Transform The Mining Industry

dare to disrupt

Take home a share of the $5000 prize pool

Returning July 23 - 25 2021

Major Sponsors

Event delivery partners

Business sponsors

Regional stakeholders

Industry supporters

Join the movement of transformation in our region, as we Dare to Disrupt at MackHack 2021, a weekend-long event where participants come together to evolve our region and move to industry 4.0.

Throughout the weekend, you will turn your ideas into reality, prototypes into production and connect with likeminded people, industry experts and mentors.

This cross sector event will feature guest speakers, case studies and workshops in AI, Robotics,  XR (VR,AR,MR) technology. It will bring together thinkers, makers, doers, creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs, designers, engineers and programmers to solve your internal business challenges, or bigger industry challenges.

Register today for Mackay’s annual hackathon: MackHack 2021.  

Get Your Tickets HereDownload Run Sheet

The Event

Highlights from the 2020 event

Meet your facilitator: Andrew Scott

Andrew has an long history in technology innovation, with over 30 years of experience. He studied biotechnology and computer science at the University of Queensland.

Andrew was the co-founding Global Mining Guidelines collaboration group and is now the Executive Chairman of Queensland Robotics, focused on growing the robotics industry in Australia and more broadly helping to develop industry clusters through his role as cluster development manager for METS Ignited.

Andrew is interested in deep symbiotic collaboration to stimulate, promote, and realize positive outcomes for humanity and the planet earth.

Meet your mentors & industry experts

Andrew Scott
Queensland Robotics

Andrew studied biotechnology and computer science at the University of Queensland. Andrew was the co-founding Global Mining Guidelines collaboration group and is now the Executive Chairman of Queensland Robotics, focused on growing the robotics industry in Australia and more broadly helping to develop industry clusters through his role as cluster development manager for METS Ignited.

Dr Sue Keay

Dr Sue Keay is the CEO of Queensland AI Hub following her role as Research Director for Cyber-Physical Systems at CSIRO’s Data61. She is responsible for bringing the Grace Hopper Celebration to Australia and led the development of Australia’s first Robotics roadmap, outlining how robotics and automation will impact on every sector of the Australian economy. 

Sue was formerly the Chief Operating Officer for the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision and has an MBA from The University of Queensland Business School. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, chairs the Board of Robotics Australia Group and is an Adjunct Professor at QUT.

Karen Sanders
XR Hub

Forging her vision for emerging technology and extensive experience in civil engineering and construction, Karen co-founded Real Serious Games in 2009 with a small team and shoestring budget. Today, her company is present in 4 countries, delivered over 400 projects, and is on track to become a global leader. As the leader in the XR community and having been awarded the contract to manage The Queensland XR Hub on behalf of the Queensland Government, we have access to a diverse range of talent, through the XR community As acting CEO, Karen is developing the strategic roadmap for the creation of a world-leading XR cluster, based in Brisbane. Karen is recognised as an industry leader in spatial gamification and was published as part of the G20 GlobalCafé.

Furqan ur Rehman
XR Hub

Furqan is the marketing coordinator at Real Serious Games. He is responsible to elevate the company’s brand and manage day-to-day marketing activities.

As a staunch believer in technology, Furqan’s engages with clients and consumers to understand their needs and communicate the benefits and applications of extended reality technologies via tech demonstrations, sessions and events at Real Serious Games and the newly formed, QLD XR Hub. He also works closely with the operations team in various capacities to ensure product success.

Outside of Real Serious Games, Furqan is an avid sports enthusiast and writer. He co-founded the Australian Sports Media Platform, Sportageous and has been featured on the Quora Digest 3 times. Prior to joining Real Serious Games, he worked in a range of industries, including Media, Telecommunications, Hospitality, Food and Retail.

Craig James

Craig graduated with honours from the Queensland University of Technology in 1993, where he received a double degree in Electronic Engineering and Information Technology. His professional career began in the mining industry, specialising in real-time monitoring and control of truck and shovel fleets, draglines, drills, loaders, dozers and a range of other auxiliary machines. In 2000 Craig joined the games industry to pursue his interest in real-time, 3D programming and spent the following decade with several companies, progressing through mid-level, senior and lead roles.  

During his time working on interactive entertainment he has helped to produce several successful titles on multiple hardware platforms. In 2010 Craig joined CSIRO where he works today as a senior researcher  with the Mining and Processing Technologies Research Group. At CSIRO he uses the opportunity to apply skills drawn from his experiences in both the mining and gaming industries, working to improve safety and efficiency through the use of visualisation, tele-operation/tele-collaboration and tele-assistance technologies.

Donna Patane

DRIPL is a niche firm focusing on law and strategy for trade marks, intellectual property, confidentiality, privacy, technology and commercialisation deals.

DRIPL director, Donna Patane, is a registered trade marks attorney and an expert in IP and doing business in the digital age. She is also a commercialisation facilitator for Accelerating Commercialisation and has been heavily involved in the NQ startup ecosystem for nearly a decade.

Dr Varun Rao
Deep Blue AI

Varun earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Monash University) and holds certifications in Machine Learning (Stanford University) and Neural Networks . His core engineering expertise is in Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer.

He gained valuable experience in academia, where he worked with the mining industry on control of diesel emissions. Since 2016 he has worked on data analytics and artificial intelligence for practical engineering applications in the automotive industry, from ideation through development and into deployment. His specialisation is in the field of shallow neural networks for classification and regression problems.

