Height Catcher: RHOK Birmingham December 2010

RHOK logo
We attended the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK) event at Digital Birmingham on the 4th/5th December 2010. RHOK is a 24 hour hackathon, where teams from all over the world help contribute their skills to solving some of the toughest humanitarian problems. Over the weekend we created an application called “Height Catcher”, more on which can be seen in the video below.
HeightCatcher from Reunite on Vimeo.

There was a great team of people who attended, a big thank you to James Cattell,  Sarah Mount, SebPete SmithMonika Solanki, Nirmal SolankiDanny Williams, and Sara Farmer for helping make for a fun-packed weekend.

A team of valiant men and woman

From Left: Seb, Pete, Monika, Lloyd, Peter, James, Danny

The problem that Peter and I chose, “Height Catcher” , was based on a problem definition proposed by Cyrus Shahpar. It helps address the problem of identifying malnourishment of children within relief camps. Malnourishment is inferred from recording a child’s height and weight; in relief camps a large, heavy wooden board is used to measure a child’s height. A more rapid accurate assessment of height or length would be extremely helpful to assessing malnutrition in emergencies.

measuring board

An example of a board used for measuring an infant's height

We worked through the night, the atmosphere was great and the other attendees were very friendly and accommodating. We ‘hacked’ our way  through the night away, writing line after line code on a potent cocktail of tuna sandwiches and iced tea.

eldog and foxxy enjoying some incredibly horrible sleep-deprived programming

Nice, relaxing and therapeutic debugging, best served at 3am

We completed the experience with three hours sleep on the floor; it was not all in vain though, our perseverance paid off and by midday Sunday we had a working prototype which more or less made up for our stiff necks.

The app can be downloaded from here (best to do this from your android device, helicopter game sale as it know what to do with .apk’s).

Photos of the event can be found here.

Source code for the android app can be found on github here.

You can also take a look at ShortCoords, one of the other projects created at RHOK Birmingham.

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