The MOO Crew get hacking

21st September 2012 by James B

Here at MOO, we love technology, and so every now and then we take a break from our “roadmap” to get a bit creative by having a Hack Day.

The Brief

It’s a chance to try out a working prototype of an adventurous idea. It can be something to improve, or it can be office related. Or it can just be a bit of fun involving some clever piece of technology. Hack Day only has two rules:

  1. People can work individually, or in teams. The only requirement is that you do something and then make a short presentation about that something at the end of Hack Day.
  2. There is no number 2.

Thursday, 9:00am: all participants gathered in the office canteen to fuel up with bacon, sausage and egg buns. We dispersed to work frantically at building the best hack in hope of the receiving the great accolade of being a Hack Day winner.

Healthy choices only; our lunch time refueling came in the form of vast quantities of pizza. Afternoon hacking continued with the finishing touches being made. Circuits were forged, paper was glued and code compiled. Final preparations were made and smoke and mirror special effects were added. It was time for presentations…

Demo Time

There was so much excellence and ingenuity on display at the demonstrations, that we have only got room here for some highlights.

Twitter bot card maker:

Richard Lewis Jones created a utility that fetches relevant snippets of information from your Twitter profile. This information is then added to a pack of Business Cards that you can have printed.

Sonos ‘Now Playing’

Dan B wanted to make the most of our new Sonos communal sound system so he created a service to query the song and artist that was currently being played. On top of this he created a UI for our canteen big screens to display the song, artist, album art and other bits of relevant metadata. Unfortunately, it doesn’t display which user has added each song – so no one knows who added a Rick Astley classic into the mix. Own up!


Tamsin & Simon R thought MOO Business Cards were just too static so they went on a mission to animate them through the power of an old but faithful technology, the Zoetrope. They printed out a series of Muybridge original galloping horse images running onto business cards, which when viewed in quick succession through the MOO’oTrope are brought to life. The cards were user replaceable so you too could go back in movie technology time with your artwork, and it works perfectly with Printfinity.



Joe & Stefanos worked on a browser based motion detection system (HTML5 & Device camera API). They developed a game-in-play detector that checked for movement at the table. If movement was detected, a message was sent to an internal table football chat room for spectators to know when to rush down. Alternatively you could watch it streamed in your browser via a link sent along with the notification.


Jon & Roly took it upon themselves to create an image cropline detector as we have a fair few orders that come through with them. They weren’t content on stopping there, oh no, they allowed their tool to automatically crop the image along the supplied crop lines to save manual intervention.

The Awards

The judges were overwhelmed by the quality of the hacks so required time overnight (which was coincidentally also the MOO summer party) to mull over their decision. Friday lunch at MOO HQ was the perfect time to announce the winners and offer them their prizes!

Roly & Jon won first prize with their crop mark detection, with Dan B and his Sonos Jukebox display, and 
Richard LJ’s Twitter bot card maker chosen as runners-up.

Well done everyone!

Check out this video of Tamsin and Simon R’s MOO’o'Trope:


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