Innovation Reigns: BA Staré Mesto’s Hackathon Winners Revealed


The fourth MIRRI SR hackathon, funded by the Recovery and Resilience Plan, concluded at the Campus on Saturday, September 9. Young talents and experienced IT professionals had the opportunity to design solutions that enhance the everyday life of citizens. This time, the challenge’s theme was proposed by the city district of Bratislava–Staré Mesto, with the goal of creating a modern system for controlling and authorizing the entry of vehicles into the historic center of Bratislava.

This time we were pleasantly surprised by the international composition of the competitors. In addition to Slovaks and Czechs, participants included Hungarians, Ukrainians, and even an Austrian. The involvement of two high school teams and students from high school selection programs demonstrates that there are many future talents growing in Slovak schools, whose ideas can move the entire country towards a better, digitized future.

Why are digital solutions necessary for the modernization of urban areas?

The main reason the BA Staré Mesto district decided to participate in the project is the current system of registering and allowing vehicles to enter the city center, which relies on an Excel spreadsheet and manual control by the city police. The lack of a modern and digital solution often leads to errors, lowering the comfort of citizens in pedestrian zones. “The historical center of the capital is intended to serve mainly its residents and visitors with an absolute preference for pedestrian movement. The entry of any vehicles must therefore be strictly monitored. These are, for example, vehicles used to supply operations, which attract life and lively atmosphere to the center, but also police, city police and emergency services vehicles,” said Petr Skalník, deputy mayor for development and modernization of the Bratislava-Staré Mesto district.

And the winners of the hackathon are…

The winning team named ZARF was led by Adam Pastirčák. During the hackathon, they designed a system for digitizing the creation and submission of applications for entering the city district and automated scanning of license plates of vehicles entering the historic zone. The gate controlling entry can thus remain open for everyone, and each vehicle is individually informed whether it is allowed to enter the center or, on the contrary, does not belong in the Old Town. A key element of their proposal is the possibility of automatically sending fines in case of unauthorized entry, while the system can inform the police forces in real time. A bonus is the collection of important data such as the frequency of entry of each vehicle and the time it stays in the zone.

“It was a great weekend. What we experience every day was confirmed – that things cannot be done from a desk. The assignment, which at first seemed easy, ended up tormenting us and we had to redo our plan several times. In the end, the ‘best ramp is no ramp’ approach won, or to put it another way – simplicity is beauty. ‘ Thanks to the flawless organization, these 36 hours went by even faster than we expected. We are happy that we get such opportunities in Slovakia and we are already looking forward to the next challenge,” said Adam Pastirčák for the winners. His colleague Marek Gogoľ saw it similarly: “What a hack. This is one of the TOP events that we recommend every passionate person who likes to innovate, improve and move things forward to join. In the team, we have verified that if everyone pulls together, nothing is impossible. We thank you!”

The second place was won by the Fireflies design team from the Lighting Beetle studio led by Lukáš Oškera. They proposed the removal of the current retractable bollards preventing entry and the introduction of access control using cameras. They even designed a system thanks to which these cameras can automatically recognize vehicles belonging to emergency services. They suggested solving unauthorized vehicle entries through the institute of objective liability. Their camera system is affordable and scalable.

Third place, just like during the June hackathon “My Data”, was again taken by the Wezeo team. They built their solution on the design of the system’s architecture and its functionalities, while subsequently focusing on an application that would accompany citizens through the entire process of applying for the registration of their vehicle for entry, which also includes a simple chatbot. The solution also includes an option to create admin accounts for employees of the police force. City employees have the option of approving entry for various groups of vehicles – for example, taxi services, residents, and supplying businesses in the Old Town. The city police, on the other hand, has the option of emergency opening of bollards in the event of the need for emergency services to enter. “We evaluate the hackathon positively. Our team, in this composition, participated in this composition for the first time, but we can already say that it will certainly not be the last. Our team cooperated excellently and tirelessly. We were interested in the proposed topic of vehicle entry into the historic center, for which we tried to propose a solution. I think that, considering the jury’s assessment, we succeeded quite well. Our satisfaction was also helped by the super organization on the part of the Campus people,” said Matej Glasnák from the Wezeo team.

The winning teams shared a financial reward of 6,000 euros, but each participant left with a lot of new experiences and contacts. The organizational Campus team provided refreshments, high-quality Wi-Fi and, for the most diligent, even the opportunity to stay in the coworking space and hack during the night from Friday to Saturday. Approximately 15 contestants actually used this opportunity.

See you in October!

MIRRI SR is determined to continue organizing hackathons financed from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which bring innovations and modern IT solutions to the daily life of Slovak citizens. Through the website, 2- to 5-member teams consisting of participants with the ability to program and create applications, as well as experience from other areas of IT and business, can already register for the upcoming hackathon “Digital Twin of the City of Prešov”, which will be held on October 20th – 21st in Prešov.

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