Students participate in Hackathon digital technology event in Kumasi
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as the Asantehene, a large gathering of computer software developers in the technology space, met at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), to mentor young developers, interact and share ideas at a Hackathon, dubbed Hacklab 2019.
The about 600 young developers, said to be the large ever gathering in Ghana at a Hackathon, were mentored in various software by experts such as Dr Thomas Mensah, the Ghanaian famous fibre optics inventor and nanotechnology expert.
Other experts from leading technology and software companies, including Jimmy Kogel from IBM, Foster Akugri, CEO Hacklab, Angela Opoku Mensah from Vodafone, Nana Abba, CEO of Akaditi, and Dr Charles Buckman, motivational speaker and life coach, and Mr Patrick Quantson also mentored the young developers.
A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, often including domain experts, collaborate intensively on software projects.
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The Hackathon tradition started with Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who as a young man, used to stay up in his room all night coding, and writing computer programmes.
The tradition persists today around the world.
This year’s Hacklab event was held on the theme: “Can Blockchain Technology Transform the Service Industry in Ghana”?
In 2017, 15 interns were recruited from the hackathon to join the Stanbic digital transformation team. They contributed to developing epics such as the Enhanced Virtual Assistance (EVA) and the #SBIncubator website, the Welcome Emailers, for onboarding new customers.
The Hackathon has over the years grown to become Ghana’s foremost gathering of young developers and technology-savvy youth.
Students from all over Ghana attended the Hacklab 2019 at the KNUST to interact and share ideas.
During the two day period, the students formed teams and competed for prizes at the Great Hall of KNUST.
A team of four Senior High School (SHS) students from Ada Senior High School in the Greater Accra Region were also lucky to participate and learn from older students.
After the competitive pitch from 30 teams on blockchain technology solutions, the group CODENIFICENT emerged winner.
Dr Thomas Mensah
After speeches from executives of various companies, Dr Thomas Mensah who was the keynote speaker delivered an inspiring speech that motivated the competing students.
Dr Mensah demonstrated the use of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality software to show a novel smart watch device for the home, which can be used to control electronic gadgets.
The patented smart watch was developed by digitizing hand movements and the students were amazed to see the hand motion on the screen and with the aid of Gyroscopes and inertia movement. The watch can lock doors in the home, control lights and can change television channels when waved infront of a TV screen.
Dr Mensah, is also the Founder of Silicon Valley of Ghana located at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre which is in partnership with Hacklab, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Vodafone and several institutions including the leading universities in Ghana.
He holds several patents and has published four books on innovation, notably Fibre Optics Engineering, Superconductor Engineering, The Right Stuff Comes in Black Too (his autobiography, and Nanotechnology commercialisation, an international text book used to train PhD and graduate students in major universities around the world.
He is a fellow of the Ghana Institute of Engineers, a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, USA.
The Head of Digital Transformation at Stanbic Bank Ghana, Mr Patrick Quantson, said Stanbic Bank’s motivation for hosting Hacklab was in recognition of the huge potential the digital technologies held in transforming societies.
“We are in the digital and data age and if we harness the opportunities they present effectively, digital technology is certainly going to accelerate the level at which humankind can solve problems and change society,” Mr Quantson said.
PHOTO: After the competitive pitch from 30 teams on blockchain technology solutions, the group CODENIFICENT emerged winner