Dementia Hack

For all of you who have never attended a hackathon I highly recommend watching or participating in one. I would describe it as intense, focused, high energy and inspiring.

Case in point – DementiaHack. In the span of 3 days, from Nov 7 to 9, this hackathon brought together 350+ participants, supported by 75+ volunteers, resulted in 70+ demos validated by 55+ mentors over 30 hours before narrowing to 8 finalists; all  focused on developing tools and solutions for people living with dementia and their caregivers. That’s more than 10,500 hours spent in one weekend to help better the lives of others!

An event like this comes together as a result of contributions from many and Baycrest was happy to share our expertise in a number of ways to help plan the event: from helping to select the categories for the challenge sets, to providing mentorship during the early brainstorming sessions, and sponsorship of the event through the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.

I had the privilege of being a judge on the panel deciding on the finalists. No easy task! With each project presented we kept these criteria in mind:

Impact: How will this improve the life of the beneficiary? 
Practicality: Does this fit into people’s lives? Is it adoptable? Think ‘usability’.
Feasibility: Can the team realistically pull off distribution to the public/hospital sector, etc.?
Creativity and Technical Innovation: Defined as the “Coolfactor!”
Polish: An effective, smooth, compelling pitch

It was impressive and inspiring to see the number of solutions brought forward from a range of mostly younger people, who were motivated to increase their understanding of the impact of this disease and to take up the challenge of looking for solutions that could make a difference in someone’s life.

More than $175,000 in prizes was awarded. The grand prize winner was team Mable (Make A Better Life Everyday).  Mable is a care management platform that facilitates big data gathering for researchers. Real time data is gathered as caregivers use Mable to navigate activities of daily living.

Congratulations not only to the winners, but all the participants.

(photo and video credit: HackerNest)