June 14th, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLEMINGTON- The 2019 HackHunterdon Hackathon went off without a hitch, according to organizers, and concluded with top prize being bestowed upon the creator of an app design that is both current and timely.
First place winner Paul John’s project was designed to increase youth safety by decreasing first responder response time to an emergency in a school. Named Safe Halo, the App reduces response time by eliminating the time between any initial weapons discharge and a subsequent 911 call. A machine learning model running on smartphones and audio devices automatically detects the discharge and then immediately contacts emergency services. Teachers and administrators would also be notified using a loud alert on their smartphones.
“Incidents at schools happen in a matter of minutes, so every second is valuable.” stated John, of Basking Ridge, NJ.
According to organizers, participants proposing such innovative approaches to solving real-world problems has become common-place at the event.
The HackHunterdon Hackathon, a 24-hour tech product creation competition, was held over both days of the June 8th weekend. The annual event, now in its 3rd year, is designed to showcase the skillset of the local innovation workforce.
Organized by Hunterdon County Economic Development, The Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, and Flemington Community Partnership, this years’ hackathon featured 16 teams competing for over $8,000 in cash and prizes and was hosted again by The Hunterdon Central Regional School District. The school district assisted in running the event and also allowed interested students a chance to compete against local entrepreneurs for the top prizes. Six students participated this year.
“The hackathon is a key piece to our efforts to create a local innovation ecosystem” stated Marc Saluk, Hunterdon County Economic Development Director. “It’s an opportunity for technologists to showcase their skills and collaborate with each other. It’s one piece of a larger effort to partner with local entrepreneurs with the goal of allowing them to grow their ideas right here in Hunterdon County.”
According to Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce Director Chris Phelan, innovative project pitches have become routine at the hackathon.
“Ove the last few years, we’ve truly had a glimpse into the level of the tech talent pool here in Hunterdon,” stated Phelan. “Obviously this is a good indicator of our ability to continue to attract and retain the high-wage opportunities for residents that come along with local growth of the tech sector.”
Robin Lapidus, Executive Director at Flemington Community Partnership says that, in this case, what’s good for Hunterdon is good for Flemington.
“We fully support the initiative’s goal of highlighting local talent,” commented Lapidus. “Hosting the HackHunterdon effort helps brand Flemington as tech hub and sends the accurate message that the innovation culture here is very strong.”
According to Saluk, the hackathon is just one part of the HackHunterdon Tech Initiative. A monthly Tech MeetUp is held which further gives tech entrepreneurs chances to meet and work together. The MeetUp is held the last Thursday of every month at 7pm at Lone Eagle Brewing in Flemington.
Saluk states that his office and The Chamber of Commerce also will shortly release a report focused on continuing to create tools and resources for local innovators to thrive.
“We want to make sure that ideas that are born in Hunterdon have the chance to grow in Hunterdon,” commented Phelan. “So, we’ll continue to try to provide the tools to help do just that,”
To learn more about the HackHunterdon effort and about the 2019 hackathon, please visit HackHunterdon.com.