Meet the winners of the Air Quality Hackathon 2023!

On December 6th-8th, 2023, in collaboration with Amazon Web Servcies (AWS), we organized the world's largest Air Quality Hackathon - aimed at tackling one of the world's most pressing health and environmental challenges, air pollution. Participants used their creativity and tech skills to build cloud solutions that support local organizations and communities with access to clean air.
Discover who were the teams that won the Hackathon and the challenges they worked to solve!
The “silent killer” calls for innovative technological solutions
The Air Quality Hackathon, a three-day, global, and virtual event, was aimed at finding innovative technical solutions to solve the most pressing air pollution challenges. Air pollution is one of the most pressing health and environmental issues linked to 6.7 million premature deaths worldwide yearly (WHO). It most acutely affects populations in South, South-East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

We worked together with the world's leading nonprofits and experts tackling air pollution to identify the key blockers they face. Hackathon participants then built technical prototypes to address those blockers and clean up the air for the betterment of the affected communities.

AI, Cloud, and ML at the forefront of the battle against air pollution
More than 170 tech teams from 27 countries and 5 continents, with the help of over 50 technical mentors, used the latest cloud, ML, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to build 33 solutions. The 3 winning solutions bridge the data, forecasting, monitoring, and information gaps with the ultimate goal to clean up the air.

Challenge 1
Polish Smog Alert is an organization that conducts a campaign "See what you breathe. Change it". Seven two-meter-high models of human lungs travel to 63 locations.

The lungs "breathe," absorbing air pollutants that settle on the white matter covering the installations. The challenge for the tech team was to transfer the mobile lung experience to the digital space for the worldwide audience.

The winning team
Płucka from Brainhub

The winning team members
Łukasz Pluszczewski, Jan Zoń, Agnieszka Grabałowska, Piotr Waleń

The solution
The Brainhub team has prepared and implemented a website and a mobile application written in React.js with a very suggestive image of breathing lungs. Depending on the location we choose, and actual real-time data from OpenWeather API, the image will show us the damage to the lungs appropriate to the air quality. In future development, the website will be able to display historical data. On top of this, the team invented a mobile game using the Kaboom game engine in which the user can become a brave lung that fights air pollution. The level of difficulty depends on the level of pollution. The application is easy to deploy on AWS or any other container-enabled environment.

Challenge 2
The Thailand Clean Air Network is actively working to bring about meaningful change in air quality legislation. One significant hurdle the organization faces is the lack of appeal in legal language, which often alienates a broader audience, especially the youth.

The winning team

The winning team members
Bartosz Kozłowski, Adam Czarkowski, Norbert Szorc, Rafał Kurzyna Sebastian Burzynski, Adrian Michalski

The solution
The BlueRider.The software team prepared the AirVocacy, a digital platform that integrates live sensor data from over 1800 stations in more than 370 cities, providing real-time updates on air quality. Complementing this is a user-friendly chatbot powered by GPT 3.5 with an option to transition to GPT 4.0, which answers queries about air pollution and legislative measures. An AI meme generation tool utilizing DALL-E 3 to engage a younger audience creates shareable memes, simplifying complex legal and environmental concepts. Additionally, advanced legal language processing, employing Langchain & Qdrant, enhances the accessibility of legislative documents, ensuring precise answers in any language.

Challenge 3
Afri-SET is working on a big project in West Africa to ensure affordable air quality sensors are used in places that usually get little attention. They want to create a smart database that can handle data from all kinds of sensors, no matter who makes them.

Their goal is to make it easy for anyone with a sensor to join in and use their platform.

The winning team
Camaraderie team from Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The winning team members
Venkat Viswanathan, Gabriel Verreault, Qiong (Jo) Zhang, Andrew Wallace, Satish Kathiriya

The solution
The solution crafted by The Camaraderie, named "Bedrock Mining the Air for Data Nuggets," introduces a novel approach to data processing. It utilizes a Language Model (LLM) prompt to generate Python codes automatically capable of handling raw data in various formats. This innovation significantly streamlines data engineering efforts, reducing the timeline from months to days. The system automatically generates code for each data format and seamlessly integrates with Amazon Bedrock, accessing cutting-edge LLMs via API. It incorporates human involvement to oversee data ingestion and LLM outputs for additional security measures. The solution also leverages AWS safety, security, and responsible AI features. Notably, it's easy to scale by using AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and Amazon S3 as a data lake platform, offering support for various analytics services and facilitating easy extension to a production-ready system.

The Air Quality Hackathon winners create scalable solutions

The Air Quality Global Hackathon was a call to action to the tech community to explore how cloud technology can point toward solutions that support the goal of cleaning the air. The hackathon judges and final jury identified 7 finalists (1 per each challenge area) and among them, 3 winners that maximize value and will scale, are simple to use for the local actors, broadly accessible, and demonstrate creativity and strong alignment with the non-profit organization’s mission.

New Report: Technological needs of the organizations fighting air pollution

The hackathon was accompanied by the launch of a technical needs report and research Fighting Air Pollution with Technological Innovations)” conducted by Tech To The Rescue. The report's findings include insights from interviews with leading non-profit organizations in the mentioned regions. These leaders are facing a multitude of technological challenges preventing them from scaling their proven interventions. Challenges include: access to air quality data collection, designing new sensors measuring the levels of pollution, creating open-source air quality databases, and crowdsourcing data. Furthermore, building awareness among the citizens by developing user-friendly interfaces to display air quality data in an attractive and actionable manner is critical. Another crucial component of the puzzle is to support advocacy work by highlighting the impact of new policies on the environment, people, and the economy.

Find out more about the Air Quality Hackathon here.



Fighting Air Pollution with Technological Innovations

  • Insights from 10 countries
  • Sources of air pollution in the region
  • Needs for digital tools
  • Examples of successful initiatives (case studies)
  • How tech players can engage

Go to Report page >>>

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