Dozens of developers, designers and digital innovators came together at the Hacking Autism Twilio Hackathon in San Francisco over the weekend. The 24-hour event kicked off Saturday morning as teams formed to create applications to address 5 key areas of need in the autism community: employment, post-secondary education, dating, roommates and social behaviors.
Judging the contest were Twilio engineer and hackathon organizer Josh Carter, Autism Speaks Assistant Director of Dissemination Lauren Elder and Facebook Developer Advocate Bear Douglas.
“Using technology like this to treat people with autism is vital,” said Elder. “With millions of individuals on the autism spectrum, we simply don’t have the human resources to meet all the need and technology is a key component in filling that gap.”
The winning team, ViP -Virtual Interactive Practice (John Fairchild, Lois Jean Brady, Doug Goldie, Gary Bryan) received a prize pack courtesy of Twilio and Leap Motion. Also, Twilio will donate $1,000 to Autism Speaks in the name of the winners. Their project uses Kinnect to coach individuals with autism through social situations such as a job interview.
"I'm really excited about this project", said Elder. "It helps individuals with autism learn nonverbal communication skills in a way that's fun and interesting - through a game"
Twilio engineer and hackathon organizer Josh Carter said he hopes this event and hackathons like it will lead to “applications that will change people’s lives for the better, especially individuals on the autism spectrum.”