Winning team at Random Hacks of Kindness create an innovative tool to
alert family in a disaster
WHAT: Hackathon to solve humanitarian problems & pitch competition
WHEN: Hackathon: Ended Sun., June 5 at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), 5th floor, 252
Bloor St. W., Toronto
WHO: Experts in climate, disaster, crisis; software, design, Internet,
media, more (see below).
TORONTO, June 6, 2011 /CNW/ - Disaster professionals working with
volunteer software makers in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday came
together to build a set of mobile and online emergency aid tools whose
prototypes they completed on Sunday, some teams coding right up until
the pitch competition yesterday evening.
Teams pitched their projects to a panel of guest judges which included
Paul Osman, Julia Stowell, Karen Snider and Jesse Brown. See below for
Global collaboration was the theme of the weekend, the winning team,
collaborated with RHoK Atlanta and utilized the skills found there to
put together a complete and innovative mobile application. The teams at
Random Hacks of Kindness Toronto (RHoK Toronto) are among some 1,000
people in 18 cities across 6 continents participating in a global
weekend-long hacking marathon, or "hackathon," that unites
technologists and humanitarian experts in an effort to solve pressing
"It's amazing to see the collaboration between cities," said Heather
Leson, lead organizer of RHoK Toronto. "If a team in Toronto didn't
have the skills they needed, our team found people in other cities with
those skills and they connected via Skype to share expertise"
The Judges had a hard time deciding on the top three prizes at Ontario
Institute for Studies in Education in downtown Toronto. Projects were
assessed Creativity of the Solution, Applicability, Utility, Progress
1st Prize: Messages without Connectivity- A mobile app that can use
Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and other notification services to deliver
emergency messages even when cellular phone networks have stopped
working, and can alert rescue workers when someone is alive under a
2nd Prize: Bacon- An alerts tool that uses a mobile phone's bluetooth,
wifi or cellphone capabilities to send an audible and digital alert
once activated to signal a person's whereabouts in the event of an
3rd Prize: Wound Classification Application: A telemedicine tool that
would help people in remote or disaster-stricken areas to visually
diagnose life-threatening wounds and help them seek treatment
"The winning Hackers took home first prize because they pitched a fully
built mobile application that can be used to alert emergency
responders, nearby volunteers and family during a disaster situation."
Said Melanie Gorka, Toronto Manager. "They fulfilled all of the judging
criteria and had that extra 'wow' factor". The team took home Linksys
routers by Cisco, a private lunch with leaders at Mozilla Foundation,
which makes the Firefox Web browser and the chance to showcase their
application at an unconference as part of Net Change Week in Toronto.
The Random Hacks of Kindness volunteer community -- founded in 2009 by
Google, Microsoft, NASA, Yahoo and the World Bank -- has produced
mobile and online software tools that were deployed after disasters in
Chile, Haiti and Japan.
The Toronto teams will also received coaching to develop and enhance
their pitch and presentation skills, and consult with special guests
who are experts in crisis and emergency aid, before they showcased
their projects in front of the pitch competition judges:
Jesse Brown, host of TVO.org Search Engine podcast; writer for
Macleans.ca, Toronto Life.
Paul Osman, Mozilla Foundation. Open Web team manager.
Karen Snider, Canadian Red Cross national media manager and social media
Julia Stowell, Microsoft Canada open source community and marketing
Sara Farmer, United Nations Global Pulse chief platform architect.
Kate Chapman, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Open global map for aid
Aaron Huslage, SafeCast. Crowdsourced open tracking of reactor-leak
radiation in Japan.
"The best part of Random Hacks of Kindness is that no matter which teams
win Toronto's pitch competition, all the participants learn, mentor and
share in their world. Plus, some projects will continue and maybe
become fully built," Heather Leson said.
ABOUT RANDOM HACKS OF KINDNESS TORONTO:
RHoK Toronto is an ad hoc committee of civic-minded citizens with
professional expertise across a broad range of industry sectors. The
first Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon in Toronto was held in
Community partners new and old have donated space, food, funds, prizes,
services and tools to help make the event a success. Donations may be
made through the RHoK.org Toronto site or by contacting the organizers.
Current sponsors include: Camaraderie, Canadian News Wire (CNW), Centre
for Social Innovation, CIRA, Cisco, GlobalNews.ca, Jonah Group, Lady
Atelier, Marketcrashers, MaRS Discovery District and Net Change Week,
Aaron McGowan, Microsoft Canada,, Nitido Inc., Rightsleeve, Symantec,
Syncapse, Tropo, University of Toronto and Yahoo Canada.
RHoK Toronto is online at: www.rhok.org/event/toronto
RHoK Toronto on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RHoKTO
RHoK Toronto hashtag: #RHoKTO
ABOUT RANDOM HACKS OF KINDNESS:
Random Hacks of Kindness was founded in 2009 by Google, Microsoft,
NASA, Yahoo and the World Bank. The worldwide innovation community has
seen thousands of volunteers work on 120 open source software
projects, including tools used in the Haiti and Chile earthquakes in
2010, the recent Japan quake and tsunami, and landslide-prone parts of
the Caribbean. "Open source" means the computer code is available for
anyone to use and build upon.
Global Random Hacks of Kindness community: www.rhok.org
On Twitter: www.twitter.com/randomhacks
Twitter hashtag: #RHoK
SOURCE Random Hacks of Kindness Toronto
For further information:
OR TO SCHEDULE INTERVIEWS: