Today in impact hackathons: Envision the Future, Social Good Hackathon, The Breakout Project

the breakout project

In the coming months, organizations in the GTA are hosting hackathons to get tech enthusiasts excited about creating new and creative solutions in just a few days. Here’s a roundup of what’s happening.

MatterHackers and launch 3D printing hackathon for the visually impaired

Envision the Future, a 3D printed design challenge, is launching worldwide to help the blind and visually impaired.

The challenge is being run by MatterHackers, a 3D printing retailer helping schools and businesses use 3D printing software, and, a hub for information on the e­NABLE assistive devices project.

Participants will either create a 3D model which helps teach a concept or lesson in a classroom for the blind or visually impaired, or design an assistive device for simple, everyday tasks. Groups will be split into two categories, youth (under 18) and adults, in order to encourage both K-12 classrooms and professional designers to participate.

“I saw a need in classrooms for low-cost tactile models, especially for students who are blind or low-vision,” said Mara Hitner, director of business development at MatterHackers. “Meanwhile, sighted classrooms and the 3D printing community are begging for something to design and print for the good of others – along the lines of e-NABLE assistive devices. Our structure and partnerships for design challenges had proven to be successful, so better put it back to work!”

The hackathon runs until May 8. Participants have a chance to win a new Lulzbot 3D printer.

Social Good Hackathon brings coders together for a cause

Coders will be given the chance to help three Toronto charities with technical challenges at the first-ever Social Good Hackathon.

Between March 31 to April 1, coders and charities will come together at the DMZ’s Sandbox in Toronto. Participating non-profits include Eva’s, which helps homeless youth develop a plan for secure living and employment; Pledges for Change, which engages individuals across the country to become leaders in their communities; and hEr VOLUTION, which provides innovative education and employment services to girls and young women in STEM.

The hackathon was co-founded by Capgemini, CIBC’s Enterprise Innovation Team, the DMZ’s Sandbox, and RED Academy.

The Breakout Project using tech to encourage social change

Between May 10 to 12, The Breakout Project will allow high-growth technology startups to showcase their social innovations.

Hosted in Kingston, Ontario, organizers describe the event as “part learning and part hackathon.” Over 48 hours, innovators, designers, creators, and investors will be tasked with kickstarting a 365-day social good project designed generally to “improve our community, society, and planet.” Examples include an online education company for low-income communities, or a solar and water purification technology company targeting rural areas.

“The Breakout Project sparks game- changing ideas and opens new possibilities for innovation by engaging diverse people from our community, online and beyond. It inspires individuals to turn ideas into action for lasting social change and is the perfect home for high-growth technology startups to established brands to showcase their ingenious ideas that have potential to change the world, society, and our planet,” said Grant Goodwin, CEO, Innovate Kingston.

One of the confirmed projects at the event will be led by social entrepreneur Hakeen Subair, founder of The 1M Teachers Project. Subair will be leading a team to tackle the challenge of inspiring teaching with better education for all. His project uses tech described as “gamification meets bite-sized content.”

Following the event, projects will receive donated funds to continue their initiative throughout the year.

Photo via The Kingson Whig-Standard.


Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis is a staff writer at BetaKit. She’s a fourth-year journalism student interested in healthtech. She’s passionate about tight-knit teams working together, which is why she’s so fascinated by startup culture. Madonna’s hobbies include dragon boating, singing, and hosting a YouTube show about cat news.

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