Yahoo! is no stranger to hack events. Between our internal Hack Days, Open Hacks, and the HackU events at universities around the world, we have introduced thousands of engineers to the joys of creating cool projects in 24 hours. We are also quite proud of our participation in one of the greatest hack movements: Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK).
RHoK started after a discussion panel in 2009 about how to use web technology to save lives during a crisis. It's core members include Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, the World Bank, NASA, and HP. RHoK provides support and coordination for global and local hacking events for humanity.
RHoK Global - December 2011
Over 1,000 engineers in 34 cities around the world worked together December 3 and 4 to solve pre-defined problems. These solutions ranged from augmented communication devices for those unable to speak to seed banks for developing countries. Here are just a few of the projects that have been saved as open source solutions.
- Appcessible: This Chrome extension is for people with low vision and/or reading difficulties. It reorganizes a web page to separate the important content from the secondary modules. It also integrates text to speech.
- The Collaboration Project: With help from NASA, this project creates a dashboard for Spaceship Earth and provides a single repository for civic projects.
- Implement Humidity Slide Functionality with Software: Some of the folks at the National Meteorology department of the Gambia need to calculate Dew Point Temperature, Vapor Pressure and Relative Humidity. They had previously been using a piece of equipment called a Humidity Slide Rule to accomplish this task. The Humidity Slide Rules that they have now are old, no longer readable and not easily distributable. This project replaces the outdated tool with a software solution.
- RHoK London was convened by MyBnk and focused on building apps relating to financial illiteracy and financial exclusion among U.K. youth. Resulting hacks included Pound Around the World, an online game teaching kids purchasing power parity (PPP) by educating them on the value of a pound in different parts of the world.
- RHoK Montreals first event was won by the aptly-named Bacteria Detecto-Droid Team for an Android app that will allow users to run a photo of bacteria plates through an image recognition software to provide easy and low-cost water monitoring, particularly in developing countries.
From Banjul to Bangalore, from Porto Alegre to Pretoria, tech-savvy do-gooders collaborated with subject-matter experts in a wide variety of fields to build software applications for the benefit of their local communities and the world. Random Hacks of Kindness hackers came from diverse backgrounds: in addition to computer programmers, RHoK events included designers, project managers, PR and marketing professionals, UI/UX specialists, GIS mappers, and many more people volunteering their professional skills for a good cause.
Events around the world started off with anticipation high as participants followed other global locations via Ustream and Twitter and shared videos of RHoK introductions in other locations. Many events began with a Friday night meet-up and problem brainstorming session where experts and hackers began building out concepts to respond to proposed problem definitions. The experts proposing problems for RHoK Global included, among others, Oxfam, UN OCHA, Doctors Without Borders, the World Bank, InSTEDD, Ushahidi, Fragile Oasis, as well as numerous challenges posed by local, municipal and national government agencies.
RHoK Around the World - Random Hacks of Kindness
Join the next event
The next global RHoK event will be in June 2012. However, RHoK helps groups coordinate events throughout the year based on local or issue specific problems. Visit RHoK's upcoming events page for more information.