Home News Hacks for Humanity at ASU produces technical solutions, new relationships

Hacks for Humanity at ASU produces technical solutions, new relationships


Hacks for Humanity has a photograph. The event is a 36 hour competition at Arizona State University to create technological solutions to everyday problems. (Photo: Nicole Soto / The Republic)

Hacks for Humanity, a 36-hour contest at Arizona State University, attracted people from diverse backgrounds to create technological solutions to everyday problems.

There were participants between high-level school students and retired people in areas as diverse as entrepreneurship, computer coding, art, business and social work.

The teams assigned randomly during the weekend were given tasks to build solutions to one of three categories: family, food and finance.

"This is a way not only to build a community () and to build technology for social gain and to bring people together from different disciplines, professions and communities over generations that can be used for something more." to improve the quality of people's lives. ”, Neal Lester, professor at Arizona State University and founding director of Project Humanities, said that facilitates conversations among diverse communities through shared experiences.

After two days of construction and work activities, he presented a group of projects on Sunday before a panel of judges.

The winning team created an application called Promise which allows children to set complaints and deadlines for themselves.

Children can accumulate points for completed tasks that they can exchange for prizes, and parents can approve the tasks and verify that they are finished.

The application integrates with smart speakers as Alexa.

Children can say, “I promise,” and Alexa will record the statement and inform the parents that the child has made a commitment.

Suraj Puvvadi, junior high school and co-creator of the app, was the youngest participant at the event.

He said that the competition had inspired him to seek a solution that would benefit a wide audience.

"Promise is the idea of ​​fostering trust between parents and children, which is extremely important," Puvvadi said.

Hackathon teams start from scratch, deciding their problem, solving their platform, said Rachel Eagdergoth, organizer. From there they work on their design, code and playing fields, with feedback from the mentor. Mentors guide the groups from the idea that they will complete.

Puvvadi said that he respected the staff and the help they received from the mentors along the way.

"What is particularly special about this hackathon is that these participants get a lot of feedback on every step of the way they are doing," said Sondergoth. "It is not something that other hackathons really mean, and it helped to produce exceptional work."

On boys' day, judges score categories such as user experience, innovation, impact and viability.

“There are only a few people at hackathons at judgment based on the technical side, but we wanted to make sure that these participants are able to explain, know their product and why it is important,” Sondergoth said .

But Lester explained that, while scoring and prizes were a feature of the event, it is more than that.

"Only winners in this competition," said Lester. "It is likely to create a new community and that people from their zones are comfortable to work with new people."

"They talk to strangers and they see that we have so many things in common than those we share, which we mean," he said.

Contact the reporter Nicole Soto at nicole.soto@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter at @NicoleASoto.

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