Last night, I went to see the demos for the EMERGE wearables hackathon to see who won. I'm nosy like that.
I had a great time watching the various presentations and what everyone came up with in 2 days. Some individuals brought technologies with them to showcase. Although they were cool, that wasn't really in the spirit of a hackathon. But we all got to see some cool products in process.
There were 2 winners who had a hardware and software solution - one winner for the weekend, one winner to attend the EMERGE accelerator program, which starts today.
The winner for the weekend (Incident Track) was a father/son team who created a way for first responders to find people in a building (the judges strongly encouraged them to continue with that project. It was pretty cool!). They found a way to track individuals wearing a device and who indicate if assistance is needed. Basically, someone could be found if lost in a building.
The winner of getting a spot in the EMERGE accelerator program (Emergency Response System) were 3 guys who created a dashboard and monitoring device that tracked a first responder's temperature and other personal metrics, which allow a chief to know where his team was, how they were doing, if they were in trouble, or could go save someone nearby. It would help them manage and plan a rescue. It was a great demo/prototype! (And guys, if you need some initial UX advice on what a dashboard could look like - let me know!)
There were some other interesting projects as well...
- Pascalor was a wearable patch that would help a first responder to know at a rescue or disaster scene quickly if someone were a-ok, needing watch, needing emergency assistance, or dead (sometimes, you just don't know). Basically, it would leverage definitions for temperature, pulse, breathing rate and some other metrics to quickly determine the level of distress of someone. I could see how, over time as technology improved, this patch could be wireless and disposable. For now, it would be wired. Unfortunately, it was pretty much built before the hackathon. But it's a great concept!
- Go Compass was a compass device that could be worn and wouldn't be a feature on a cell phone. It could work without phone signal and be programmable. Pretty interesting!
- First was a dashboard/software product that would aggregate various feeds from other sensors and systems. It was an interesting concept and business model, but there was no demo for it, which was unfortunate. However, there was screen mockup which was intriguing.
- Breeze had 2 parts to their presentation - one was a device that would use water as a filter to breathe cool air. It was also developed before the hackathon. Breeze developed a concept where a drone could respond to a victim in water, providing a floatation device and serve as a beacon to get help. That was interesting! I wish I saw that in action.
I enjoyed watching the demos the most (actually, I wanted the individuals to get thru the business/value props to see what they created). It has been a long time since I was around individuals who created tangible things. I think that last time I was around anything like this was when I was at MIT. They would have the 6.270 robotics competition or robot wars and such. My friends were always tinkering creating devices or designing chips. Creation was about real things.
I ended up in the non-tangible after I decided to be a writing major and later an English major at another school. After that, I entered the world of software, and then the Internet (talk about being in the world of not tangible!). I haven't been around anyone making anything tangible in a long long time. It was a refreshing experience!
(Even at HP, I was sheltered in the world of marketing and didn't get to see actual product being developed.)
I wish everyone who participated the best in their pursuits. I look forward to the next hardware hackathon - either I'll participate or at least swing by to watch the demos and see the creations.
Great job, everyone! Love the innovation!!