Volunteering for a good cause
The current times are unique, unheard of are it’s measures when it comes to our personal protection against the possible infection by a virus called COVID-19. While “social distancing” aims to keep individuals physically apart, people notably close ranks in the digital world. One outstanding example of an active online community is the 42,000+ people strong #WirvsVirusHack (“we against the virus”) movement, which came to life last weekend.
Estland and Poland functioned as a model for the initiative started by the German Government, together with seven organizations (Tech4Germany, Code for Germany, Impact Hub Berlin, ProjectTogether, SEND e.V., Initiative D21, Prototype Fund). Within a few days, almost 43,000 people registered to take on the ca. 1500 announced challenges. For 48 hours, tools and platforms such as Slack, Devpost, Airtable, Zoom, Jitsi, Google docs, Github, Microsoft Teams, and many others became the center of project communication.
Even though the event and its project challenges were announced predominantly in German, some international volunteers joined the hackathon, too. One of them was our very own colleague Avinash, who chose to work on a “Corona Tracker“. The idea is to visualize the hot spots of locations that were visited by infected people over the last 14 days. “With the exponential growth of corona, it has become hard to trace it. I propose an idea where it becomes easier to track the origin of infection for a certain patient and patient-0“, Avinash comments on his project approach, which can be accessed here: https://devpost.com/software/corona-tracker-hd5je2.
Avinash’s strong motivation: “There was no prize money involved. I joined the event a couple of hours before it started, simply because I saw the opportunity to contribute my skills and knowledge for a good cause.“ Currently, the Corona Tracker project is in simulation status, but since all project data are available as open-source, Avinash hopes to see others to contribute and further develop his idea. “Getting real data will be one of the major challenges, of course”, he comments, “but I want to keep working on this solution.”
All of the project video pitches are available on YouTube; feel free to browse, comment, share or get involved!
Moderators, mentors, and supporters
In addition to the overwhelming number of volunteers, more than 1,500 companies offered their support to help over the weekend. #TeamEmbold also joined in with its Embold platform support, and we are beyond excited to see how many of the amazing prototypes will evolve over the next weeks and months.
Update: On March 30, the 20 most promising project ideas were announced (+ 197 shortlisted projects). You can now apply to the Solution Enabler Program to benefit from future crowdfunding and company support.