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2015 LeadingAge Hackfest ready to "engage with age"

October 27, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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This year’s LeadingAge HackFest participants will have to skip the usual Halloween festivities, but with $10,000 in treats on the line, innovative aging technology developers and designers are sure to have some clever tricks up their sleeves.

Eleven teams will spend about 26 hours tackling technology designed to “engage with age” in the HackFest, being held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in McCormack Hall on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, prior to the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo. Now in its third year, the HackFest competition brings together information technology developers, designers, gerontologists, business consultants and other aging-care thought leaders to design and build technology-driven tools that improve the lives of older adults and their families.

The solutions can be anything from websites and apps to wearable devices and will be judged on originality, usability, feasibility, design relevance and level of development. Teams must design and develop the solution and create a presentation showing its need for and viability in the aging services market. To make sure designs are user-friendly, each team will include an older adult and an aging services professional as coaches.

Through a new collaboration this year, Hewlett-Packard (HP) is providing HP Sprout, an immersive 3D computer technology that combines scanning and modeling technologies, to HackFest participants. Teams also will have access to the Aging Data Catalog and its aging-related data sets through a collaborative with the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Competing teams will have until 10 p.m. Halloween night to complete their projects. Judges will award several levels of prizes this year:

First prize: $5,000
Runners-up (2): $2,000 each
People’s Choice: $1,000

Competitors will have to impress some of the brightest and best senior technology minds in order to earn votes from the formidable judging panel, which includes:

Alice Bonner, PhD, RN, Massachusetts Secretary of Elder Affairs
Kevin Burns, Chief Information Security Officer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Lisa D’Ambrosia, PhD, Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab
Len Fishman, JD, Director of the Gerontology Institute, UMass Boston
Stephen W. Johnson, Managing Director, Senior Living Practice, Ziegler
Bill McQuaide, Chief Product Officer, PointClickCare
Jack York, President and Co-founder, It’s Never 2 Late

The winning projects will be announced during Monday’s annual meeting general session. Attendees can meet the teams and learn about the HackFest projects by visiting the HackFest Pavilion, near booth #750 in the Expo Hall.

The 2015 HackFest competition is being hosted by The Asbury Group and Ziegler. Primary sponsors of the event include the gerontology department at UMass Boston, Galactic Smarties, HP, Hebrew Senior Life, It’s Never 2 Late, LeadingAge Massachusetts, MIT AgeLab and PointClickCare.

To learn more about the 2015 HackFest, click here. (Please note, applications to participate are now closed.)

Long-Term Living is proud to be a media sponsor of LeadingAge HackFest.