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Hackers Create Tools For Disaster Relief

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Random Hacks of Kindness

Developers gave presentations on their projects at the Random Hacks of Kindness event on Saturday (November 14) at a space dubbed Hacker Dojo.

Credit: Elinor Mills / CNet

The first-ever Random Hacks of Kindness recently took place in Mountain View, Calif., bringing software developers together to focus on how technology could be used to help people get information and find each other during emergencies. Organized by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, NASA, the World Bank, and SecondMuse, the event is viewed as a way to bring technologists together to solve real-world problems and create a community of developers to build tools to help emergency workers.

"We're trying to seed the community," says Google Crisis Response's Jeffery Martin. "We're saying, partner with the private sector and we can push technology forward and innovate."

Developers used social media sites such as Twitter and short message service (SMS) for information sharing to build about a dozen tools. One project would use laptops, routers, mobile devices, USB keys, and Wi-Fi to create a mesh network during a disaster. A group primarily from NASA took first place with a mobile application for easily notifying loved ones that "I'm OK" via SMS by clicking one button.

The organizers plan to hold the next Random Hacks of Kindness event in early 2010 in Washington, D.C.

From CNet
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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