The Hack4Ageing Well teams

Permanent Memories

By asking what helps connect friends and relatives to older people living alone or in care homes, this team decided it would be worthwhile to bridge the gap between digital and tangible communication. And right they were. Gerard (who works with a retirement centre in France), Martina and Katrin (designers from Germany skilled in software development) designed and prototyped an online service for sending photo-postcards which are collected in a cloud service and beautifully printed on site. The team won the AAL Hackathon award for their effort, and was invited to demonstrate their invention again at the AAL Forum. We trust this is just the beginning of this exciting collaboration! Katrin’s GitHub page includes a detailed presentation and showcase video:


SozialData (Social Data)

This team tackled the problem of finding appropriate social services on a national level, observing the lack of a single database for all cantons in Switzerland with comprehensive old-age issues. In order to support people using the Internet to get help, they created a prototype directory service for addiction support based on data from They demonstrated this in a live web application which visualises the data on the map and illustrates the services and how to get in contact or travel to them clearly. For their efforts in connecting people to destinations, they were awarded a prize from the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Their further goal is to build a national database which could be used to develop apps of other types. Documentation and the demo app can be found on their GitHub page:


Viva Activa

In response to our challenge to explore and collect data related to the issues of ageing (see for background), this team dived in to understand the challenges of socializing and motivating older people to take part in healthy activities. They analysed various scenarios for collecting data on the old age situation, proposing creative ideas such as to engage younger relatives in monitoring and supporting their elders. Their proposal includes a data collection process that would certainly benefit from a highly secure cloud data platform – and would prove to be of immense benefit for social research and policymaking if anonymized and published as open data. They looked at the market for apps that track health progress and created a business case that convinced our jury representing the AAL Forum, who recognized this team’s efforts with a startup boost prize from Pryv. Their presentation can be found here:



Two teams decided to work on the topic of emergency assistance when on the floor and immobilized. They worked in the same room, exploring two different platforms to achieve a singular purpose. Gesture4Help is a smart watch which recognises repeated thumping of the arm and activates an alarm. They developed this noting that it is impossible in some situations to use both hands to use a watch. Voice4Help achieves a similar result using voice recognition on the Amazon Echo / Alexia platform. They prototyped additional scenarios such as contacting doctors or relatives, and showed us how this exciting new technology is developed. Both projects are summarised in a presentation you can download here:

Mobile Angels

“Train travel can be overwhelming for the elderly”. This is the mission statement that this team committed themselves to in their goal to develop ideas around public transport and the mobility of seniors. They developed a concept of virtual assistants and intelligent services, helping older folks reach their destination by catering to their specific needs – such as reduced speed when going between platforms, more persistent notifications, clearer explanations, and help with orientation at busy stations. Extending an established concept from Italy (“Travel Angels”) into the digital realm, they designed and demoed their ideas with a conversational bot that uses messaging platforms such as SMS to interact with the user. More background and code can be found on GitHub:



One of the members of the Social Data team was really keen on the “Map your childhood” challenge (see for background), so between working on the other project – into the wee hours of the night, we assume – developed this demo. This web application allows the user to record a story which is transcribed using Google’s cloud speech to text service, detects locations and facts, and plots them onto a GeoAdmin map. The story snippets are beautifully displayed in an interactive presentation. While the demo glitched during the public presentation – something known as The Demo Effect – we saw it in action and liked it very much. Hopefully Stefan will find the time to polish this off and help us create Storymaps of our lives by voice. The code is available for forking at:

Aufschnitthilfe (Ham Opening Device)

One of our participants started the hackathon by asking his elderly mom: what would *really* help you get through the day? Her answer was strikingly matter of fact: she likes cold cuts and suffers through opening the package. And so a hardware prototype was developed on Sunday at our hackathon of a tool to open vacuumed cold cuts. Ideal for trembling hands and less dextrous fingers, this type of packaging popular in Switzerland can now be opened with one easy motion! Sadly our participant could not be there on Monday to show it to the public and judges, but a bunch of us gave it a swipe or two on Sunday night, with no ham harmed in the process! See details and making-of at:

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