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Social Innovation

Event summary

In February 2020, Hitachi hosted its second Social Innovation Hackathon in the region, showcasing its commitment to R&D and co-creation. Since hackathons are all about problem solving, Hitachi opened hackathon entries to the research and academic sector and put forward a challenge in ‘Digital Mobility’.

Through collaborative creation with customers and partners, Hitachi aims to address shared challenges, exchange ideas, and create new value for society using data to improve quality of life of citizens. Hackathon participants were asked to identify unmet needs of the citizens in the area of mobility and demonstrate how data driven social innovation can address these issues.

Partnering with Fusion Labs and Innovation Dojo for the second time (companies that specialise in hackathons and cross-cultural entrepreneurship), the Hackathon was held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February, involving ten teams. During the weekend the participants were supported by mentors from Hitachi, who helped refine their pitches. On the second day of the event, each team pitched their idea in front of a panel of judges. The quality of ideas was so high, that the prize money of $5000 was shared amongst two teams (a winning team and a runner-up):

Winning Team: Cysense

This team consisted of three computer science bachelor students of University of Wollongong. Cysense protects bike riders by utilising the front and rear sensor to detect cars surrounding the bikes on the road and the haptic feedback headband embedded in a helmet to direct the rider's attention in the direction of the hazard. Combined with the dedicated app, Cysense will create a safer environment for bike riders and reduce the road accident, that will lead to contribute to improving the environmental footprint by increasing bike-riders.

Runner Up: Mobikart

This team consisted of four enthusiastic university students with diverse specialities across engineering, actuarial studies and entrepreneurship, but united by a passion to utilise technology for good. Their personal experience of witnessing grandparents, family and friends having difficulties and barriers to mobility led them to develop the MobiKart service - a small autonomously driving cart designed to carry belongings in public spaces for people with limitations in their physical mobility, such as the elderly and disabled.

Judges at the Digital Mobility Collaborative Creation Hackathon:

  • Tom Kainuki, Senior Manager, Digital Smart City Solutions Division, and General Manager, Particle Therapy Business Promotion Department, Global Engineering Division, Hitachi Ltd.
  • Kuniaki Emoto, Engineer, StartUP Development Department, Social Innovation Business Division, Hitachi Ltd.
  • Stephanie Salter, Director, Future Transport, Digital Accelerator, Transport for NSW
  • Rob MacCreery, Director, Head of Consulting, Fusion Labs