Gauteng coders are helpful folk, and never more so than when they’re taking part in the twice annual Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) hackathon. The latest one took place in Pretoria this last weekend, and local teams competed to create the next innovation to help change the world for the better in just 36 hours. After working through the night, the teams demoed what they’d done.

Here’s the projects that stood out – the overall winner is at the bottom of the post.

Electronic Appliance Control System (EACS)

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With the ubiquity of internet of things making its way onto every second smart device released, it’s no surprise that you can even buy a fridge that Tweets. With the likes of Google throwing its weight behind home automation, it’s astounding to see a similar prototype put together right here in our country on a shoestring.

Powered by an Intel Edison, the EACS aims to really get its users engaged in the way they use electricity, a particularly touchy subject right now.  The planned system will work via an app that will let users monitor their usage and remotely turn anything in their house on or off.

The app also allows the developers to mine and collect data on electricity usage to help municipalities make better plans for infrastructure development.

The Smart Water Bottle  

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This one really took us by surprise as it’s a project both equal parts ambitious and left-of-the-dial. How does tracking your water consumption by strapping an Arduino circuit board to a bottle grab you? The plan for this hardware is to register and assign unique numbers to bottles in order for users to track water intake. The included app will make suggestions to them based on their habits, and hopefully aid them in staying healthy.

Users will be able to refill their bottles at refilling stations throughout the country, which they’ll be able to find via Google Maps.

FaceLearn

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Using Intel’s unreleased RealSense 3D camera, this team put together a quick app that lets disabled students navigate software entirely through gestures and voice input, so that they can partake in lessons and tests without ever pressing a button.

The demonstration included a simple history test, which was completed with hand movements. Well, the demonstrators attempted to do this; in the actual event they had to switch to a keyboard interface half way through.

Future plans for this include recording metrics such as students’ reactions and biometrics relating to their coursework or testing, allowing educators to tailor the software to better suit their students.

The Winners

Best Mobile App Solution
[Open] City

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[Open] City focused on drivers using an app to help crowd source information on working traffic lights and data to help them on their journeys, as well as provide information to local officials so they know where to focus their efforts on the roads.

Third Place Overall
Kana, What’s That Gesture? (KWSTG)

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Aimed at providing public transport users with a much needed helping hand, this project collated various hand gestures needed to hail local taxis, as well as the ability to upload their own gestures and signs for locations which might not already be loaded into the app as either images or animated gifs.

Second Place Overall
Team Rhok It

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The biggest problem regarding endangered wildlife is the lack of education and information about them. Team Rhok It’s mobile app is designed to gather and sort that information and explain it to users in a way that will help everyone understand the importance of preserving the fauna and flora of South Africa.

Overall Winner  
BH911

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The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Pretoria is the third largest hospital in the world and always under pressure trying to help people with details of how to get to the hospital and how to get around once you’re there.  The BH911 team began working on an app to help people find the hospital for a start, and then remind them about follow up treatments and medication cycles as well as offer general health and wellbeing advice from hospital staff. The team made a strong start on the app over the weekend, but there’s plenty of work left to do.