By Daniel Suárez Pérez
Innovative and disruptive ideas to make a better world were the result of the social hackathon RiseUp. This event was held this past weekend in New York and Miami, as a pre-event to the RiseUp Fusion summit to be held in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 19th.
This Saturday and Sunday more than 30 participants from different professions gathered to create projects aimed at solving problems related to education, poverty, climate change, gender inequality, corruption and health.
The attendees -- developers, journalists, scientists, activists, designers, teachers, artists, entrepreneurs and other creatives -- worked on 7 projects that connect and empower citizens through technology. Thinking about solutions for their communities, the participants created tools to track the sea level rise in South Florida; incentivize citizen trash pick-up; improve the connection between citizens, community leaders and government; make conversations around social literacy fun; connect people with alternative medicine doctors/providers; and a vertical farming workflow management platform. Click through to read more about the projects in New York and Miami.
"The more input from different people you have, with different perspectives, the better you are in the right solution," said Alfonso Mendez, a programmer that developed Pppin, an app that geolocalized problems and needs of the community.
Gabriela Sánchez-Silva, social media manager and first timer in hackathon, said "Our responsibility as part of a community is to try to have healthy environment for all and help people to find solutions if they need." Sánchez-Silva worked with Paola Cruzalegui to develop an alternative medicine platform connecting providers with their patients.
Some attendees brought in projects already in development and sought to ideate on their designs. Sean Arunti, founder of Emrals, a real-life game empowering citizen trash-pick-up, lead a team that developed a localized version of the game, giving power to communities to feel more inclined to participate. “We went local due to the conversation here at the hackathon,” said Arunti.
Susan Jacobson, a professor at Florida International University who leads a team of professors and students for Eyesontherise.org, featured the project at the hackathon to get a feedback about user experience and design. Eyesontherise.org's mission is to help inform residents of South Florida about sea level rise.
Here is a closer look at the projects:
*Eyes on the rise: Aims to raise awareness and to educate South Florida communities about the impact, challenges and threats of sea level rise to create possible solutions for a sustainable future. The app includes a crowdsourced data collection tool where citizens may document flooding, a side-effect of climate change that is under-reported, and a visualization of increasing heights of sea-level rise.
Hackathon challenge: Improve the user interface/user experience of the app to help residents of South Florida better understand and document the impact of sea level rise on their homes.
*SociaLit: We are all born into the world and very quickly marked with certain social constructs: gender, race, class, ability. Social literacy is understanding that we exist in connection to our social conditions. Challenging people’s assumptions and understanding parallels between privilege can be difficult. SociaLit repurposes the childhood game Fortune Teller to create a playful and safe space to open difficult conversations. Unfold your fortune to reveal a QR code that brings you to a video that helps players think critically about the topic.
Hackathon challenge: Develop a game experience and critical thinking exercise around social literacy.
*BeAlternative: Connect alternative medicine providers and low income families and individuals to receive alternative medicine and create awareness.
Hackathon challenge: Ideation. Create a web and/or mobile app to connect holistic medicine doctors providers with their clientele to jointly offer free services to the people with low income (poverty level) of their community.
*Emrals: Seeking to incentivize citizen trash pick-up, Emrals is a real-life game and eCan connected device that empowers citizens to clean their city. Emrals is a digital currency for civic good. The team developed a localized version of Emrals launching in Bed-Stuy to deepen citizen investment and engagement.
Hackathon challenge: Ideate on the design of Emrals and develop a localized site to target people at the neighborhood level starting in the Bed-Stuy community.
Pppin: With this web app people can pin the problems that are most relevant to them and improve their situation. The app is connected with government and groups that can provide solutions.
Hackathon challenge: It’s a project that has 18 month of development, the goal is get feedback about user experience.
*Vertical Farming: Vertical farming is cultivating plant life within a skyscraper greenhouse or on vertically inclined surfaces. The modern idea of vertical farming uses techniques similar to glass houses, where natural sunlight can be augmented with artificial lighting. It provides a workflow management platform to address future agriculture needs.
Hackathon challenge: Ideation on platform and distribution strategy.
*Red Phone: An app that connects citizens' needs/problems with community leaders able/willing to solve them.
Hackathon challenge: Ideation. Integrate the app with existing city apps.
Posted Nov. 17, 2014