Tech for Good Ten: locusts detecting explosives, virtual internships, a video game combatting gender inequality and an app crowdsourcing photos to reduce sex trafficking

5th July 2016 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 | 05.07.2016


1//  White House Launches Data-Driven Justice Initiative to reduce prison population

The White House have launched the Data-Driven Justice Initiative (DDJ). The initiative sees a diverse, bipartisan coalition of 67 city, county, and State governments — supported by non-profit organisations, private sector companies, foundations and universities  —  sharing data solutions that are having significant impact in reducing jail populations.


2//  Dutch telecommunications company launches first national Internet of Things network

Dutch telecommunications company KPN recently switched on an Internet of Things network that reportedly covers the entire country and will be used to connect millions of devices. It’s thought to be the first of its kind.


3// Nominet launches fourth annual NT100

Nominet have launched their fourth annual NT100: a search for the world’s most remarkable examples of social innovation, where the internet and digital technology have been used to tackle critical social challenges. The prestigious NT100 is sure to contain a host of projects and organisations making huge positive changes in the world.


4//  Traffick Cam: crowdsourcing photos of hotel rooms to reduce sex trafficking

Traffick Cam is a new app that crowdsources photos of hotel rooms in order to combat sex trafficking. By building a database of hotel-room photos, the creators of the app hope to be able to match photos of sex-trafficking victims taken in hotel rooms with the photos in the database. Early indications are positive.


5//  AI chatbot lawyer successfully challenges 160,000 parking tickets for free

An artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free, showing that chatbots can actually be useful. The bot, created by 19-year-old Joshua Browder, represents a widely beneficial application of artificial intelligence, given the often predatory and ambiguous nature of parking tickets.


6//  New EU-funded open-data accelerator

The Open Data Incubator for Europe (ODINE) is a 6-month incubator for open data entrepreneurs across Europe. The programme is funded with a €7.8m grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.


7//  Scientists researching technology to allow locusts to detect explosives

Scientists are researching technology they hope will allow locusts to detect explosives using their sense of smell. They say heat-generating "tattoos" will enable them to be guided into dangerous or remote areas via remote control.


8//  U.S. Government announces virtual internship platform

The Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) is the largest virtual internship program in the world. U.S. students contribute about 10 hours a week to their government, doing real work and gaining real experience in the process. VSFS could mark the digital future of internships, given the high financial barriers that inhibit many students from gaining experience before entering the working world.


9//  Breakaway: video game tackling gender inequality

Breakaway is a new video game that aims to promote gender equality. As well as avoiding violence against women in its storyline, the game actively promotes gender equality by awarding points for correct decisions in response to increasingly nuanced sexist behaviours. The video-game industry is enormous, and therefore powerful in shaping the minds of young people. Let’s hope Breakaway signals a new generation of games with a distinct social conscience.


10//  Nimb: ring with panic button concealed within

The Nimb ring is a fashion ring with a panic button concealed in the back. Although a variety of panic-button apps exist on smartphones, the ring is a more disguised, and more easily accessible, way for women to trigger the alarm if they find themselves in danger.

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