Published: 25th March 2020
India's young techies begin Corona Hackathon to find immediate app solutions to battle COVID-19
Teams were formed online and the hackathon will happen virtually. Chat platform Slack is being used for people to discuss projects and form teams
People from across the globe have been actively participating in relief work to help governments tackle the COVID-19 outbreak and India is not lagging behind. One such volunteer, Paras Chopra, has set up a hackathon to help find solutions to ease the struggle against the novel Coronavirus.
The Corona-focused hackathon or Coronathon, as Paras calls it, is quite different from hackathons that we see generally. "We are trying to speed up the process. There is no point in coming up with a solution that will be market-ready after months. By this weekend we intend to have at least five to 10 ideas that should be implementable," said Paras, who got the idea from similar hackathons across the world that are striving to find tech solutions to this pandemic. "I put out a tweet on March 22 asking people who have ideas to collaborate and help build solutions for this crisis. Till now we have more than 1500 people working on 25 on going projects and 30 others which are being ideated," added the Co-founder of Wingify, a tech firm that enhances digital experience for the consumer.
So what's cooking? Paras picked out a few ideas that sound promising. "There is a team who have proposed to 3D print ventilators. They have taken inspiration from a few other designs so as to make the process faster and we will have a prototype by this Sunday. We are in touch with some people at the concerned ministries and we urge them to help us get sanctions to go into production if they like our demo," added Paras.
"Some people are working on how to track quarantined people. The Singapore government and the MIT have a project where when you have your phone with you it will track your breadcrumbs and if you are tested positive you can upload the encrypted data and anyone who was near you or met you will get a message saying that they have been exposed so that they can quarantine themselves. Our team is trying to do something similar. Another interesting idea is outbreak prediction which will let the government know which area might have the next outbreak. This will help them be prepared," he said.
Teams were formed online and the hackathon will happen virtually. Chat platform Slack is being used for people to discuss projects and form teams. "There will be a demo day every Sunday evening where finished and work in progress projects will be demonstrated. Demo day will be moderated by the hackathon organising team — Sparsh Gupta, my Co-founder at Wingify, Satish Raghuraman, Vivek VS and I — but anyone is free to join to see projects. During the demo day, the organising team and advisors will help any promising project with financial help or resources or guidance," said Paras.