Last weekend Google held its second Hack4Good hackathon. Hack4Good connects Google engineers with non-profits lead by Google alumni. The engineers spend around 24 hours of their personal time creating technological solutions to increase the impact of each nonprofit.
The nonprofits included:
D-Rev, "a product design company that designs and delivers products for people living on less than $4 per day." D-Rev was looking for a tool to replace their paper-based data collection in the field with a mobile application.
MapLight, "a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics." Maplight recently launched a massive federal campaign finance data set currently available for public use and was looking for a search tool to allows users to directly access and download from the database.
charity:water, a non-profit that brings clean, drinking water to those in need. charity:water operated on a 100% model - meaning 100% of public donations go directly to provide clean water - wanted to visualize their portfolio so that donors might better understand their impact.
I was there representing our Makehub project. Makehub is a tool and community for discovering, planning, remixing, and sharing maker education projects. Makehub is a large project with many moving pieces, and our focus for the hackathon was to create a tool for our mentors to capture, share, and remix maker education projects, and to increase access to parts and materials, especially in developing countries. Stef outlines the challenge-at-hand here:
We began the hackathon by pitching our challenges to the room full of developers:
After the pitch we had an amazing team of developers: Aayush Kumar, Nathan Klug, and WIll Chau. The team spent the night reviewing our UI prototypes, workshop documentation, collection of available resources and existing code, and planning the framework they'd need to build the prototype. The next day, they hacked.
In a matter of hours they had created a platform for collecting steps to maker workshops, adding resources to each step through an intelligent keyword search and drag-and-drop interface, logic for forking projects (similar to Github), and a listing system for local merchants to connect materials with educators.
Here are Aayush and Will presenting the results:
Tools they used included:
- Flask - Python Framework
- PostgresSQL (SQLAlchemy)
- Google+ login
- bootstrap.js + jquery
- Hosted on heroku
- Forking code generously shared by ForkTheCookBook
This prototype represents a huge first step for us in the development of the Makehub platform. This week we'll be uploading the code to a github repository where it will be open and hackable to the development community. Building this with our community and keeping it open source is extremely important to us. In the next month we'll be participating in one hackathon and hosting another focused on bringing a beta to production.
We've already seen a great response from developers, designers, and educators who'd like to be involved in the development of Makehub. If you'd like to contribute your talents and join us, visit our Makehub page and submit your information. You'll be joining a wonderful community of artists, inventors, coders, hackers, educators, thinkers, and makers.
Huge thanks to Google's Brandon Jackson and Laura Gramann for organizing the event, to many developers advised us before and during the hack, to the judges for their feedback, and especially to Aayush, Nathan, and Will for donating their talents and weekends (and jokes and laughs) to build something incredibly valuable to educators all over the world.