Still time to enter the Humber Care Tech Challenge

I got an email from Kevin today if I was still planning to enter the Humber Care Tech Challenge.

Oh yes.

I’ve just filled in my form. Total cost for spending two days at the lovely Spa Hall in Bridlington, talking to subject matter experts, getting feedback on my ideas and picking up new skills? Zero. And the food you get while you’re there is free too. (I really hope they do the pie again. And the biscuits.)

Some companies spend piles of cash on “staff development” and “team building” events. Why? Just come along to the challenge with an open mind, a bunch of skills that you already have (and perhaps some you want to have a go with with). You never know, you might end up with a prototype application, a bunch of ideas and an implementation plan. After all, that’s what happened last time….

Sign up here.

Enter the Humber Healthcare Challenge

Click the logo to enter

Click the logo to enter

The Humber Tech Challenge is in October. You should enter. You should enter because:

  • you learn stuff

  • you meet people

  • you make stories to tell

  • you do good

  • you have fun

Everybody who took part last year got something out of the event. Even the judges had a good time. This year the challenge kicks off with a Visioning day on the 5th September. If you can’t make that we’ll have a Visioning Video out straight afterwards that sets up the challenge. Then, on the 1st and 2nd of October we’ll open up the Spa Hall Bridlington and turn you loose. There’s free food (and biscuits).

You can sign up here. I already have.

Humber Care Tech Challenge Day 2

The winners being surprised by fireworks…

The winners being surprised by fireworks…

The second day of the competition was at least as much fun as the first. We actually got to spend some time getting some code to work. By the end we had some sensors sort of working and Amazon Echo behaviours that responded to commands for our application. And we also had a good plan for developing and deploying the application. We still didn’t win though. Mainly because the winning solution (and, to be honest, quite a few of the other 12 entrants) was quite a lot better than ours.

The winner, which started with the idea of giving everyone in a care home their own Amazon Alexa device, moved on to develop this in lots of interesting ways, and ended up with a fully working demonstration application, was just wonderful. It was chosen as the best by both the judges and the “People’s Choice Award” which was marked by all the teams present.

Thanks so much to the councils and healthcare organisations that put the event together. It was a wonderful occasion and I hope that it will be repeated some time in the future. I also really look forward to seeing some of the ideas that were presented going forward to do good.

One of the most impressive things to me about the whole competition has been the commitment of everyone involved to get the ideas into action. I’m really looking forward to seeing this happen.

Humber Care Tech Challenge Day 1

Getting started

Getting started

From one fun event to another. Now it’s time for a bit of hacking. The Humber Care Tech Challenge started bright and early today. I’ve been involved with some of the organisation of the event. It’s one thing to sit in a meeting making plans and trying to think all the things that could go wrong so you can fix them in advance. It’s another thing to walk into Bridlington Spa Hall and see lots of teams set out and getting started on their solutions.

The level of enthusiasm and commitment at this event is astonishing. From the organisation group, who are trying to do something different to move things forwards to the healthcare professionals who have engaged with teams in a really positive way, to the teams themselves, who were quietly getting down to the business of making something awesome.

I was there with Robin and Keith thing to come up with something. Keith had done his homework, and had arrived with a fully formed solution that he wanted to run past the Subject Matter Experts at the event. Robin and I did a bit of planning and then came up with an exercise aid that tried to recreate the atmosphere of “A Good Walk” for people who have difficultly leaving home. We played with some ideas and sensors and the Amazon Echo that we’d been assigned and, by judging time we had an idea that we thought stood up rather well.

We didn’t win a prize. But I’m looking forward to finding out who wins tomorrow when the solutions are demonstrated.

Enter the Humber Care Tech Challenge. Now.

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The Humber Care Tech Challenge is in just around a month. We had the Visioning day last week and we've now got 98 ideas for projects for you to explore. I've been through them and broken them into categories to make it really easy to identify challenges and ideas to explore.

Last week I discovered, to my great delight, that we'll have Principle ICT Business Analysts from East Riding of Yorkshire Council along with developers from Amazon present at the event to help you build your solutions. I'm also working on getting the healthcare professionals behind the 98 ideas along as well.

If I was a developer looking to get into the healthcare space I would regard the chance to meet up with people like these as priceless. 

And you only have to pay five pounds to sign up, you get free food and drink during the event and, if the weather is nice, you might even get to go for a paddle in the sea.

For many years I've organised and taken part in tech challenge events of various kinds. I've watched them change lives. Come along in September and let this event change yours.  Just press the button below.

