Code writers vie for cash at Innov8 Lafayette

Teams vie for prize in ‘Aging in Place’ technology contest

Computer code writers — some 75 of them — labored all day and into the night Thursday to come up with a prize-winning program on the second day of the Innov8 Lafayette conference.

Code writers at the Picard Center, who are vying for thousands of dollars in cash, started arriving early Thursday. Their mission was to create a computer program, smartphone app, device or process that fits with the theme “Aging in Place and the Internet of Things.”

Winners of the CajunCodeFest will be those teams designing products that best help the elderly continue to live at home and not in hospitals or nursing homes.

But the program writers had to work long and hard just to finish.

They started coding at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, said Andrea Aloisio, of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Center for Business and Information Technologies.

By the time the deadline comes, at noon Friday, they will have been at it for 28 hours, she said.

Some will have grabbed a few winks. Others will have labored through on coffee and candy, said Ryan Benton, a research scientist for UL-Lafayette’s Center for Visual and Decision Informatics.

“My role is really to be here in case the developers and designers have questions, like ‘Where’s the food? What happened to the Internet?’ so they don’t panic,” Benton said.

Coders on Thursday morning heard announcements about “data sets” and “data bumps” and something termed “data palooza.”

Benton surveyed the room of calm coders and conceded the scene might be different later.

“I suspect later tonight or tomorrow, as the deadline gets closer, you’ll find some people stressed,” he said.

Stephanie Tucker and Oscar Pinzon, both with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, worked on a program for the elderly that would act as a patient management system.

It was to alert doctors miles away if there’s a medical problem and also serve as a medicine calendar, a medical encyclopedia and other functions, Tucker said.

Pinzon said they were building an “enabling technology.”

On Friday, after judges choose the best products from the top five teams, coders from each team will have five minutes to pitch their program to the judges. Final presentations and the awards ceremony will take place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise Center next door to the Picard Center on East Devalcourt Street.

Also during the Innov8 event, three oil field companies were recognized by the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition for their high-tech products.

For designers at oil and gas service companies 3rd Dimension Media, C&C Technologies and Cimation, the design and testing work had long been completed by Thursday night, when LAGCOE showcased the energy firms in a Spotlight on Energy Innovation.

LAGCOE Executive Director Angela Cring said it was Innov8’s first event focused on the energy industry.

3rd Dimension Media was recognized for a smartphone app that’s like a mobile trade show, enabling the user to call up oil and gas service companies and the products and services they offer, Cring said.

Cimation, a Houston company with a Lafayette office, was cited for its virtual laboratory called the University Online Training Solution.

C&C Technologies, a Lafayette company, got the nod for its AUV submarines, or autonomous underwater vehicles, which explore terrain under thousands of feet of water for oil and gas producers.