Michigan Stadium is hosting a hackathon this weekend

Sep 20, 2013

Participants in last year's hackathon present their invention. Last year's competition was on North Campus. This year, hackers will compete in The Big House.
Participants in last year's hackathon present their invention. Last year's competition was on North Campus. This year, hackers will compete in The Big House.
Credit Michigan Engineering / Flickr

Michigan Stadium will be full of college students this weekend. But these students aren't watching a football game -- they're hackers.

A University of Michigan group called MHacks is sponsoring a 36-hour hackathon. It's a competition that challenges participants to use technology to create inventions that solve modern problems.

Thomas Erdmann is a junior at Michigan and the president of MHacks. He says the word hacking gets a bad rap. Erdmann says the hackathon represents what the word hacking really means to engineers.

"It's constant creation," he said. "It's unregulated, unmanaged creation, whether it's building a website, building hardware, or building an application."

Erdmann says past hackers have created websites, mobile applications and computer software. He says competitors are coming to The Big House from as far as Poland.

"The products that come out of this are incredibly diverse and solve a lot of different problems," Erdmann said. "The common theme is that they require a lot of creativity. We're really bringing together the best engineers from around the world."

Competitors have 36 hours to impress a panel which includes top tech industry moguls. Hearst Automotive, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter are among the event's sponsors. They're handing out $25,000 in prizes.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom