At a time when the world is struggling to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a group of innovators have come together to give wings to people with ideas to deal with the crisis.
Taking inspiration from the German COVID-19 hackathon, SaaS startup Wingify Co-founders Paras Chopra and Sparsh Gupta tweeted about their initiative: Coronathon, a digital technology hackathon where people can present innovative ideas to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Joined by other voluntary organisers, including Sathish Raghuraman, Arun Patre, Vivek V.S. Akash Tandon, Shruti Royyruru, Cynthia Rajan, Kriti Kathuria and Ankit Jain, Coronathon, India’s online hackathon for COVID-19, ended its first demo day on March 30.
How can Coronathon help?
The first demo day of Coronathon saw several enthusiasts presenting technological solutions to fight the pandemic.
Speaking to YourStory, Paras explained that the idea of the digital hackathon also involved connecting innovators with the right people who could help them scale their ideas.
With a huge global audience tuning in for the event, groups not only presented their ideas but also sought the help they needed to develop their products.
“This is consciously not a competition; there are no winners, no prizes, because that’s not the point right now. The point is to have on-ground impact, and that’s why we asked teams to ask for help. So that if anyone in the audience could help out, they would sort of come forward and say it,” Paras said.
“For example, one team needed to connect with hospitals and we received comments from the audience to connect them with the team for this,” he added.
As of now, about 2,300 people have joined this initiative, with 44 ongoing projects and 80 ideas. The participants will form a group and work on the ideas for a week and then present on Sunday evening, the demo day.
According to Paras, this digital hackathon will continue till the coronavirus situation comes under control.
The organisers are encouraging coders, software and hardware engineers, designers, product managers, marketers and healthcare providers to participate in the innovation hackathon.
Innovation during crisis
On the first demo day, around 20 projects were presented by teams, showcasing how their innovation could deal with the crisis.
All the presented ideas offer unique solutions to the problem including Arbob Mehmood’s pitch on his product named CoronaGo. At a time when maintaining social distancing is the need of the hour, Arbob believes that the practice can be encouraged by incentivising it.
According to the pitch presentation, CoronaGo is a mobile app that will reward people for maintaining social distancing. It is designed as a point tracking app, which rewards users based on their proximity or location to their home. For example, if one’s smartphone is present at a certain permitted distance from their home, then the app will reward users with virtual coins that can be redeemed for purchasing services from Amazon, Swiggy, etc.
Similarly, Tushar Khattar’s pitch for his Pagaar app aims to solve the financial crisis during the pandemic. The idea will allow employees to access a certain portion of their earned salary without altering their employer’s cash flow.
Meanwhile Ankit Jain’s product, Hospital Availability Tracker, aims to help people find the nearest hospital. According to the pitch, the app uses community-driven information and works without any sort of patient PII (privacy by design).
It’s expected that more interesting projects will be showcased this coming Sunday, on its Coronathon’s second demo day.