Young Rewired State: Coding a Better WORLD


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hackers gonna hack

Teams put on the final touches to their hacks on Friday night, before the Saturday presentations.

As I wrote last week, I spent the week in England, witnessing something very special that’s been happening there for one week a year, for the past four years. That “something” is different and awe inspiring, and it is called Young Rewired State. If you didn’t catch my post from last week, here’s your chance to catch up and learn a bit more about YRS.

At the time that post went to press, I was en route to the grand finale – the Festival of Code – in Birmingham, UK. As expected, it was a spectacular end to what had already been an exceedingly fulfilling week. About 500 people were in attendance, which included:

  • hackers – young developers (400+, <19 yrs of age) who had been learning and building throughout the week, at their respective centres across the country
  • parents – patient and supportive caretakers of this next generation of developers
  • mentors – devoted “elders”, who had been teaching and motivating the hackers in their local communities
  • judges – some of Britain’s smartest, most influential citizens and members of the tech community
  • sponsors – representatives of companies that have committed their dollars to supporting an epically important initiative
  • YRS staff – the people who make the magic happen (last but certainly not least!)
Friday night was rather calm – everyone got to know each other; I joined the wickedly charismatic Dallas Campbell, of BBC fame for a discussion with attendees about the importance of developing communication and social skills as a “geek”; and, of course, we ate pizza, which was accompanied by lots of gummy bears!

Saturday morning, I had the privilege of judging the first round of presentations, which proved to result in many difficult decisions when it came to selecting the teams that would move on to the next round. Since I was so impressed by the projects, I’d like to give them all the recognition they deserve. At the end of this post is a list of the projects, organized by the centre from which they worked.

There were several other groups that presented simultaneously – those listed below are only from the group judged by the panel to which I contributed.
All teams were judged within four categories:

      • Code a Better Country
      • Wish I’d Thought of That
      • Best Example of Coding
      • Best in Show

One team was selected from each category, and from each group, to advance on to the finals. From there, an overall winner in each category was selected. The finals’ judging panel  also created a fifth category – “Should Exist” – because they wanted to recognize one app that didn’t fall into any of the four pre-established categories but was so good they felt it needed to exist in the market today.

You can see all five winners and link to more information about them on the official hack results page. Wired magazine published a great article, from the perspective of one of the young participants, which is a worthwhile read. Plus, I’ve posted some more pictures of the event, for your viewing enjoyment.

 


 

Team Sinclair’s Project Group – judged during the first round of YRS Festival of Code:

  • Centre: Mad Lab
  • Projects:
    • Sraping of Medal
      • info on Olympic medals won, by country
    • Youtilities
      • crowdsourced mapping of useful public utilities around town
    • Social Games
      • an IRC analytics tool, including traffic metrics and sentiment analysis
      • a Twitter-based game of Minesweeper
    • News Recommender
      • your personalized news aggregator and curation tool
    • Manchester Image Archive
      • compare present-day Google street view images of building, etc, to historic images of those same structures from photos taken hundreds of years ago
    • Lobby-o-Matic
      • view the bills before Parliament and contact your MP to share your thoughts as a voter
    • Danger Chorus
      • helps raise awareness of endangered species, through an audio representation of the threat facing the chosen species
    • TV Reminder
      • schedule reminders for your favorite TV shows and get alerts via SMS
    • Wood Street Mission
      • compare poverty levels of different cities and regions, identify those that you’d like to help and make contributions via the web
    • Bump-o-Matic
      • mobile app that automatically detects potholes as you ride your bike through the city and notifies the government of needed fixes
    • Project Space
      • general information/facts about space, interactive map of space shuttle launch sites and a browser-based “fact calculator)
      • team member ages: 13, 13, 10, 7
  • Centre: Shoreditch Works
  • Projects:
    • Streets of London
      • developed a game engine and interactive web-based game, where the player takes role of government and tries to make a happier society through policy decisions
    • Why Waste a Vote?
      • a web app that helps educate young voters about elections and candidates
  • Centre: NeonTribe
  • Projects:
    • Rewired Olympics
      • learn more about the various countries who participate in the Olympics
    • HuMap
      • incorporates a more human approach to navigation into that of traditional navigation technologies
  • Centre: Caged Fish
  • Projects:
    • Kivu
      • mobile app that helps friends organize impromptu social meet ups
  • Centre: Uni of Edi
  • Projects:
    • Fringe Dodger
      • helps locals avoid the crowds around town that develop around busy events, etc
    • Song magic
      • scan a UPC code from a CD/album cover with your phone’s camera, and it automatically opens that album in Spotify
  • Centre: Innovation of Martlesham
  • Projects:
    • Outrunners
      • play to role of a burglar outrunning the police, in this fun graphical web game
    • Restaurant Locator
      • restaurant owners create profiles for their businesses, patrons more easily find a place to have their next meal
  • Centre: Cyber-Duck
  • Projects:
    • Crime Viewer
      • find crime statistics based on location

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Director, Developer Relations at @SendGrid. Passionate about bringing people together around things they love. I tweet at @TimFalls.

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