Shoptalk lives Las Vegas. But did you know women have roots in Vegas design?
Take a moment to remember those middle school workdays. The teacher would set you and your friends loose for 45 minutes of uninterrupted creative time to think up cool projects, imagine fun prototypes and communicate your ideas to the world. That’s what a VOLTAGE hackathon is like – a fun-filled day of designing and problem solving.
Our recent hackathon prompt: Solve a global challenge with technology. Four groups crafted solutions to global issues utilizing futuristic tech. Here’s what we hacked:
Group 1: Fighting food insecurity
Our first hackathon group tackled food insecurity. This includes not only hunger, but also poor diet, lack of consistent access to food and health problems caused by lack of nutrition. Support systems exist (we’re all familiar with fundraising operations like canned food drives), but, as Adam explains, just donating cans doesn’t eliminate the problem. Things like shame and lack of access create barriers for the trade off.
Thus, this VOLTAGE group created Food Vine, an app that solves food insecurity issues by connecting people anonymously. Check out the step-by-step:
- Donors sign up to contribute money or cooked meals
- Recipients sign up online or at a public location
- Dietary needs and restrictions are noted
- Recipients pick up or have resources delivered
- Donors get digital updates upon food delivery
Members can help in other ways, too, like volunteering at a partner food chain in exchange for donated meals or by donating unused credit card points as monetary contributions. People give. People eat. Simple and neat!
Group 2: Getting schooled – anywhere
Access to education is difficult in many places. Our second hackathon group stood up to this challenge with a unique technological approach. Say hello to Professor Hologram, the puck-sized, portable teacher. This educational interface features:
- 3-D modeling, camera and blackboard
- Interactive holo-structures
- Downloadable lessons
- Voice translation
- Real-time interaction between locations
- Microphone and speaker
- Motion sensor
Engineers make the disks from inexpensive and durable recycled materials, and drones distribute these edu-pucks to hard-to-reach areas (because drones = the future). Plus, Professor Hologram’s lessons are hyper-customized for local cultures and regions in the native tongue.
Group 3: Making modern-day pen pals
Have you ever struck up a conversation with a stranger? Did you learn anything? Did you make a friend? Our third hackathon group expanded the idea that broader minds have bigger ideas and created Pals.
Pals pairs up children across the world (with parent’s permission of course) based on just a few common traits for a virtual, modern-day pen pal experience. This relationship inspires:
- Cultural and global awareness
- Close and meaningful relationships
- Global initiatives
- Personal empathy
- Accepting of diversity
Virtually connecting a young audience across the globe creates strong bonds that bring people together through communication, understanding and love. Pretty amazing.
Group 4: Building a bot for teaching
Announcing the mobile teachers’ aid from the future! EduBot was made by our fourth hackathon team to help educate the 400 million people across the globe who have never experienced a day of schooling.
Cute and smart, EduBot comes pre-loaded with lessons to teach classes, helps with one-on-one sessions, and even leads night classes for adults. This robust robot features two interactive screen faces (used like this). Other features include:
- Onboard AI
- Solar panels
- Stable treads
- Projector, speakers and microphone
- Optical sensors
- Support arms and tamper-resistant design
This bot teaches and grades students without human bias that can block educational efforts. But! Teachers are still needed for classroom management, and EduBot needs employees to create, maintain and continually improve the technology. (Yay, job security!)
At the end of the day we had a ton of fun bringing our ideas to life. Passionate creation with peers inspired some great ideas: AI-powered educators, a crowdsourced meal app, hologram teachers and world-wide friendships.
We might not be able to make prototypes of all our ideas right now, but we believe that tech is the answer to world-wide issues. We can’t wait to see what global challenges get hacked with tomorrow’s technology.