Tech for Good Ten: a contactless payment jacket for homeless people, a controversial NHS chatbot, three CES tech-for-good startups and more

10th January 2017 Posted by: Sam Firman

Welcome to the Tech For Good Ten, where we share the best 10 links in the Tech For Good world from the past seven days.

We’re aiming to share a wide range of links, meeting the people behind the latest digital innovations, showcasing the greatest tech for good products, looking at the future of social change technology, and exploring the themes and social issues that technology is tackling locally and globally.

Most importantly, we’ll be meeting the people and institutions who are actually using this technology, showing the positive difference it makes in their lives, their communities and the world around them.

We’re also encouraging debate around “What exactly is Tech For Good?” Join the debate in the comments below. We’re here to discuss all things Tech For Good. Got a link to share with the Tech For Good Team? Tweet us at  @techfotgoodtv  or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Tech For Good Ten | 10.01.2017

1//  Contactless-payment jackets for homeless people

Contactless-payment jackets for homeless people are being trialled in Amsterdam. The donation limit will be set at €1, and wearers can only redeem donations at homelessness shelters and other places deemed conducive to helping them out of homelessness. With people using cash less, and the possibility of linking electronic payments to specific outlets potentially increasing donations and the efficacy of donations, the jacket is an exciting innovation.

2//  Irancubator: the woman leading Iranian civic tech

Firuzeh Mahmoudi is an Iranian woman doing enormous amount to use tech for good to improve the lives of Iranians. She was profiled this week by Forbes, and although the profile itself doesn’t constitute news, the prolific ongoing work she and her team are undertaking - most notably through civic-tech incubator Irancubator - most certainly does.

3// Nesta launches the Longitude Explorer Prize

Nesta and IBM have launched the Longitude Explorer Prize, a youth-focused challenge for secondary school pupils aimed at developing STEM skills through the mechanism of a challenge prize. The prize is seeking innovative and practical solutions that use web-enabled technology to help improve health and wellbeing in the UK.

4//  Citizens Lab open for membership applications

Citizens Lab has put out a call for new members, deadline 31st January. Membership represents an excellent opportunity for those working with civic tech or other tech for good in a European political context to build their network and impact.

5//  NHS to trial A&E chatbot

In the context of what some have called a humanitarian crisis this winter for Britain's hospitals, more than 1 million NHS patients will be assessed by AI robots under a controversial scheme designed to ease pressures on A&E units.

6//  Interactive map of European design-led, public-sector innovation

Nesta and Paris-based lab La 27e Région have created an interactive map in English and French to highlight the activities, successes and networks of a growing system of organisations using design to innovate public services. The map features almost 140 organisations working in the field of design and the public sector. Given the centrality of tech to design, this represents tech-for-good news as well as a really valuable resource for those working to improve public services.

7//  Siren Care wins TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield title at CES

Siren Care, a startup we’ve featured before, has won the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at CES. Starting with a sock that allows diabetics to track the temperature of their feet via an app, the company is bringing medically beneficial wearables closer to an affordable market reality.

8//  Blitab: innovative tablet for the visually impaired

Another tech-for-good device featured at CES was Blitab, a braille tablet device for visually impaired people. The device is considerably cheaper and more useful than other devices on the market, and has generated excellent feedback. Pre-orders will be available by the end of January.

9//  Pillar Technologies: sensors improving construction-site safety

Pillar Technologies, also at CES, produces sensors that monitor construction-site conditions and, through a back-end system, provide real-time data to site managers. The system promises to help with site safety, long-term analysis of site conditions and compliance requirements. It is set for release soon, with the promise of a highly affordable price point.

10// Colorado hermit provides scientific treasure trove

Perhaps this final item is more science for good than tech for good, but it’s too warming not to share. Colorado local billy barr (he spells his name without capitals) has been living alone in a woodland cabin for 40 years. During that time he has collected a treasure trove of snowfall data, which has now become a unique resource for scientists to better understand the climate. Reclusive in one sense, but cutting-edge nonetheless!


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