Acorn Aspirations in partnership with London Technology Week, Lean Startup Summit and Tech London Advocates ran a 2-day hackathon/start-up style event where young people aged 12-18 collaborated with mentors from London’s TechCity community to develop tech start-ups and artificial intelligence solutions that tackle some of the problems associated with mental health.
#AcornHackAI sought to unlock young people’s entrepreneurial potential by inspiring them to get creative with coding and machine intelligence technology, as well as attend masterclass workshops in digital marketing, branding, APIs, lean UX and Business Model Canvas.
The purpose of this event was to equip young people with the tools that would enable them to become change-makers and entrepreneurs of their own lives.
Why Artificial Intelligence Hackathon for Teens?
Why not? Technology is disrupting lives at every aspect of our society.
At Acorn Aspirations we believe teenagers should be part of this technological transformation and have an opportunity to create technology alongside the most innovative minds and tech creators. We know that young people learn best when they are equipped with the right tools and environment that nurture their creativity.
We design learning experiences that nurture entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity in young people. We develop future leaders – leaders that will be making tomorrow’s world a better place. We prepare young people for the jobs that do not yet exist. Young people that learn through our programmes WILL BE the ones to create those jobs.
Join us. Learn with us. Reinvent education with us!
The judges, who included robot girl SophiaAI from Hanson Robotics, challenged the presenting teams to find out how they would develop and progress their ideas beyond the hackathon. The apps presented tackled sleep disruption, anxiety around public speaking, the difficulties of maintaining a positive view of life, depression management for young women and making friends in new situations. Technology used included IBM Watson, Millenium 4, TensorFlow, Unreal Engine and Amazon Alexa.
Four teams go through to the smart.london hackathon with the opportunity to win £5,000 and a trip to Miami to compete in USA. The teams were:
– Douze – (Oscar (12), Khalil (12) and Arman (12))
– Buddy Bot (Kiran (14) and Baron (12))
– Peace of Mind (Aran (14) and Victoria (14))
– City Sleepers (Arun (13), Wentao (12), Wenjia (10) and Zaki (14))
Aviva gave two prizes, a tour of the Digital Garage for Team Backchat and one week’s work experience for LiveSmart. Team ANI have an opportunity to work with MIND to develop their dedicated app for young women to challenge insecurity around body image and maintain a positive view of life. Teams Peace of Mind and LiveSmart also won the opportunity to learn Android Studio sponsored by Jose Nieto and to receive ongoing mentoring to bring their ideas to life.
Judge robot girl Sophia summarised the ideas best. She said ‘I wonder what a stress free world would look like’.
Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, said: ‘If we want the UK to play a strong role in how technology is going to shape the future for all of us on the planet, then events like these are the perfect catalyst. I have been impressed and wow’d by the ideas put forward and the technology used to create the apps in such a short space of time.’
Eunomia – help people speak out about mental health and seek help anonymously
Dooze – Interactive phone based app that provides solutions to better sleep
ANI – helping teenage girls battle depression
CitySleepers – helping the city to sleep
Peace of Mind – VR/AI mindfulness app
StudyBot – helps you find friends in local communities
BackChat – AI coaching app to help those fearing public speaking
LiveSmart – the smart way to stress free life
Participants come from boroughs all across London, including Hackney, Barnet and Southwark, and from further afield, with young people coming from Cambridge and Chelmsford. The oldest participant was 65, the youngest 9. Some of the mentors were themselves young people, and a highlight of the weekend were workshops given by Arun Pattni (13) and Katie Nyarko (14).
Organiser Elena Sinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, said: ‘Our mission is to wake young people up to all the different work opportunities there are in the tech sector. We want to inspire the next generation of innovative technology entrepreneurs to help make our world a better place. While I have many people to thank, not least all the judges, without the support of GSMA who opened up their building for the event and the 20 GSMA employees who gave up their weekends to mentor and support the teams throughout the weekend, this event could not have happened.’