Other as well as a free starter office for four months at the DCU Innovation Campus, should they wish to pursue and further develop their idea;

●      In second place was Zero, which created a smart tri-shoe, designed to reduce the time for shoe changes during triathlons;

●      Third place was awarded to AutoAngel, which developed a ‘plug and play’ car emergency call system.

Among the other prototypes devised and created at the PCH Hardware Hackathon were a smart fish lure which adjusts depth based on water temperature, a wearable health monitor, a smart oil management gauge, a health monitoring ‘checkup’ chair, a person to person community advertising platform, a connected weight monitoring device which is retrofitted to beds, a pedestrian tracking device to inform city planning and a throwable nightlight to help allay children’s fear of the dark.

Liam Casey, Founder and CEO of PCH said, “Hackathons accelerate innovation – helping entrepreneurs meet each other, create working prototypes, develop marketing pitches and test product appeal. The pace of development, the scale of ambition and the significant levels of creativity that we witness over just two days, is always outstanding. Hackathons are today’s garages where innovators get their start.”

Katherine Hague, VP Community Engagement and Hackathons at PCH added, “We are very excited to have hosted our third Hackathon in Dublin and to see such creativity and passion for product innovation here. We want to thank all participants for coming out over the weekend, not only the incredible hackathon teams, but also our partners DCU and ID2015, our sponsor Intel, technology providers and industry-leading panelists who supported. We love hosting Hardware Hackathons because we see design, ingenuity, creativity and technology come together very quickly with astonishing results.”

Prof. Brian MacCraith, DCU President said, "We are very pleased to partner once again with PCH on a hardware hackathon and to welcome ID2015 as an important partner in this event. The University has a key role to play in fostering innovation and encouraging excitement around the Internet of Things and these hackathons are instrumental in achieving that goal with our key partners. There is such a great opportunity now to develop the next generation of connected products, and we want our engineering and design community to join forces so that Ireland can play a leading role in this space.”

Philip Moynagh, Vice President in the Internet of Things Group, Intel said, “The digital world has been completely transformed in the last 20 years.  Now the real world is colliding with this fast moving digital realm: this next computing wave driven by the Internet of Things.   Those who can move quickly and seize opportunities real time will benefit most from this transformation.  There is no better demonstration of the opportunity of IoT than at a hardware hackathon. Watching hundreds of engineers, developers, designers, artists, and entrepreneurs starting with real-world-problems, spending 48 hours of collaborative making to produce real functioning prototypes is just fantastic. Of course, it’s all the more exciting for us when these smart solutions use Intel Inside.”

Karen Hennessy, CEO, Irish Design 2015 added, “Irish Design 2015 is delighted to partner with the PCH Hackathon for their third year in Dublin, especially in this landmark year celebrating Irish design. Events and activities as part of ID2015, both at home and abroad, are helping to position Ireland at the heart of a design-focused, forward-thinking creative economy, highlighting the quality of Irish design to audiences around the world in order to generate export opportunities and raise our overall global competitiveness.”

Hackathon participants began by pitching ideas to the crowd on Friday evening. After the best ideas were voted on, the participants worked together in teams over the weekend to bring their idea to life.

The PCH Hackathon also included a startup pitch showcase on the Friday night, where two non-Hackathon participants with established startups in the Dublin area presented to the audience. The companies were:

●      Wind Urchin, represented by Robert McCarthy, which is setting out to be the Apple of Wind Measurement. The company’s first product measures wind in 3D using 64 pilot tubes spread equally around its body, resulting in more accurate wind measurement then are possible in the field today.

●      Signatur, represented by Kevin Loaec, is the most secure way for bitcoin investors to store their bitcoins for long periods of time. Signatur uses German eChip passport technology to secure bitcoins in a physical device, away from the threats of viruses and hackers.

These startups were hand selected by the PCH team from dozens of applicants prior to the event and were showcased as sample pitches to inspire the hackathon attendees and kick-off the weekend. Each of the companies were awarded €500 for their participation.

The event concluded with a lively panel discussion on the global hardware revolution and future of hardware development, with leading industry figures discussing how they took their companies from initial prototype to market.

The global tech figures involved were:

-       Sarah McDonald, Director Country IT Lead, MSD

-       Emer O’Daly, Co-Founder,

-       Jack Phelan, COO, Drop

-       Gaia Dempsey, Co-Founder DAQRI

-       Tim Hannon, General Manager, Computers, Harvey Norman Ireland

-       Niall Austin, Co-Founder of Moocall Sensors

Panel discussions were moderated by Ann O’Dea, CEO and Editor-at-Large at Silicon Republic and Katherine Hague, VP Community Engagement & Hackathons at PCH

Further details on the winning products as well as videos and photography from the event are available at