Students and experts, app designers, nutritionists, blockchain enthusiasts, machine learning specialists and many more have worked through 32 hours at the Open Food Data Hackdays this past weekend for smarter food tomorrow. For empty plates to be fuller, full bellies slimmer in the future. So that the daily wastage comes to an end – and that it all makes for a sensible business model. A total of 10 new Open Food solutions were presented.
Hackathons have now become a standard tool in the innovation toolbox of even the largest companies: the fact that the combination of collaboration across disciplines, real intrinsic motivation and a hard deadline can produce great results is something that has been around since Opendata.ch really got going in Switzerland 6 years ago. A new feature of this year’s Food Hackdays is the intensified cooperation with the business community: 9 “challenges” based on open data sets were presented to the participants by emerging or already existing start-ups, each of them first-class data puzzles.
Simon Michel, co-founder of the startup company Prognolite commented: “We provided data from our partner Jucker Farm for the Hackdays, because we were looking for ideas about what can be forecast and optimized on the basis of restaurant sales figures. In addition to an ingenious, functional prototype, we have gathered lots of new ideas and met some great people.”
Charlotte Soland, nutrition scientist adds: “As a food expert, I participated in the Open Food Data Hackdays to learn more about programming and open data. I’m surprised and impressed at how much you can achieve and learn in such a short time!”
From a technological point of view, it was remarkable that machine learning and blockchain applications have reached the stage where something can be “just tried out” on a hackday. Several hackday teams worked successfully on the corresponding challenges. Vlad Trifa, Chief Product Officer of Ambrosus, took the chance: “The Open Food Data Hackdays were the ideal occasion to make Ambrosus’ software platform publicly accessible for the first time and open it to the community. I’m really impressed by the speed with which prototypes came into being here: one team showed a nice approach to the reliable recall of food, another one convincingly tackled the problem of ‘fake food’, something that is becoming an increasing problem all over the world. In a normal business context, this would have taken weeks and months!”
A Hackathon Startup Accelerator
With hackathons, the air is usually out after working through the sprint, everyone goes their way again. For two of the projects, selected by a jury of experts, it is only the beginning. They will be supported by the Opendata.ch association with coaching and networking, and can jump directly into the last round of the prestigious startup incubator MassChallenge Switzerland:
Prognolite solves the biggest problem of restaurants with data and forecasting tools: the unknown future numbers and predictions of what guests will consume. In this way, food waste can be reduced and personnel can be planned more efficiently.
BeerChain uses data and the Ambrosus blockchain to combat counterfeit products, using the hackday as an example of large beer brands. With the help of an individual QR code, users can test whether a product is genuine and in its original state – or manipulated or copied “fake food”. Thanks to cryptofinancing, the successful start-up Ambrosus will invest in this approach itself.
The next Open Food Data Hackdays
The next Hackdays will take place in the Alte Markthalle in Basel on 16 and 17 February. New challenges, datasets and highly motivated teams are waiting for all those who wish to develop new solutions for smarter eating, and better nutrition systems by means of rapid prototyping.
Opendata.ch is the Swiss chapter of Open Knowledge, part of a global movement that uses the opening of data to promote transparency and innovation, efficiency and codetermination. Open Data provides new opportunities for more players, and is increasingly being used by companies as a catalyst for open innovation processes. Opendata.ch is led by President André Golliez, together with a Board of Directors from the media, science and technology. The Open Food Data Hackdays were organized by Nikki Böhler, Hannes Gassert and Oleg Lavrovsky.
More current information at http://food.opendata.ch and on Twitter @OpendataCH, Hashtag #openfood.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator, with a sprinkling of human editing.