Women geeks meet to code for social good

August 24, 2014 12:00 am | Updated 05:46 am IST - BANGALORE

Over 100 women participate in a hackathon, themed ‘Tech for Good’

: Early Saturday morning, 100 women — software developers, hardware designers and system integrators — turned up at Outer Ring Road to participate in a hackathon.

Professionals from companies such as Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Tesco, IBM, PayPal and Intuit, collaborated to code for technology solutions to people’s problems in a women-only hackathon themed ‘Tech for Good’. It was organised by The Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit organisation focused on advancement of women in computer science and engineering, Venturesity, ‘Girls in Tech’ and Intuit.

The technology solutions ranged from developing a wearable device for women’s safety, to an application that would send women alerts on their phones reminding them of vaccination schedules.

Preethi from IBM said the group she had formed at the hackathon wanted to use the Android platform to create an application that would enable a person to upload documents (such as khata for property) and get them verified by a lawyer.

Priya Kuber, managing director of Arduino India, spoke of how she used a smart temperature sensor, microcontroller (and software) to resolve the problem of maintaining vaccination vials between two and eight degrees Celsius till they reached villages.

Hackathons are typically held continuously over 24 hours, starting with an idea and ending with products. However, here it began with ideas and would continue with participants collaborating till November, when they would present the products at a larger forum, said Myna Bisineer, chief operating officer, Venturesity.

Ananya Jana from Dell said it was a great opportunity to network offline and start other ventures with other participants.

“Women see and live society’s problems. What can be more empowering for them than to solve those problems by coding for solutions themselves,” said Richa Khanna from Aincubate Innovation, who was mentoring participants.

The women’s hackathon was held recently in Chennai and will next be held in Hyderabad and Pune.

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