Under the patronage of the Swiss Government and supported by 120 partners, the #VersusVirus initiative is one of the biggest citizen-science projects in Switzerland. The initiative’s online hackathons and its Incubator programme foster projects which tackle problems entailed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – a crisis that affects all of our lives. All projects contribute to the common good and are owned by its creators – the participants of the #VersusVirus online events. The latest event – the #VersusVirus May Hackathon – took place from 29 May to 01 June.
During 48 hours, over 200 participants supported by 50 mentors were working on one particular challenge they had picked before the start of the hackathon. There were 57 challenges to choose from; each challenge incorporated a Covid-19 related problem from the following categories: Protection of Risk Groups, Education, Dissemination Prevention, After the Crisis, Trustable Data vs. Fake News, Support & Solidarity, and Economic Impact. At the end of the Hackathon, the teams were meant to present their solutions to an international jury.
The participants came from all parts of Switzerland’s society. As a result, the hackers brought a huge variety of skill sets to the table, which gave the teams excellent preconditions to work on their complex challenges, approaching them from different perspectives. Furthermore, an international team of mentors, coming from various domains, assisted the teams with their expertise. Additionally, there were several workshops, teaching basic hackathon knowledge. In order to guarantee a smooth workflow, the #VersusVirus organising team provided the technological infrastructure; including the hackathon app which was co-developed by gluoNNet.
Eventually, 19 solutions were presented to the jury. “Being on the jury was a difficult assignment. Particularly when you have 19 excellent and inspiring submissions with regard to their quality, depth and spirit of innovation. They all deserve to be winners “ said Ashish Shah, Director of the Division of Country Programmes at the International Trade Centre and co-chair of the jury. During the hackathon’s closing ceremony, the jury announced seven highlighted projects, awarding them with 1000CHF each. The highlighted projects provided smart solutions to the challenges. For instance, one project aims to create an e-learning platform for elderly people, another one targets the safe usage of public spaces using heat maps, whereas another project provides a virtual marketplace for artists to connect, schedule, and pay for live performances and events.
The whole event was accompanied by moderated sessions such as the kick-off, updates from the organising team, or the closing ceremony.
These main events of the hackathon were streamed live using a tool developed by gluoNNet. The tool allows its user to broadcast a Zoom meeting on Youtube and make editorial modifications such as lower thirds or displaying multiple frames in real-time.
If you want to find out more, check versusvirus.ch/may-hackathon.