Dublin to host science hackathon in March

31 Jan 2013

Hackers dabble in group work during the 2012 Science Hack Day in Dublin

Dublin will be playing host to its second Science Hack Day this March, as scientists, engineers, programmers and designers will have the opportunity to team up to find solutions to scientific problems during a 36-hour non-stop hackathon.

Science Hack Day first debuted last year in the city as part of the Dublin City of Science festivities.

A developer named Jeremy Keith started the concept in London in 2010 as he wanted to apply the hacking concept to bridge the gap between the science, technology and design industries.

Such science hackathons have since been held in cities from London to San Francisco, Cape Town, Mexico City, plus Eindhoven in Germany.

The idea is to provide a physical space for scientists to team up with programmers, makers, hackers and designers to fuse their ideas and come up with solutions on areas such as visualising scientific data or improving hardware.

Last year’s overall winner at the Dublin event mixed education, exercise and technology in the form of an augmented reality treasure hunt based on the periodic table of the elements.   

Other projects explored cognitive science, astronomy, injury rehabilitation, sports statistics and the visualisation of stock markets.

Hardware project to track network usage at last year's Science Hack Day in Dubli

Hardware project to track network usage at last year’s Science Hack Day in Dublin

Dr David McKeown, a research engineer at University College Dublin (UCD) is co-ordinating the Dublin hackathon along with Alan Armstrong, a PhD candidate at Dublin City University.

McKeown said the goal of the event is to ignite the initial spark of innovation, where the only concern is creating something new.

“It gives people the chance to get excited about making things again. It is about being creative with science, about being social and working with new people with different skills,” he said.

The event will run as part of Engineers Week and volunteers from creative community groups such as Dublin Mini Maker Faire, Dublin Hackerspace TOG and Redbrick will be lending their support.

Science Hack Day Dublin
will take place in the Hub at DCU between 2 and 3 March. The event will be free to attend, but McKeown said people will have to book tickets in advance.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic