Hack the Crisis Hackathon
Social isolation does not mean digital isolation. And digital involvement in solving the pandemic can be as important as physical engagement.
While the pandemic segregated the world in the physical sense, it brought us together in the digital sphere—something that the virus is supposedly unaware of. For the first time in history, hacking a virus seemed like a plausible idea.
The virtual hackathon Hack the Crisis was one of the first responses to the problem. Over one weekend in March, over 600 technology entrepreneurs and 140 sponsors generated innovative solutions for healthcare, emergency response, economy and other spheres of life affected by the pandemic.
"Today is more important than ever to share our brains, knowledge and creativity for the common goal of eradicating the virus. Only by working together and bringing as many like-minded people as possible are we able to come up with something meaningful and beneficial." – Vladas Lašas, entrepreneur and the organizer of the event.
In a fantastic display of ingenuity, the event yielded such ideas as a 3D printed respiratory assistance device, a UVC light device to kill pathogens in 15 minutes, a virus-tracking app and a fully-automated telephone line that collects the requests from the elderly and passes them to the volunteer organizations.
The virtual communications bot Viltė that can understand different types of questions and provide people with accurate answers about COVID-19 was implemented on a national level and has been hailed for its functionality and speed.