In early June, Christian Muise participated in Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK
), a weekend-long “hackathon” which occurs annually in 18 cities around the world. Muise’s team was based in Toronto and they worked in conjunction with a team from Atlanta, Georgia. The teams won first place for their respective cities, beating five other projects, by creating a mobile app called “Hermes Message Carrier
Hermes Message Carrier is a mobile app created to transmit messages to cell phones, social networking feeds or email addresses in times of crisis when there are no traditional mode of connectivity available. The app is designed to use ad-hoc connections to disperse messages to other devices with connectivity. Once connectivity is found, the device will in turn transmit messages to the server, hence distributing the data to the respective recipient cell phone, social networking feed or email server.
The Toronto team members worked from the University of Toronto’s campus, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “It was extremely eye-opening and amazing to be part of Random Hacks of Kindness,” Christian says of his experience. “There were constant streams of video from all over the world, and our demos were broadcast live. We worked with a team in Atlanta via Skype, and ended up producing something that is much better because of the collaboration…” The winners of RHoK were given prizes and a chance to showcase the app at the Open Data App Demo at GovCamp, held at the MaRS Discovery District.
RHoK was formed in 2009 by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, NASA and the World Bank, to foster collaboration and create software that will facilitate aid to disaster situations or environmental challenges. Participants in the hackathon came from various vocational backgrounds; for instance, teams were composed of software developers, designers, and humanitarian aid specialists. Muise explains, “RHoK serves as a breeding ground for collaboration between all of the parties needed to help tackle the problems our world is facing today.”
Congratulations to Christian Muise and his team for striving to create innovative tools which seek to improve methods of communication in times of crisis.Orbelina Cortez