Hackathon for change shows how connectivity can make our communities better

Over 900 hackers put their skills to work solving real-world problems at DeltaHacks VI

A “smart” way to call for emergency services by using hand signals instead of a smartphone won this year’s Hackathon for change challenge sponsored by Innovation Factory’s Centre for Integrated Transportation & Mobility (CITM).

Over 200 teams totalling more than 900 student hackers participated in  DeltaHacks VI Jan. 25-26 at McMaster University, organized by DeltaHacks and co-sponsored by the City of Hamilton. The 24-hour marathon “imagineering” event encourages university and high school students to be a force for positive change by putting their hacking skills to work solving real-world problems in various industries.

More than 20 teams took on the CITM Challenge which asked them to use the private CITM Smart City Mobility Network test bed to develop solutions focused on connected and autonomous vehicles (C/AVs) or ways to make a connected city better able to serve its inhabitants. This required the teams to learn how to interact with the network and access the data it continually generates using state-of-the-art technology from Nokia and GECurrent deployed around McMaster’s Innovation Park.

“This was the first practical utilization of the CITM Smart City Mobility Network capabilities and the results showcase exactly why this testbed is key to unlocking the potential of Smart City Infrastructure in our municipalities,” said Chris Omiecinski, Director of CITM and one of the Hackathon judges.

CITM is a division of the Innovation Factory, Hamilton’s business accelerator, and a Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) of Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN).

The winning team, Smart City SOS, was made up of computer science and engineering students from York University and the University of Toronto. They demonstrated a novel solution that combined machine learning with the secure video imaging capability of the GECurrent CityIQ IoT Nodes that enabled the system to recognize specific hand gestures that signal situations where help from emergency services is required. People who need help may not have immediate access to mobile communications, or they may be facing a threat where using their smartphone could escalate an already dangerous situation. The solution developed by Smart City SOS helps their community by providing an additional layer of safety and security that’s only a hand wave away.

The Smart City SOS team consisted of:

  • Alok DeshpandeA.Sc., Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto
  • Ari Dokmecian, B.Sc. Computer Science Candidate, York University
  • Donya Johari, B. E. Computer Engineering Candidate, York University
  • Sudhanshu Laroiya, B. E. Computer Engineering Candidate, York University

Each member of the winning team was presented with an Apple iPad Pro tablet at the awards ceremony on Jan. 26.

Honorable mention goes to the following teams who each showed innovative and imaginative solutions based on the CITM Smart City Mobility Network and the City of Hamilton Challenges:

  • Smart Response: utilizes CityIQ secure audio and video data to detect and characterize events that require emergency response.
  • Road Sense: utilizes CityIQ secure audio and video data to detect vehicular collisions and automatically notify first responders.
  • E-Z Go: utilizes CityIQ secure video data to automatically notify a signal change when a car is idling at a stop light with no other traffic present.
  • Planway: uses various sensor feedback from Citi nodes to identify events and conditions that will impact personal schedules and suggests modifications to personal schedules where possible.
  • Traffix: a simulated C/AV network that utilizes data from many sources, including Citi nodes, with the objective of removing controlled intersections completely with no accidents, maximized traffic flow and minimized delay.
  • PreCaution: utilizes data from Citi nodes to assist C/AV’s in recognizing high risk scenarios like pedestrian or wildlife crossing roads.

“All the teams showed an extraordinary amount of imagination and innovation to solve a challenge that clearly resonated with their desire to improve their communities,” said Cyrus Tehrani, the City of Hamilton’s Chief Digital Officer and one of the co-judges of the CITM Challenge.


About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is a non-profit business accelerator, serving as the catalyst for tech innovation in the greater Hamilton area since 2011.  Innovation Factory provides business services, training and mentorship to help entrepreneurs with advanced manufacturing, clean tech, information tech, life science and social innovations to bring their ideas to market, increase revenues, attract investment and create jobs.



About the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility

The Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM) is a division of Innovation Factory and provides business and technical advisory services and other resources to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous, multi-modal and integrated mobility technology solutions within a Smart City infrastructure.  CITM is a $10.5-million public-private partnership and is a part of Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN).



About the City of Hamilton

Hamilton is the fifth-largest municipality in Ontario and the tenth-largest municipality in Canada. As a global city, Hamilton boasts a renowned education and health sector as well as a thriving arts scene. Industries in Hamilton include manufacturing, bioscience and medical, and agriculture. The City of Hamilton’s vision is to be the best place to raise a child and age successfully. The City’s mission is to provide high quality cost conscious public services that contribute to a healthy, safe and prosperous community, in a sustainable manner. www.hamilton.ca.


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