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Hackathon comes up with useful tools, apps

(Staff Reporter)
Filed on November 1, 2011

ABU DHABI - Over 50 students worked in teams to create mobile and web applications designed to tackle real-world social issues in the region at the first-ever International Hackathon for the Social Good in the Arab World, which was held in Abu Dhabi during the weekend.

The three-day event which was hosted by the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) was participated by computer science students, academics and technology experts from around the globe.

An interactive computer application for physiotherapy developed by students from the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) won the top prize.

The KineTherapy application or the “physical therapy game” uses Microsoft’s Kinect technology to monitor a patient’s actual movements against an animated guide directing the therapy programme.

The application was developed during the three-day computer programming hackathon to provide a fun, effective and cost-saving tool to address physical therapy needs in the Arab world.

Students from NYU New York who teamed up with a student from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) in Jordan to develop OpenMena, a web-based resource designed to provide government data in an accessible format for computer programmers, clinched the second position.

The third place went to The Makindu Children’s Centre Database Project, which created an application designed for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to increase efficiency in submitting records and reports to donors.

The NYUAD Hackathon was designed to foster a culture of innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship in computer science, while presenting students with the opportunity to interact with international technology experts, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Students were mentored by faculty members of participating universities and professionals from organisations such as Yahoo!, Grameen Foundation, LinkedIn, Microsoft Corporation and the World Bank.

“In our increasingly connected world, application development is a tremendously impactful way to empower people with the tools and resources they need to overcome social challenges,” said Sana Odeh, NYU clinical associate professor of computer science, a member of the NYU Abu Dhabi Affiliated Faculty, the event’s organiser.

“Hosting a Hackathon creates a powerful forum to stimulate creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and greater collaboration. I have been very impressed with the range of inventive and marketable ideas that have resulted from this event,” she added.

olivia@khaleejtimes.com


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