Students showcase cyber security inventions at Hackathon competition

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley students debuted twelve weeks of brainstorming, research and building at Sinclair Community College Wednesday. Beyond a normal science fair, the high school Hackathon competition showcased student smart home projects.

The AT&T sponsored event required 25 small groups from area high schools to design solutions for cyber home security. At Wednesday’s event, the students presented their final products to judges.

Projects ranged from phone applications and computer programs to drones and robots.

A team from Ponitz High School showed off its voice-activated smart mirror. The students in the group were selected for their interest in technology.

Ponitz senior Massiyah Smith said, “My pathway (in school) is information technology and I’ve always been interested in how computers work.”

Sinclair Professor Mike Libassi explained, “The Hackathon is bringing students together and leveraging their creativity to solve problems of the future and today.”

Organizers called the young inventors the tech industry’s next rising stars.

“There’s such a great need for people to take these kind of jobs: coding cyber security, data analysis. All of things are so needed right now,” said Mark Romito, director of external affairs at AT&T.

The top groups in several categories won their own smart home gadgets, but many of the competitors say the experience itself was rewarding.

“It taught me a lot of things I didn’t know,” said Smith. “I plan on going to college and majoring in network security or computer science.”