Qualogy's QChallenge hackathon was a massive successPublished on: Author: Team Communication Category: News
On October 12 - 13, the first edition of Qualogy’s QChallenge hackathon was hosted in the Startup Village at the Science Park in Amsterdam. The event exceeded all expectations. Ana Maldonado, Qualogy’s Head of Data Strategy, and Tjerk Feitsma, the Neurodiversity Foundation's CEO, look back on the successful weekend.
Eight teams of students took part in the hackathon, and seven of them presented a concept to the jury. ‘The QChallenge really exceeded all our expectations and both the motivation and level of expertise of the participants were exceptionally high,’ says Ana. Tjerk adds, ‘I would have considered the hackathon a success with just twenty participants, but seeing almost double that number at the start was fantastic.’
The Neurodiversity Foundation aims to create a society in which everybody feels welcome, regardless of the type of brain people are born with. That is why they develop smart solutions that help autistic people. In doing so, they create social equality and help to accommodate a neurologically diverse society.
A challenge with huge social impact
From all the entries, Qualogy selected the Neurodiversity Foundation as their partner. ‘The Neurodiversity Foundation’s challenge had the most innovative ingredients and social impact, which was why we chose them as our partner,’ explains Ana. The Neurodiversity Foundation presented the following challenge at the hackathon:
Can we determine which data – provided by sensors on smartphones, smartwatches, and smart glasses – are suitable to establish a person's well-being?
The importance of the challenge
Tjerk explains, ‘An autistic child feels lonely if nobody understands them, yet only a few people know how those children feel or how to support them during daily life. This challenge is important because it shows that we strive for a society in which everyone participates, regardless of the type of brain they are born with. By implementing technology in the right way, we can develop tools that provide smart solutions to this challenge.’
‘For me, the highlight of the QChallenge was seeing the students’ intensity and motivation as they got stuck in. I know that there is a lot of love, connectivity, and diversity in the world, but it always makes me go quiet when I actually see it in action,’ says Tjerk. Ana adds: ‘The students’ huge involvement together with their professional attitudes were absolutely the highlight of the QChallenge for me.’
Ana says, ‘Team Bellaoudoe presented an innovative chatbot, a robot you can chat to, designed for autistic children. The chatbot uses movement patterns that were recognized in the behaviour as well as data gathered from other sensors. This can help the children identify their welfare and therefore improve how they communicate. From the very start, the team worked on implementing a practical solution – a speech-recognition chatbot app. That was what really stood out to me.’
Tjerk adds, ‘One of the teams provided an unexpected insight, which we will definitely investigate further. They realized that heart rate is influenced by a person’s emotional well-being and that the speed at which the heart rate returns to its normal rhythm indicates the person's emotional state at the time. This may represent the foundations of a very interesting but as yet non-existent model.’
And the winners are...
The jury chose not one, but two winners. The differences between the teams were so small and the solutions complemented each other so perfectly that teams JADS and KingPong deservedly shared first place. This means that instead of five, Qualogy is sending ten students on a trip to their favourite holiday destination. Team Bellaoudoe took second place.
Qualogy and the Neurodiversity Foundation would like to congratulate the winners and thank all the participants for their fantastic efforts.
Our partners ADS, ACE, and Albert Heijn
Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) and Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) partnered with Qualogy to host the QChallenge hackathon. Ana adds: ‘It would not have been possible to find the students without the support of ADS, and ACE were a huge help in organizing the location, logistics, and support. Thanks to our partners’ help, the QChallenge was a huge success. We would also like to thank Albert Heijn for sponsoring the groceries.’
Ana concludes, ‘Many of the students have said that they are looking forward to the next edition of the QChallenge, which really proves to me that they enjoyed the event.’
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