All female team tackle plastic pollution at Athena Hack

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A group of Masters students from the School of Computing attended Athena Hack, an all-women hackathon, in London from 13-14 April 2019.

The hackathon was organised by ShowCode as an initiative to champion female technologists and focus their skills to help solve one of the biggest environmental issues around. Prizes were awarded for the best performing university team and the best performing company team with a top prize of £5000 cash.

The challenge was to use their skills to create an idea that would help solve the plastic crisis that is currently plaguing the world in support of Plastic Oceans UK. The team, called ‘bumblebees’, was made up of five Masters students; Asha Burathoki, Sybil Mayard, Mai Pham, Zhaneta Georgieva and Clarissa Ang.

The team developed an app, called ‘Plastix’, based on the augmented reality, machine learning and image recognition features which have become popular among smart phone users. It aims to use real-time object identification, personal record and data aggregation to address the lack of awareness and lack of data, as well as making it convenient for the user.

Plastix has three basic functions:
– identifying an object in real time and whether it is recyclable
– reporting and booking rubbish hotspots
– allowing the user to receive rewards for recycling / cleaning the hotspot.

Asha Burathoki said ‘We had an amazing experience at the hackathon where we got to network and develop our skills via workshops. Unfortunately we didn’t win but the whole process was very inspiring for female students like us in the tech industry.’

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