There is something very inspiring about being surrounded by young, creative minds that puts all the frustrations of day to day life on the back burner. Such was the case this past weekend, where I had the opportunity to participate in def hacks() along with our head evangelist, Aaron Liao (@AaronLiao), and one of our engineers, Nick Reed (@nicholas_a_reed).

Def hacks() is a hackathon run by students, for students. Participants range from middle school kids, to high school, and up into college. This weekend was the Seattle def hacks(), run by two high school students and one college student. It was sponsored by Microsoft, Acumatica, DocuSign, Major League Hacking, GitHub and a few others. There were approximately 150 students who gathered this weekend in building 20 on the Microsoft campus to take the plunge into 24 hours of creativity, coding, and cool new friends. They got an opportunity to learn about everything from the HoloLens, to Android mobile development, to APIs such as Emotions, and of course DocuSign.

Opening remarks even came from somebody famous. Mark Russinovich (@MarkRussinovich), the CTO of Microsoft Azure, author of engineering tomes and science fiction adventures, and a living example of how a cool project can become a real business and make you famous, shared with students his experiences. He even inspired a few of the rest of us along the way.

There were mentors and evangelists there to help, but the students did the heavy lifting themselves, and came up with some pretty creative projects. For example, the overall winner created a Hololens immersive experience to help those with autism learn emotions.

The winner of the DocuSign API challenge will hopefully make good use of the Amazon Echo devices that they took home as part of the prize pack as their hack – named VoicePassport – demonstrated eSignature via voice recognition. I confess I got caught up in trying to beat it, even going so far as imitating the voice of one of the students who created it. I was not successful. 🙂 Congratulations to Campion Fellin (@campionfellin) and Alvin Maanalastas (@mynameisalvinm) for VoicePassport!

First runner up for the DocuSign API challenge built a pizza ordering/customization program called “It’s Not Delivery It’s Decoding,” leveraging the DocuSign eSignature API to sign for your pizza order once you’ve finished decorating it with the appropriate amount of pepperoni and pineapples. Great job Clare Mason, Asa Davidson, Iain Bromley, and Ruebe Tiow!

It’s incredible to watch what students can build using our APIs and the resources on our developer center – often in just 24 hours. What will your next API integration/hack be?