Category Archives: McMaster

McMaster teams finish 3rd and 8th at YHacks



A couple weeks ago I posted a story about a group of McMaster students participating in YHacks. It turns out several teams from McMaster made the trip, and two of them placed 3rd and 8th. Incredible!

Check out the details and videos of what they produced below:


Virtual Theremin Machine (VTM) – 3rd place

“We originally wanted to make a piano but the Kinect didn’t offer precise finger tracking services so we decided to adapt a more feasible instrument such as the Theremin. The Theremin offers a novel taste to our hack because it is a unique instrument and doesn’t require precise fingering.” [link]



Maestro – 8th place

“Maestro puts you in control of your own orchestra. Using your arm’s movements, you control a variety of instruments in a grand orchestral piece. Depending on the direction of your arm’s movements, a different note is played. All of this information is gathered using Thalmic Lab’s Myo armband. As you compose, you are able to switch instruments between a strings section, horns section, and the vocal section of the orchestra.

Each section has a range of 24 notes, played in the key of C. Due to a carefully crafted musical algorithm, everything you play sounds good- it is impossible to play a discordant note. In addition to the code, all of the sound involved in Maestro was recorded during YHack using Apple’s Logic Pro.

Maestro was written in C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio. To connect with the Myo, we used the Myo SDK developed by Thalmic Labs. The SFML library is used to control everything in the background.” [link]




Introduction to Android Workshop



When: Wednesday November 26th from 7pm – 9pm

Where: McMaster University room ITB A113


This workshop will cover the basics of starting to develop apps for Android, and will be held on Wednesday Nov 26th at 7 pm – 9 pm in ITB A113. We will be continuing the curriculum next semester with weekly workshops!

Please contact if you have experience with Android Development and would like to be a mentor.

Event hosted by MacGDA, SEC, CSS and HackItMac.



McMaster Presents 2014 ACTION Conference




Software Hamilton Discount Code: SOFTWAREHAM2014 15% off


McMaster University is proud to present the 2014 ACTION Conference on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at the Ron Joyce Centre.

This conference is an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from across Ontario and Quebec, who are either working on their own startup or interested in starting their own venture. ACTION is geared towards developing the critical practical skills necessary to successful venture creation in intimate, intensive hands-on sessions.

This conference features successful Canadian and international entrepreneurs and experts:

Kazim Agha, Ridout & Maybee LLP
Lotfi Belkhir, McMaster University
Carol Chong, Sklar, Wilton & Associates
Tom Doyle, McMaster University
Karen Grant, Angel One
Chris Lipp, Stanford University (Graduate School of Business)
Tom Lee, Quanser
Navneet Kaur, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Harry Mahler, Canadian Design Network
Tim Miron, Beckett Lowden Read LLP
James Norrie, founder of
Jenna Tregarthen, Recovery Record
Mark Zimny, Promation

Register now to ensure your seat and preferred sessions! Registration fees of $25 for students ($35 for professionals) have subsidized due to our generous sponsors. Registration includes: two keynote addresses, four intimate and interactive skill sessions with industry leaders, breakfast, networking lunch, coffee/nutrition breaks to feed the generation of ideas, and a certificate of completion!

All attendees will also be provided with the option of complimentary shuttle bus service to the event from McMaster University.


McMaster students develop Drive-Thru SPA at YHACK



McMaster students Nathan Jervis (@mirhagk), Sadisha Galapatti (@SadishaG), Rakesh Mistry (@rake_mistry) participated in YHACK at Yale University this weekend. At the hackathon they developed Drive-Thru SPA (see: – a Single Page Application framework that automatically updates the application in the background. Check out the details below:



Take your Single Page Applications to the Drive-Thru!

Web Applications are becoming ever more common. These automatically update their own data, keeping the page fresh for the user.

However since the data is always up-to-date, the user sees no need to reload their tab. Client side navigation means they will always stay on that same page so long as the tab is open. For some applications (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter) the tab is open so long as the computer is on, which can be many months for most users.

If a user doesn’t reload the tab for 6 months, their data stays in sync with the latest, but the code does not. This means the user can be missing out on potentially 6 months of features. Worse yet, they can be missing out on 6 months of security fixes.

There are companies that have a continuous deployment process that means they can deploy to production several times a day. But what is the point if their users could still be using old code for months?

Drive-Thru SPA seeks to solve this issue. It’s a library designed to work with web application frameworks, watch for changes to the application, and seamlessly update the application behind the scenes.

Current Status

This is a prototype of the library, developed in 36 hours at YHACK (Yale University Hackathon).

What the library currently has is a node-js server that a client library can connect to, and watch for updates. Updates are automatically detected from a git push when the appropriate webhook is set up in github. These updates are downloaded and components are extracted and analyzed for differences. The library sends any updated components to any listening client. These clients can then update the component, do any registering of the component or refreshing of views etc. Because the differences are analyzed and updated at a component level, the majority of changes can be done seamlessly, and the user doesn’t even have to know that the application is being updated while they are using it.

There are a few things missing from the library:

  • There are no alternative adapters developed yet – only the custom doT.js one is supported
  • The server code is messy, and needs to be re-architectured. (It was built in 36 hours during a hack-a-thon after all)
  • There isn’t any concern for security or prevention of race conditions – This was not a priority for the prototype, but is required before a usable release

The next steps to go from here

How to Help

If this idea interests you, and you’d like to see it developed further, there are a few ways you can help

  • Let us know if you like it – Tweet the developers (@mirhagk, @SadishaG, @rake_mistry) and tell us your thoughts. Comment on reddit with any input you have.
  • Suggest features/requirements – What would you need to have before adopting this library? Which adapters should we focus on? What features are we missing? Comment on reddit or add issues to our github repository
  • Contribute – The project is not quite yet in a state where it’ll be easy to contribute, but we hope to get there soon. Contributions in the form of documentation, tests, examples, adapters for different frameworks would be greatly appreciated, as well as contributions to the core library.

