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Melbourne Hackathon supported by base2Services and AWS

This news release is provided by base2Services on the 03 December 2015

Something big is happening in Melbourne this weekend. Hackers from around the country will gather at Swinburne University, Hawthorn, to use their skills in software development, graphic design, marketing, and business strategy to effect positive change in the world.

This isn't the kind of hacking you might know from popular film and TV, where shady characters wearing hoodies try to gain access to corporate and government computer systems. It's the kind of hacking that seeks to solve common problems using innovative solutions.

The Summer Hackathon is being organised by Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK), a global community of technologists and changemakers who are “hacking for good”. Twice a year, RHOK runs hackathons, which bring together volunteer developers and tech-savvy do-gooders to work with charities, community groups, and social enterprises.

An example of one of the groups (known as “changemakers”) attending this weekend’s event is the Association of Children with a Disability, who are attempting to increase the awareness and uptake of fully accessible ‘Changing Places’ toilets for the 200,000 Australians with severe and profound disabilities and their carers who need extra facilities to allow them to use a toilet. Their hack project, called i.pee.freely, aims to make more people aware of the need for these facilities and build community campaigns to see more built in the places that matter. By doing so they aim to decrease the social and economic isolation of people with disabilities.

How will they do this? By building an app, of course.

This is just one of 6 socially minded changemakers who'll be hacking for good this weekend. Others include Right Click, an early stage social enterprise that pairs teenagers with seniors to teach them how to use technology such as mobile devices and computers. And then there's FoodUP!, a "vertical farming" initiative that produces food and recycles organic waste using a food-swapping mobile app.

Supporting this weekend's hackathon are Melbourne cloud technology company base2Services, who are partnering with Amazon Web Services to help make the event as successful as possible. Andre Vidic is a Developer at base2Services and had this to say about the Summer Hackathon:

"We're really happy to be working with AWS to support this hackathon. It's one thing to have a world-changing idea, but implementing it can be a whole other story. We'll be attending the event to help these teams of changemakers develop and deploy their ideas. The goal will be to have most, if not all, the changemaking initiatives fully operational by the end of the event on Sunday night."

And this is what hackathons are all about – getting stuff done. While some initiatives can take years or decades to reach fruition, the point of a hackathon is to take an idea from just that – an idea – through to a fully functional application, within the few frenzied hours in which the event takes place. This is possible using the diverse skillsets of the men and women attending in conjunction with a spirit of healthy competition.

But it's important to remember that this is more than just a competition. The teams of changemakers will be actively collaborating whenever possible to help each other achieve their goals. Hacking for good means leaving petty rivalries aside and uniting for a common social good.

How will they go? Only time will tell. Watch this space for updates…

You can register to attend the event at the MeetUp website.

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