Expanding student opportunity to create, innovate and learn into the 22nd century

NIU’S Huskie Hack is a free student event that includes computer coding blended with virtual reality, GIS, time art design, digital gaming, social science data, robotics, public data constructs for local government transparency, engineering, mobile application development and wearable technology. 

This year’s event will be an open hack where participants step back in time and take on the challenge of reinventing and reimaginning the past for the 22nd century. Expect food, fun, and swag as participants look to the past for inspiration in redefining the future of health, transportation, education, communication, energy and robotics. 

We're going retro this year, repurposing old materials and products into something new. Participants will spend 24+ hours engaged in developing fresh approaches to existing commercial products, games, ideas and problems. 

  • Utilize today’s coding capacities with new virtual reality aspects to repurpose the golden oldies of gaming like “Pong”. 
  • Reimagine the design of communication capacities for our aging Boomer population. 
  • Digitize static art, dance, and music into ambient light sources that can control moods, office environments, or hospital rooms to promote healing and wellbeing. 
  • Design fashion to include laser cutouts and wearable plastics created by 3D imaging.  


View full rules


Must be a full-time student from a middle school, high school, or college.  Student ID must be presented at check-in.


Hackers are open to reinvent and reimagine any exisiting possibility.  Specific prizes are related to applications in health, energy, education, communications, robotics and transportation.  Other prizes are open for creativity.  You may submit for more than one prize category but can only win one prize overall.

How to enter

You must submitt between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM on Sunday morning, November 6, 2016.  All submissions will be eligible for prize judging.  No remote applications accepted.  Participants may enter multiple categories but only one prize award per team of 4.

Ensure you full team information is uploaded prior to 8:00 AM for judging.


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Nicholas Karonis
NIU Computer Science Chair

John Winans

John Winans
NIU Computer Science Department

Stephen Haliczar

Stephen Haliczar
NIU - Retired

Beth Metzler

Beth Metzler
VP for Programs & Partnerships and STEM Finance Learning, Econ Illinois

Greg Laubenstein

Greg Laubenstein
Software Engineer, PayPal/Braintree

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Kate Metzler
Instructor, Morrison CUSD# 6

Reid Wixom

Marc Thorson

Marc Thorson

Kristin Brynteson

Kristin Brynteson
Director of Professional Development, Northern Illinois University P20 Center

Nick Korbel

Nick Korbel

Judging Criteria

  • Team Diversity
    Do you have a designated coder, engineer, a student(s) under the age of 18 yrs. on your team and a content specialist on your team-someone who is not technical but knows health, art, government, social services, environmental studies, etc.?
  • Technology
    How technically impressive was the hack? Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult? Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components? Did the technology involved make you go "Wow"?
  • Design
    Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface? How beautiful the CSS or graphics are. How good the human-computer interaction is (e.g. is it easy to use or does it use a cool interface)?
  • Completion
    Does the hack work? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?
  • Learning
    Did the team stretch themselves? Did they try to learn something new?