Meet This Hacker: Angeliki Beyko

What is your name and what do you do?

Angeliki Beyko and I am a researcher at the U of M at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. We record brainwaves non-invasively with EEG and often train participants in brain-computer interfaces or controlling virtual or physical objects with the mind.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

In college I majored in psychology and then discovered programming and hacking during my senior year. From there I began teaching myself multiple programming languages and started reading about electrical engineering. Desiring a more technical degree that was related to my research experience in psychology and neuroscience, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in a related field. And in the following year I received a Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Why did you sign up for Hack the Gap? 

I signed up for HTG as my first hackathon experience. When I walked in, I didn't know what to expect. Though I hoped to make some new friends in the process.

What did you get out of the event?

It was an experience I will never forget. It was so unique, in that I had never talked about programming or hardware hacking with another female before and then suddenly I was surrounded by a group of five women who were all equipped with the skills to carry out a technical project from start to finish in less than 10 hours.

What was inspiring about the event?

I was inspired to meet so many smart, talented and creative women who were supportive, good at team work and also a lot of fun to be around!

What was the impetus of the project you created at HTG?

What started the idea was my interest in neuroscience and learning about EEG toys on the market. Hacking into a headset that is reading brain waves and displaying that information in a new way sounded like a fun project.

Did your career evolve since Hack the Gap? How?

Yes, absolutely. The amount of time I spend now learning about programming and hardware hacking has increased and also I have been seeking new opportunities to challenge myself. Now I help make electrical and software puzzles for an escape room.

Have you been to other hackathons?

Yes, two others in the past year. For IOTHackDay our team made a robotic xylophone that was meant to be mind controlled and for IOT Mother's Day Makeathon, in another team we made a chore tracking machine named Chorebot.

Has HTG shaped how you think about hackathons?

Oh yeah, I used to be somewhat intimidated at the thought of creating something in a short time frame. Though now I realize it's a fun environment where you learn a lot in a very short amount of time and also it can lead to some very fun memories.

Any hackathons on the horizon that you're attending?

Yup, I am currently planning on going to Brainihack, a neuroscience type hackathon, this week. I hope to go to at least a few hackathons every year.