It's time to see which team won the Vodafone 24 'createathon' event. We had some brilliant entries, but our winners went one step beyond...

vodafone 24 1st

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been speaking to the top placed teams in the first ever Vodafone 24 – a 24 hour create-athon that pits the best and brightest of the UK’s university students against each other for a chance to win a paid internship at Vodafone UK.

Today it’s time to look at the team which took the top prize by coming up with the best answer to one of our three briefs:

1. If your phone could do something magical (within the bounds of reality), what would it be?
2. What could you measure and gamify about your life?
3. How can mobile technology help in disaster zones?

Going by the name of The Theorist Muskateers, our worthy winners chose to tackle question number one, and you won’t believe what they came up with in just a single day…

The who, how and why…

We’ve been catching up with team member Jack Gartlan to get his side of the story. First up: how did the team come to be? “Ryan, Josh and I all study theoretical physics at the University of Birmingham,” Jack explains. “We tried out a few team names (most of them relating to The Big Bang Theory) and ‘The Theorist Musketeers ’ stuck. We liked it as it there were three of us in our team and there’s no better example of three people working well in a team than the Musketeers.

“We enjoy working on challenges together and when an email came through offering the chance to work on an exciting mystery challenge with the added bonus of a chance to win an internship with an amazing company, we knew we had to enter.”

“Once we sat down to brainstorm the ideas we realised how hard this was actually going to be.”

With a team and name all decided, how did Jack, Ryan and Josh get things started once the competition questions first hit their inboxes? “Initially, we were all full of confidence. We’d worked together before and we usually were capable of solving any given problem. But once we sat down to brainstorm the ideas we soon realised how hard this was actually going to be.

“We had many ideas which we individually believed would be fantastic,” Jack says, “but when we attempted to explain it to each other we soon realised that they weren’t actually all that great.”

We have a winner

1st place 3

Even if arriving at the idea was challenging, though, The Theorist Musketeers’ winning entry was something a little bit special.

“Our idea was an interactive, rotatable projector situated in the top of the phone with two cameras attached, to detect the position of the user’s hand. Our reasoning behind it was that over the past few years we have seen a huge increase in the size of the displays in phones. Although a larger screen has its benefits, the screen size is reaching a limiting point as it has to still be a usable device and fit in a pocket. We thought this idea would allow for a much bigger screen without having to have a much bigger phone. Plus,” Jack adds, “it would expand the capability and content of the ever increasing app stores.”

Sounds good, right? You can see The Theorist Musketeers’ winning entry in its entirety here:


1stplacethumbVodafone 24: The winning entry
Check out The Theorist Musketeers’ ingenious smartphone projector concept, and see for yourself why it was a worthy winner.
Click here to view the full entry


Not bad for a single day’s work, right?

Learning by doing

Now that the dust has settled on those furious 24 hours, but with their internships at Vodafone still to come, what can Jack, Ryan and Josh say they’ve taken away from the competition?

“One big area that we found to be challenging was staying mentally focused for 24 hours.”

“I learnt a lot about what it takes to take an idea and mould it into a real device with real life applications. One big area that we found to be challenging was staying mentally focused for 24 hours, from time to time someone would end up putting a funny video on YouTube on just to boost our energies!”

The competition’s intense working hours aside, Jack tells us that taking part has shifted his perception of Vodafone as a place to work, which is exactly the kind of thing we set out to achieve with the Vodafone 24:

“This method of offering an internship is very different to most other companies. Instead of sending off CVs we actually had to prove ourselves. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. It was innovative, interesting and exciting, and it’s made me even more excited about doing my internship.”

Fancy your chances? The first ever Vodafone 24 may be over, but it won’t be the last. We’re kicking off our next one soon, and you can register right here. You can read about the second place entry here, and the joint third teams here.