Be kind and ‘hack’ away

Helping farmers monitor pesticide-use in crops through apps and drawing out bus-maps for the blind were some ideas discussed at bi-annual Randon Hacks of Kindness event
The hackers for a social cause displayed some intersting ideas
The hackers for a social cause displayed some intersting ideas

BENGALURU: Over the last sixty years, our country’s use of fertilisers has increased dramatically–120 times or more over, even if we go by conservative government data. This degrades the soil and increases our carbon footprint. Unfortunately, there has been no successful attempt to come up with a solution which is simple and effective enough to be used by the farmers.

To tackle this problem, OpenCube Labs, a Bengaluru-based start-up, is working on an open-source based app exclusively for the farmers to help them gauge the right measure of pesticides and fertilizers to use.

“We are currently working on providing open-source solutions for effective use of fertilizers to reduce carbon footprint in the agriculture sector,” said Suraj Jana, founder of OpenCube Labs, at the event. “The app tracks the amount of fertilizer required by the crop along with the health of the crop. Individuals can use our open-source tools to develop this platform further.”

This was one of the projects discussed and brainstormed upon at an event called the the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) that was organised here over this weekend.


Another project was by the World Merit India, which is also working on open-source solutions in the field of water conservation. “We have identified water conservation as a major problem in agriculture and we are currently developing a smart system for pumps that deliver the required amount of water to the crops.” said Subhash KC, who is the CEO of World Merit India, Bangalore Chapters.

Yogesh Londhe, a volunteer and trustee at the RHoK, said that such hackathons help develop apps, electronic devices and software faster than major corporates.
Women’s health

Jasmine George of Hidden Pockets, focused on issues faced by women in the city. Hidden Pockets provides mapping services for women in the area of sexual health. “I’m a lawyer by training,” she said. “But when I found that there was a lack of innovation in the field of women’s health at many hackathons, I set out to provide ideas and solve issues faced by women using technology.” Another problem statement presented include a tree-mapping web application developed by Gubbi Labs, which is currently looking to improve its user interface and include features such as identifying green habitable zones in the city.

Bus-map for the blind

Other innovation was an app that helps visually-impaired people help locate bus stops in the city,  and identification of earthquake zones in coastal regions under Coastal Quake Alert Response and Analysis (CQARA), a programme developed in collaboration with NASA.

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The New Indian Express