29th October 2014 Toronto, Canada

DementiaHack: Dementia Hackathon 2014

Back in August, we wrote about an exciting upcoming event called DementiaHack. We hoped to bring together a bunch of researchers, clinicians, caregivers, people living with dementia and computer scientists to code some creative tech-based solutions to some of the challenges that people face with this issue. A little over a month after the event took place, it’s time for an update!

DementiaHack

Thanks in large part to hackathon organisers extraordinaire HackerNest, we put on a staggeringly successful event. Around 175 people came through the doors over the course of the weekend, with 16 teams presenting demonstrations and 6 taking home prizes. You can see video of all the interesting parts (almost 4 hours!) on HackerNest’s YouTube channel.

On Friday, we set up two panels of expert speakers to talk about what people living with dementia need in order to self-manage and be more independent, and what some of the challenges associated with this are. Our thoroughly capable intern Scott Zoltok also took everyone through a consensus-based workshop to synthesise some of this information into useful groupings and summaries for the coding teams to use.

DementiaHack

On Saturday and Sunday, teams of designers and developers powered through 24 hours of coding (with some assistance from mentors, snacks and coffee) to produce early prototypes of products that might address the challenges articulated on Friday. An expert panel of six judges scored entries on creativity, feasibility, impact and practicality and, after some deliberation, pronounced CareUmbrella the overall winner:

Interested in the other entries and winners of the other prizes? All demos are on the HackerNest YouTube channel.

The UK Science and Innovation Network will now work out a business development trip to the UK, with meetings in London and a presence at the UK HealthTech conference in December. We will report on how the trip went (hopefully with some guest posts) towards the end of the year.

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About John Preece

I cover science and innovation for Ontario (excluding Ottawa), liaising with all relevant research institutions and companies. In 2015 I expect to be working on future cities, high-performance computing and…

I cover science and innovation for Ontario (excluding Ottawa), liaising with all relevant research institutions and companies. In 2015 I expect to be working on future cities, high-performance computing and innovation in healthcare, as well as continuing prior work on dementia, regenerative medicine and science outreach. In the free time that I have after managing multiple small children, I enjoy home improvement and board/computer gaming. You can follow me on Twitter at @jcpreece

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