Photo Hack Day Japan Recap

On February 22-23rd, Aviary brought the 5th Photo Hack Day all the way around the globe to beautiful Tokyo, Japan. This year’s event was hosted by our good friends at Mixi with help from our amazing sponsors: Mixi, Shutterstock, gettyimages, 500px, Leap Motion, Amazon, Mashup9, Recruit, Imagga, EyeEm, Pux, XLoudia, Sendgrid, Zenrin, FlashFoto and Adobe.

We kicked the weekend off right with a pre-party Friday night, sponsored by our friends at Shutterstock. The excitement was palpable as Japanese hackers and API sponsors mingled and plotted, preparing for the main event.

Saturday was opened up with a keynote address by Shutterstock, followed by a round of API presentations by our generous sponsors, Japanese and Western alike. Any language barriers were broken down by a team of incredible translators from our friends at Mixi. Big shoutouts to Nozomi Yamawaki and Vishal Nayak!

The next 24 hours were a blur as more than 120 hackers, sponsors, and translators turned copious amounts of fried rice, sushi, beer, chuhai, and green tea into 23 inspiring hacks!

Hacks were judged based on technical accomplishment, cleverness originality, and overall real-world value of the application.

And now…the winners!

1st Place: Back to the Future (300,000 JYP)

Team: Theeraphol Wattanavekin, Rapee Suveeranont, Yoonjo Shin, Thiti Luang



Back to the Future is a visual learning app that allows you to "walk through time” via an interactive interface. It utilizes a Leap Motion controller to simulate moving through history and reveals the visual evolution of people, places and things over the course of time. You can try the app here.

2nd Place: Before The Filter (200,000 JYP)

Team: Benjamin Watanabe, Antony Tran

Before the filter is an Android app that teaches would-be photographers the fundamentals of Photography. It introduces the user to a variety of topics, including composition, techniques for taking food photos, landscape photos, and even selfies. It also provides "training wheels" in the form of grid and template overlays in a custom camera interface to teach the user about proper composition. After a photo is taken with the app, it provides tips for editing the photo (using the Aviary SDK) based on the style of photography the user is in the process of learning. Finally, the user can share their before and after photos to show their progress. Most impressive, the hack is already available for download in the Google Play store. Check it out yourself.

Additional congratulations to Benjamin and Antony for winning Best Use of Aviary’s API!

3rd Place: VOCA Getty (100,000 JYP)

Team: Atsushi Onoda, Hiroshi Kanamura, Shinichi Segawa, Yasushi Takemoto

VOCA Getty is an innovative photo dictionary app that uses images sourced from Getty Images to help users learn a language visually.

The judges also came out with 2 honorable mentions that received Lomography cameras from our good friends at Sendgrid! Congratulations to Yabu Kiyohide (薮 キヨヒデ) and Yuya Matsuo (松尾勇也) for Na・Gu・Ri・A・I and Akira Muramatsu for Smile Motion!


Thanks again to our esteemed panel of judges, Rick Martin (Writer/Editor, The Bridge), Tobias Peggs (CEO, Aviary), Wyatt Jenkins (VP of Product, Shutterstock), Naoki Sadakuni (Country Manager, Pinterest Japan), and Takafumi Nanao (Technical Consultant, Mixi) for overcoming the challenges of whittling down 23 amazing English and Japanese hacks to just 3!

For a complete list of API and Event prizes, check out the PHDJapan Winners list, and for a list of all of the hacks presented, take a look at the PHDJapan Submissions list. For more photos of the event, search for the #PHDJapan tag on Twitter. We’ll be adding some of our favorites to the Photo Hack Day Facebook page.

Congrats again to all of our winners, and thank you to our amazing sponsors who contributed more than $15,000 in cash and prizes! We had a ton of fun at PHDJapan, and we hope to see you at the next one!


Photo Hack Day Team