A hackathon with a dual goal — solving real problems while encouraging young religious women to enter high-tech professions – produced a device called EasySurf that helps seniors access information online.
EasySurf was the top winner in the fifth annual Women’s Hackathon at the Jerusalem College of Technology LevTech Entrepreneurship Center. Geared to Orthodox Jewish students, JCT trains approximately 18 percent of all women studying computer science in Israel.
At the 45-hour event, 140 women worked in teams to develop technologies answering specific needs presented by Intel, OrCam, Medtronic, Alpha-TAU, Rafael, United Hatzalah, the Israel Police and the IDF.
The group that developed EasySurf chose a challenge from Jerusalem-based OrCam, whose award-winning AI products facilitate reading for people with visual impairment and other impediments.
OrCam wanted to automate access for senior citizens to critical websites, such as social security and healthcare. Once programmed by a trusted person, the device “remembers” how to reach these portals with one click.
Second prize went to a group that developed Defifly, a flying defibrillator that can be summoned by phone, to address a challenge presented by first-response organization United Hatzalah and drone company FlyTech. This would address situations when a patient is in cardiac arrest and there’s no nearby defibrillator.
In third place was the group that developed EyeCare, answering a challenge presented by OrCam for detecting children accidentally left in a closed and parked vehicle.
The projects coming out of the hackathon aren’t just theoretical. EasySurf is already available for use, and all the hackathon teams can join the LevTech accelerator to further develop their inventions for market.
“The hackathon provides an experiential learning experience from the high-tech world that is based on real demands in the field,” said Orlee Guttman, cofounder of LevTech Entrepreneurship Center.
“Each student demonstrated creativity and sophistication that impressed the judges, and their performance in this hackathon will propel them for success in various high-tech positions upon graduation.”