Tech event exposes Oakland youth to virtual reality

High school students filled the rooms at the East Oakland Youth Development Center over Labor Day weekend to learn about virtual reality technology. Among the 45 attendees was fourteen-year old Oakland-native Gabriel Sanchez, who participated on a team that was working to incorporate virtual reality (VR) technology in simulating the Oval Office. He said he signed up for another hackathon last year and enjoyed it so much that he decided to be a part of this one. The two-day event…

High school students gain computer science skills at Oakland Hacks

Oakland Hacks, or OHacks for short, is the first hackathon run by high school students in Oakland. A hackathon is an event at which people come together to create something through computer programming, from apps to websites. Sometimes they have a theme, a specific topic like music or sports, or participants will create something to be used for their community or to help the environment. OHacks does not have a theme like this, but its workshop format, with many mentors supporting students, focuses on getting beginners interested in computer science. OHacks is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., but other hackathons can last for 24 or 36 hours, or even a whole weekend.

New portable sensor tests for gluten in minutes

Martha Benco, an Oakland native, knows what it’s like to rely on the truthfulness of labels and servers when it comes to checking whether there’s gluten in her food. “I have celiac disease,” says Benco, 35, who also has a way to test her food now. Benco says she’s been lucky so far—though she does experience mental fogginess, exhaustion and intestinal distress, her symptoms aren’t as severe as the sores inside the mouth or vomiting other people report. That’s why,…