Henrietta, N.Y. – Students at Rochester Institute of Technology took part in Random Hacks of Kindness Global Hack-a-thon this weekend. The mission of the event is to create open source technology to address some of the world’s most complex issues.
The Hackathon goes from 9 p.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Sunday.
RIT’s Student Innovation Hall is a host site for the event. The Hackathon is a global initiative made up of more than 5,500 developers, designers and artists in more than 30 countries.
At RIT, students are working on projects to help volunteers working in developing countries.
“We have everything going on from open hardware that pulls down radio signals and satellite data from NASA, to a tool that takes an SMS text message that someone in the field can send, it will will automatically update a spreadsheet for accounting purposes because a lot of people in developing countries don’t have a constant connection to the internet like we do here. So that’s a great way to keep projects up to date, to account, and to help keep donors up to date with what field activies are happening,” said RIT Research Associate Remy Decausemaker.
Decausemaker also made clear that there are a few local ties to some of the projects that students are working on.
"We have a project where we're going through all of the Henrietta town meeting minutes to make them searchable by keyword, and to turn the PDFs into machine-readable text,” he said. “We want to do that for other parts of Rochester as well.”
Students are working with state, federal, and international organizations. Currently, a mobile website for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's storm resources page is in the prototype stage and needs improvements before it can be used.
Also in attendance at the event was Sean Herron, a member of NASA's Open Government team, and Rob Bishop, a developer with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charitable organization founded with the goal of promoting the study of computer science and other related topics.
Checking out the Google Games hackathon at RIT. They had three simultaneous hack days today! #rhok http://t.co/Hq7W3lb3
Random Hacks of Kindness has hosted four global events to date.