Dr Rahul Rao
Deep Blue AI

Rahul has a PhD in engineering from Monash University, where he spent 6 years researching the use of deep learning AI techniques to predict diesel engine performance. He is also certified by Stanford University and IBM in data science, machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

​He then spent 4 years in the auto industry building machine learning pipelines and models of engine responses to develop optimum actuator control. His expertise in statistics also earned him a Design for Six Sigma Black Belt.

Rahul is passionate about engineering, data, and automation, and is always on the lookout for new ways of combining them to gain interesting insights and generate value.

Aaron Birkby
Tribe Global

Aaron Birkby is the co-founder of Tribe Global which delivers leadership empowerment programs for individuals, teams, organisations and communities to make a greater impact with reduced burnout and stress.

Aaron works closely with founders of high-growth startups as well as large multinational giants like Google, YouTube and Novartis.

He is also currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Queensland University of Technology and was previously named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 after successfully building multiple technology companies. He has led 17 trade missions to Silicon Valley, Israel, Germany and the UK, and remains a passionate contributor to the Australian innovation ecosystem.

Get Your Tickets Here
Glenn Neuber

Glenn is the CEO and founder of MaxusAI, a Brisbane-based technology start-up for Visual AI inspections.

Prior, for over a decade, Glenn has gained experience in driving adoption of emerging technologies through Design Thinking and Agile Experiments successfully leading customer innovation engagements from idea over PoCs/prototypes to implementation. During this time, he worked with Australian and global large corporates across multiple industries including Energy & Natural Resources, Logistics & Transportation, Public Services, Financial Services and Sports & Entertainment.

Glenn holds a Double Degree Master in Business Administration, Innovation Management and Corporate Finance. He is a regular speaker at the UQ Business School and Mentor/Judge at the Young ICT Explorers competition, created by SAP, supported by CSIRO Digital Careers and The Smith Family.

Dr Preethichandra
CQ University

Dr Preethichandra is Associate Professor and discipline leader in Mechatronics Engineering at CQU. He received BSc.Eng. degree from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

He received his MEng and PhD degrees from Saga University, Japan and worked as an Assistant Professor at the same university after completing his doctoral studies. Prof. Preethichandra received a number of postdoctoral fellowships including prestigious JSPS fellowship in the past.

He has research experience in sensor development for industrial applications, robotics and industrial automation, development of nano-biosensors for biomedical and environmental applications, and he is an expert on embedded system development. He has university teaching experience in three different countries for more than 30 years and he is a well experienced chartered engineer.

Dr Lasi Piyathilaka
CQ University

Dr Lasi Piyathilaka is a Lecturer in Mechatronic Engineering at CQUniversity Mackay campus.

He completed his PhD degree specializing in Robotics from the University of Technology Sydney in 2016 and has expertise in robotics, mechatronics systems, visions systems and machine learning. Lasi has a rich blend of industry, teaching, and research experience.

From 2017 to 2020 he worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and led a research team to develop inspection robots for condition assessment of water and sewer pipelines. This project won both the National and NSW Research Innovation Awards presented by the Australian Water Association in 2020.

From 2015 to 2017, Lasi worked as a mechatronics engineer at Swarm Farm Robotics, a robotics company based in QLD that develops a swarm of lightweight agricultural robots for farm operations. He has over 10+ years of teaching experience and previously taught in Mechatronics and Robotics related courses at the University of Technology Sydney and the Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka.

Get Your Tickets Here

Want a head start?

These workshops will be rescheduled post MackHack21

WORKSHOP 1 - Postponed
Presented by Henri Burgers, UQ Business School


Postponed due to COVID restrictions

Identify your opportunities for growth and understand your future direction.

This workshop will provide you with a report that benchmarks your business model against successful METS innovators. A tangible benefit of participating in this workshop is the opportunity to gain a snapshot of where your business is today; and to design improvements in your business model.

Length: 3 hours (30 minutes to complete business model survey tool , plus 2.5 hour facilitated workshop)

Register an expression of interest to attend this workshop

WORKSHOP 2 - Postponed
Presented by Cameron Newton, QUT


Postponed due to COVID restrictions

Understanding and harnessing your business’ innovation culture.

This workshop will focus on two areas critical to supporting innovation at both a departmental and organisational level. A tangible benefit of participating in this workshop is the opportunity to gain a snapshot of where your business is today; and designing improvements to your innovation culture.

Length: 2.5 hours (1 hour pre-work to complete online assessment tool, plus 1.5 hour online workshop)

Register an expression of interest to attend this workshop

Engage with the pre-event webinars and readings

To get you ready for the event, we have prerecorded information sessions that we recommend you watch to lead in to the event.

These sessions may just give you the competitive edge needed to bring home the coveted first place prize - $2,500 stone cold cash with prizes for runners up equaling another $2.5k! Also on offer is the potential to trial your solution and get your ideas in front of industry experts for valuable feedback.

What to expect from MackHack 2021

  • Why participate in a Hackathon?
  • There's a role for everyone - where do you fit?
► Watch  Webinar

Getting the most from the weekend.

  • A how-to guide on -
  • Forming Teams
  • Collaboration & IP Ownership
► Watch  Webinar

Artificial Intelligence in the Mining Industry

  • Scholarly article by Varun Rao - Deep Blue AI
  • How is AI relevant to mining?
Read Article
Get Your Tickets Here

The big idea:

1 Weekend.

72 Hours.

Transformation Region.

Winning solutions share in the $5000 Prize Pool.

Get your tickets for MackHack 2021!

Register for Webinars

Sign up for the lowdown... register for the MackHack webinars to gain an advantage!

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