StitchFest is part of PennApps Fall 2014 (September 12-14), the premier college hackathon hosted every semester at the University of Pennsylvania. Up to 20 teams will be able to work with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit, and a set of provided components (such as a wireless module, sensors, and e-ink displays) that are ready to interface with the kit. All materials will be provided to PennApps teams. The goal is to design an electronic textile project or wearable app around a theme that will be announced


Participants must be full-time or part-time University students but high school students can also apply. Participation is closed to immediate family of contest judges and any individual actively employed by a sponsoring company at the time of the competition.


Teams must consist of between one and four participants. Teams must submit a list of members by 11:59PM on Friday, September 12th, and all modifications to team composition must be verified by PennApps organizers.


Each team is permitted one submission that must be received by 10AM on Sunday, September 14th. All projects must have been produced solely by team members, working on-site, after 8:00PM on Friday, September 12th (you can use libraries/frameworks available to everyone). By submitting a project, you and your team grant the PennApps/Stitchfest team and organizers the unrestricted right to use your submission material, at no cost, for promotional purposes of future PennApps/Stitchfest events.


Demos take place in two rounds. The first round will be in a science-fair style expo where all teams get a table to present their app to members of the public, other hackers, and judges who wander around. Twenty teams will be selected for the second round. The second round demos will consist of three minutes of presentation and then two minutes of Q&A.


Judging will be based on four criteria: creativity, technical difficulty, polish, and usefulness, each scored on an 11 point scale. Penalties may be assessed for going over the allotted demo time.


Winners for the 1st through 3rd place prizes as well as other prizes will be selected from the twenty teams in the second round of demos. Winners for the other prizes may or may not come from the full pool at the discretion of the parties giving the prizes and by means of the sponsor prize showcase.

Sponsors and Prizes

Sponsors will select winning designs during first round or from the top 20.


All prizes are subject to University policies regarding cash and cash-equivalent prizes, including taxation where applicable.



What is StitchFest?

StitchFest is part of PennApps, the premier college hackathon hosted every semester at the University of Pennsylvania. A hackathon is when people who are excited about programming come together for a weekend and collaborate to build cool things. StitchFest will be offered for the first time in Spring 2014 within Penn Apps. Entrepreneurs, designers, and developers work in teams to create hacks and apps with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit.

Who can participate?

StitchFest is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students, including freshmen! You don't have to attend the University of Pennsylvania; you don't have to be a computer science major or even an engineering student, though you should have some coding experience. You aren't required to have ever attended a hackathon before: we will have tech talks beforehand so you can ramp up quickly. You can come with a team or come alone — there will be a place for you.

What if I'm a newbie?

StitchFest has great opportunities for people new to hacking. If you need help getting started, Penn Women in Computer Science has a mentoring program. Mentors will be present at the event to help you with all aspects of your project, including tech talks during the StitchFest itself.

Do I have to be a Penn Student?

No — in fact, we'd love to have you here no matter where you're from! In fact, if you need assistance figuring out how to get here, see the next question!

How do I get to Philadelphia? Will my transportation cost be reimbursed?

We offer travel reimbursements to visiting hackers. If there is a bus route from your city to Penn, we will reimburse your bus or public transportation tickets. Due to the number of PennApps attendees, we try to bus hackers within a 7 hour radius. For those with longer trips for whom riding a bus is not really a viable option, we do pay for flights. If you have questions about travel, please email and we'll figure out the best options for you.

What should I bring?

For starters, bring your laptop and charger. Bring your cell phone, cell phone charger, and a power splitter if you have one! If you're coming from outside of Penn, you will want to bring a sleeping bag, and a sweatshirt which doubles as a pillow will come in handy, along with the usual toiletries kit of course.

Do I need a team or idea to sign up?

Nope! We will have sessions to help people find team members and/or form teams, as well as an idea generation workshop to help people think of ideas to work on for the Stitchfest. So you should sign up regardless!

Do I have to be there the entire time?

Nope, you're allowed to get sleep :) However, all your coding and work must be done at the site of the competition.

Will there be food?

Yes. The only thing you need to worry about is coding; let us take care of the rest. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and plenty of drinks (including energy drinks) will be provided throughout the competition at no cost to participants. We will be providing vegetarian options as well. If you have a specific food allergy or other specific need, contact us and we'll try to find a way to make it work for you.

How does registration work?

Registration will open at 4 PM in Irivne Auditorium (3401 Spruce St) on Friday. Priority for choosing your team's hacking location will be first come first served at registration, so you'll definitely want to show up on time!

Where should I go during the event?

We have not yet finalized the schedule of events on Friday. The kickoff starts at 6 PM in Irvine Hall on Friday, where registration will still be going on.

What should I bring?

Laptop and charger, cellphone and charger, change of clothes, toothbrush.

What are the sleeping/showering arrangements?

Non-Penn students can request to be paired with a Penn student host. Non-Penn students should be prepared to bring their own sleeping bag, pillow, and toiletries if they plan on sleeping. We have organized for there to be space for hackers to sleep and shower in the Palestra nearby. Alternatively, there are plenty of benches, chairs, and tables for a quick nap in the Engineering Quad.

Can I start working before StitchFest starts?

No. Contestants are not allowed to work on their apps before the 48 hour period. If you want to prepare for the StitchFest, focus on gaining experience with and knowledge of the tools you hope to use to build your application.

When are project submissions due?

All hacks/stitches will need to be completed by noon on Sunday in order to qualify for awards.

How does judging work?

We are working out the exact details, but teams will go through a first round of judging on Sunday morning. A panel of judges will rate your app/stitch based on creativity, technical difficulty, polish, and usefulness. The top 20 with the highest scores from the first round of demos will go to a final round of judging.

When are demos?

First round demos begin on Sunday morning, and the final demos will take place in Irvine Auditorium at 2 PM on Sunday.

Do you provide us with any technology?

Each team will receive a box with all the technology needed to work and design with the LilyPad Arduino. We are also looking into supporting teams interested in making hardware hacks.

Apple will be on-site with iPads and iPod touches to borrow so you can test your iOS apps.