Humber Care Tech Challenge Visioning Day

Getting started

Getting started

Today I went along to the Humber Care Tech Challenge Visioning Day. This is where we get healthcare professionals to tell us about their problems and explore how to solve them. It's how we are setting the agenda for the Humber Health Care Challenge event itself, which is running in September.  During the event we want teams to come up with working prototypes of solutions. But to do that we need some idea of what we are facing. 

We had some great talks from people about the problems faced in healthcare. All the speakers were very open about the huge challenges that the future is going to bring. Nobody was saying these are easy things to address. But everybody was excited by the opportunities that new technology is bringing. I made some notes of things that people said during the talks. Apologies to the speakers that I didn't get all the names and if I've misquoted at any point:

  • Your home should be a proactive part of your healthcare.
  • People frequently interact with care services because they are lonely.
  • People will tend to opt-out of automated systems if they think that they will reduce the amount of human contact that they have. 
  • We need to establish a culture that make people and families able to provide appropriate support to allow independent living for as long as possible. Say in your home. Stay in control. Stay in contact. 
  • We should strive to make it as easy as possible to deliver and monitor care, so that the carers have time to focus on the person, and not just perform support tasks. Shared records across agencies would be a great step forward in this regard. 
  • Lots of technology already in use can be used in a care context. It might just be a way of connecting things and re-purposing existing devices.
  • We must plan for how the technology will be in 5-10 years time. Not what we can do now.
  • When considering disability; you are not what has happened to you - you are what you choose to become. And you should be empowered and supported to make that journey. 
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence bring with them an incredible potential for healthcare. So do connected devices such as Amazon Echo.
  • Very simple ideas can have a massive impact. 
Filling idea cards...

Filling idea cards...

After the talks everyone spent some time filling in idea cards that set out the challenges that they saw and ideas for addressing them. We're going to spend some time going through these and getting back to the delegates who proposed them to turn them into challenges for the event. Things are getting very interesting. If you want to take part (and you should) you can still sign up here

As part of the presentation we recorded a bit of video with me talking about the event and why it is a good idea. This is one of those occasions when everybody wins. Everyone who takes part will have fun, learn things and improve themselves. And they might end up creating a solution that change lives. 

LoRa Build a Node Workshop at c4di


We've just had a bunch of folks around to build some LoRa nodes. Robin had put together some kits and we came up with a set of instructions. By the end of the day we expected our attendees to have their LoRa nodes sampling temperature, air pressure and humidity and maybe even be viewing the values on The Things Network website. 

Well, we got that and more. One person had the information going into Microsoft Power BI and was using Machine Learning to predict future room temperatures. Another used If This Then That to tweet temperature readings to his phone. Others left with plans to install LoRa gateways and sprinkle LoRa powered sensors all over their properties.

Very successful, in spite of the fact that we were soldering surface mount components and some folks hadn't soldered since they were 14, or even at all. Thanks for coming folks and being so determined. At some points during workshop you could have heard a pin (or other tiny component) drop. 


We're doing another one in September, ping me an email if you want to get your name on the list. You can find our notes and sample programs here.

If you want to play with LoRa (and anything else that takes your fancy) take a look at the Humber Health Care Challenge. We'll make sure we've got some LoRa kits available there for people to have a go with this technology. 

Mightier Than sword or pen?

Mightier Than sword or pen?

The Humber Care Tech Challenge

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The Humber Care Tech Challenge is a tech challenge about care that is based in the Humber region. Although I guess the title already tells you all that. It's in Bridlington in the lovely Spa Hall, and it is on the 5th and the 6th of September.

Think of it as a hackathon with the focus on care. Teams will be able to work with healthcare professionals to create something life changing. With technologies such as LoRa coming over the horizon there's the potential for properly disruptive developments. You can find out about the problems, the tech, and how to change the world, all in two days. . 

We're having an "Visioning Day" at the University of Hull on the 31st of July where we want to put teams and problems together and start finding solutions. 

If you're good with software and/or hardware and want to spend some time making something interesting you should take part. If you do this as a hobby, we'd love to see you. It is also a wonderful way that teams of developers from a company can get together away from the office, learn some new tricks, prototype some products and get feedback from practitioners.  

Quite a few companies regard things like hackathons as great for team building and "blue sky" innovation.  Think of it as an all expenses paid two days where you can focus on having fun and making stuff. Actually, it's not completely expenses paid - it costs five pounds per person to register - but after that your food and drink for the two days is free. And you can come to the Visioning Day day for free. 

There are some lovely prizes, including help to take ideas and make them into shipping products, but for me the journey itself is the biggest prize. I've been involved with development challenges and hackathons of one sort or another for the last 15 years and I've seen them add value to everyone who takes part.

You can find our more, and sign up, here. You can find the challenge on Facebook here, and Twitter here