Solutions to social issues found thanks to university’s computer whizzkids

By Kerri Stevenson

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A group of students on the second day of the Hackathon event.

Students from DMU and other universities across the country came together today to create innovative, technological solutions to common social problems using apps and software development.

DMU’s annual two-day Hackathon, brought together software designers and developers, charities and service providers to create solutions to issues such as housing, mental and physical health, assisted living and social care as well as other important problems present within the local community.

Dr Samad Ahmadi, of DS3, which supports students and researchers developing applications for organizations and charities and Vir.AL (Virtual Reality and Assisted Living, a research group), said: “This event has been very effective at bringing together students from different backgrounds and communities.”

During this event, a short-listed number of proposals from local charities, councils, hospitals and museums were discussed, of which one will be chosen to be implemented and developed after the event.

On the first day of the Hackathon, many interesting proposals were made regarding health and charities, which combine the collection of important data and research of issues relevant in society today.

There was also an opportunity for a ‘wild card’ proposal, which allowed students to be able to address other prevalent issues in society that may not have otherwise been addressed.

Dr Ahmadi said: “Two proposals stood out to me the most at yesterday’s event. One was for a project that involved collecting important data from skin cancer patients and uploading it anonymously online to use for research.

Students from all walks of life came together to provide solutions to common social issues.

Students from all walks of life came together to provide solutions to common social issues.

“The other was for a fundraising app that helps to raise money for the Charity Trust and local charities such as Forever Savvy, which provides outdoor learning programmes for adults with learning disabilities.”

The software developed during this event will be ‘open source’ in order to allow users and developers to study, change, improve and distribute the developed over the day.

Dr Ahmadi added: “We are hoping for students to produce working prototypes today, which will be proof of their concept.

“If successful, these prototypes will receive further funding to eventually be fully developed.”

If you have any questions about the event or the charities mentioned in this article, please contact Dr Ahmadi on 0116 250 6314 or alternatively, send an email to this address: sahmadi@dmu.ac.uk.

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