Hack-for-Resilience at PennApps XX

September 18, 2019

This September, the University of Pennsylvania hosted PennApps XX – the 20th iteration of the nation’s very first college hackathon. More than 1,000 students made their way to Penn’s Engineering Campus for the weekend to develop innovative technology-based solutions to real-world problems.

This year, the Wharton Risk Center and the Insurance Information Institute once again teamed up to sponsor a “Hack-for-Resilience” route. Prizes were awarded to the teams with the best overall Hacks-for-Resilience and the teams that made the best use of “Insurtech” to advance resilience. Projects ranged in platform and application, including web development, mobile application and autonomous drones. In total, 16 teams participated, developing projects to address diverse challenges in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Here, we highlight the top resilience hacks from PennApps XX.

Top Hacks for Resilience

WildFire Protect (1st Prize – Insuretech)
Vivek Mishra, Jeremy Philemon, Siddhant Shenoy

WildFire Protect is a parametric wildfire insurance product designed to provide immediate payouts to insureds that experience property damage from wildfire. The tool uses satellite imagery of impacted areas to determine whether a home has been damaged and to what extent. Once the damage is recognized, the tool transfers funds directly to the insured’s bank account, helping to expedite the recovery process and avoid any delays that may occur in claims-adjustment.

Phoenix (1st Prize – Resilience)
Jaclyn Chen, Ryan Lee, Shrey Pasricha, Michael Wu

Phoenix is a drone-based tool that monitors and helps extinguish fires of any size. Phoenix may be activated through its carbon dioxide sensor, heat sensor, or via web app. Once activated, the Phoenix drone flies to the location of the hazard and tracks the fire. The web app simultaneously displays sensor data and live video of the fire to assist emergency services in monitoring the fits growth and behavior. Once Phoenix locates the fire, it sprays an extinguishing agent to help suppress it.

ProphetProfit (2nd Prize – Resilience)
Yoganand Pathak, Jeffery Fung, Vineeth Vajipey, and Glenn Sun

ProphetProfit is a personal finance app that aims to help people save and grow funds for emergency and disaster situations. Motivated by the fact that very few people have enough savings to cover unexpected emergency or disaster related costs (such as purchasing a generator or meeting an insurance deductible), the creators developed an app the automatically invests users’ savings using an API from GoldmanSachs. ProphetProfit aims to make it easy for everyone to save for emergency situations. Users simply input the amount they wish to save, funds are automatically invested, and are available for withdrawal when needed.

Navig8 (2nd Prize – Resilience)
Veer Gadodia, Mohammed Mobasserul Haque, Hritik Sapra, Apoorv Tomar

Navig8 is an Android application that helps visually impaired people communicate and navigate in disaster situations. Navig8 uses a peer-to-peer mesh network that does not require internet or cellular connectivity, allowing it to function when power or telecommunication infrastructure fails (as it has in many disasters). If a visually impaired user is in a disaster situation, they can simply shake their phone to open the app. The app connects the user’s phone to those nearby, enabling immediate audio communication. The user is also able to capture video on their phone and live stream it to users nearby who (if sighted) would be able to help the user navigate to a safe location.

We invite you to visit the PennApps page at Devpost for more information on all of this year’s resilience hacks!