Coming up with a promising app idea, tackling a brand new stack/technology, and delivering a pitch within 48 hours is no small feat. That’s why we were so impressed with the entries we received for our API challenge at Stanford’s TreeHacks 2021. A weekend-long hackathon, TreeHacks took place on February 12–14 and was themed Hacking For the Future: addressing deeply impactful problems and building creative, unique solutions.
During the weekend, we posed our own challenge to students by asking them to develop a simple mobile application using Flutter and the @protocol. Built using Dart, the @protocol is an open-source, permissions-based protocol that fundamentally alters the way data is shared and stored, giving us full control over our own data. (Learn more about the @protocol.)
Though we received many thoughtful submissions, 3 entries stood out above the rest. By taking advantage of the confidentiality provided by the @protocol, these 3 entries (which include 1 winning app and 2 runner-ups) offer relevant and secure solutions to prevalent social issues.
*Note that while these projects are in development and do not yet resemble completed mobile applications, we will refer to them as apps for the rest of the article.
Runner-up: Our Home | Empowering the Community to Help the Less Fortunate
Created by Chengji Liu, Jack He, Kashif Siddiqui, and Hisham Mohammad
In our current world, homelessness, food insecurity, and mental health problems are pervasive and steadily increasing. Our Home provides a safe way for local charities to connect with community members who want to offer their services, including a place to sleep, a meal, a place to shower, a ride, etc., and offers support to community members who may be experiencing homelessness or hunger.
Because the app displays information about each local charity and its unique needs, community members can easily decide which charities would most benefit from their support. Members can also donate to these charities with one click.
Why we love it:
- Its elegant and easy-to-use user interface (UI) design. Seriously, the app is stunning.
- It truly captures the spirit of TreeHack’s theme by focusing on community-building and civic engagement.
- We go bonkers for anything with a map.
Runner-up: COVID Tracer | Contact Tracing During A Pandemic
Created by Dennis Li, Apsara Mitra, Samantha Rafter, and Megan Ly
The impact COVID-19 has had on our physical and mental well-being is undeniable. Activities like seeing loved ones or even going outside to run errands have become associated with fear of contracting the virus. But what if there was a way to trace sources of exposure to COVID-19 in your community?
As the name suggests, this is precisely what COVID Tracer sets out to do. The app allows people to connect with their family, friends, and anyone else they may come into contact with while going about their daily lives. Should anyone in their network have suspected exposure to COVID, they will be informed immediately.
Why we love it:
- It’s extremely relevant to our current situation, and would alleviate stress for those afraid to leave their homes.
- It’s a thoughtful idea that utilizes the @protocol’s significant advantages: risk-free, extremely secure, and if you wish to change your COVID status to private, you can rescind your information from the app at any time.
- For a team that was completely new to mobile app development, they delivered a final product that addressed the challenge admirably. Bravo!
Check out COVID Tracer on Devpost.
Winner: @sclepius | Sharing Data Between Patients, Their Loved Ones, and Hospitals
Created by Sean Roarty, Ivan Carvalho, Sethu Thirumal, and Mathew Costello
The bedrock of a well-run hospital is efficiency and orderliness. However, this is not always feasible in a real-life hospital setting. Because overworked nurses are not able to immediately meet patients’ requests for medical documents, some hospital stays may stretch on for hours longer than necessary.
@sclepius creates an easy way for patients and doctors to transmit confidential medical documents. It’s both an organizational tool that lets medical professionals categorize their many documents, and a communication tool that lets doctors send medical information to family members with the patient’s permission.
Why we love it:
- Not only is the name consistent with our other apps (@mosphere, @buzz, and more), it’s actually named after Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine — which is pretty cool, in our opinion.
- The team was able to utilize the @protocol properly, learning Dart to code the Flutter app in almost no time at all.
- We’re really digging that robot in the logo.
Learning a whole new technology is a massive undertaking, and these teams tackled the challenge with admirable determination. The potential we saw at TreeHacks proves what we’ve always believed: tech innovation starts with our students. Who knows which up-and-coming young developer might come out with the next killer app?
Learn more about The @ Company from our GitHub repo.
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