Drive-Thru SPA Demo from Rakesh Mistry on Vimeo.

Authors and Contributors

Nathan Jervis – @mirhagk

Sadisha Galapatti – @sadishag

Rakesh Mistry – @mistryrn

DevNet connects students to jobs

DevNet took place earlier this week on McMaster campus thanks to the McMaster Game Development Association and McMaster Computer Science Society. The event connected local area companies (GTA and Hamilton) with attendees, mainly for the purpose of job opportunities.

It’s really, really, really awesome to see the leadership coming from these students clubs in terms of organizing something like this. Of course institutions organize more general job fairs, but it’s not the same as this type of event.

Check out the coverage of the event below!



Interview with Roomer creator Simar Singh



I remember in my undergraduate days that the libraries weren’t always the best place to study. There was the noise – Mills Library was known (affectionately?) as “Club Mills”, but there was also the lack of seats. Often times you were better off finding an empty classroom. Which was great when you found one, but time consuming.

That’s why I found this new app called Roomer by Simar Singh (@simarr_) to be a pretty neat idea. Check out the interview with Simar below:


simarTell me about yourself.

I’m currently a third year computer science student at McMaster University. I’m passionate about all aspects of software development. I have been working on projects for as long as I can remember, and I aim to build projects that make people’s lives easier.


What is Roomer?

Roomer is an android app that helps students find study space on campus. Roomer shows you all of the empty classrooms and lecture halls.


Why did you decide to create Roomer?

Many students have experienced difficulty finding a good study space on campus. Libraries are often crowded, especially during exam period. Group study rooms are frequently in short supply. Roomer aims to solve this problem. Roomer shows the user which classrooms and lecture halls are currently empty on campus. They can then choose their favorite spot to work on their assignments, hold group meetings or practice presentations.




How does Roomer know which rooms on campus are available?

Roomer’s server side algorithms uses the master timetable system provided by universities to figure out what rooms are currently not being used.


How has the response to Roomer been thus far?

Roomer has already been downloaded 350+ times in its first week of launch.




Will you try to make money off of Roomer? How?

Roomer was built to enrich students’ campus experience. Roomer will be for free for the foreseeable feature.


What tools did you use to build Roomer?

The backend was built with Python and the Android app was written in Java. I used Amazon Web Services to host Roomer’s backend.




What are your future plans for Roomer?

Roomer is currently available for McMaster University, University of Waterloo, and Western University. I plan on expanding Roomer’s service to more Universities across Ontario.


Do you have any advice for students planning to release apps?

Focus on user experience and what problems your app will help its users solve.


Try out Roomer on Android today!



Job opportunities at DevNet inside McMaster next Tuesday



When: Tuesday October 7th from 1pm – 4pm

Where: McMaster University – Student Centre Atrium


DevNet is a networking event that will take place at McMaster University in the Student Centre Atrium. The event will consist of various software and game development studios who will each have a booth set up. This event provides students the opportunity to meet industry professionals in various studios while students are able to gain new job opportunities in their field of interest.

We encourage all students, faculty members, professionals and community members to come out to DevNet – without needing to have any affiliation with McMaster University.

McMaster startup QReserve awarded $25k from OCE

QHamilton, Ontario, September 2, 2014 — McMaster University startup, QReserve Inc., is excited to be awarded $24,896 through Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) SmartStart program to introduce its publicly available research equipment database platform to universities and colleges across Canada.

“Every year, the federal and provincial governments invest millions of dollars in research tools and resources”, says QReserve Inc.’s CEO, Brandon Aubie. “This funding from OCE will help us help researchers and industry better utilize these resources. The QReserve platform works as a search engine for research equipment and we plan to bring it into university and college campuses across Ontario and the rest of Canada starting this fall.”

QReserve was founded in March of this year by McMaster University PhD graduate, Dr. Brandon Aubie, and McMaster University professors Dr. Fred Capretta and Dr. John Brennan. Their service provides universities and colleges with a turn-key research equipment database platform that is automatically connected with other institutions. This enables students, researchers and industrial users to discover and access resources across campuses and research institutions.

Dr. Capretta explains the impact QReserve’s resource database will have on Canadian researchers: “Obtaining funding for research gets harder and harder every year. So when a university purchases new equipment it’s more important than ever that it gets utilized to its full potential. With QReserve we’re helping people to find this equipment and encouraging collaborative use of existing resources. Bottom line is we’re trying to help research get done and save money at the same time.”

Their proof-of-concept platform was launched this summer at McMaster University containing nearly 300 pieces of equipment and research services and is quickly gaining traction. Aubie adds, “We’ve demonstrated a clear need for this service and are excited to add thousands of new resources for students, researchers and industrial users across the country to discover”.

QReserve is free to access at


About QReserve Inc.

QReserve Inc. was founded in 2014 at McMaster University with the aim of making research equipment and resources more accessible to students, faculty and industry. The company provides an open-access online platform for cataloguing and searching research equipment and services across university and college campuses and industrial research service providers. QReserve’s search platform integrates with existing university technology infrastructures to provide a turn-key internal institutional resource database that automatically integrates with other institutional databases. QReserve currently operates out of the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, domestic and foreign investors, and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and research, OCE invests in such areas as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. Learn more at

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