Tech for Good Ten: Nesta New Radicals, new UN innovation hub, Change.org overhaul and catching Pokemon

12th 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 | 12.07.2016


1//  Nesta announces 2016 New Radicals

Nesta this week announced their 2016 New Radicals: people and organisations working in radical new ways to solve social issues. There’s plenty of excellent tech-for-good examples on the list. Indeed, we’ll be publishing a special Tech for Good 10 later this week to highlight some of those people and organisations. In the meantime, be sure to at least browse the list for inspiration.


2//  UN launches new food-innovation hub

The World Food Programme's (WFP) new innovation hub, launched in Munich this week through the UN with the support of the German government, will seek out new technologies to help reach the goal of zero hunger faster.


3// Transitland: open-data platform for civic-tech solutions

It was announced this week that the Mapzen Turn-by-Turn - an open-source routing engine based on the Transitland open-transit-data platform - can be used to plan multimodal journeys in over 200 regions. The development is an example of how the Transitland data set is and could further be used to find creative civic-tech solutions to problems - particularly in cities.


4//  Superbugs: raising awareness of antibiotics through online gaming

Nesta this week launched Superbugs, an online game aimed at raising awareness of antibiotic usage. The dangers of incorrect antibiotic usage and resistance to antibiotics are set to become major problems in coming years, and Nesta’s game highlights the potential power of gaming as a vehicle for raising awareness of and combating future issues.


5//  OpenCellular: Facebook's new open-source wireless access platform

OpenCellular is an open-source wireless-access platform that Facebook hopes will increase access to wireless internet in remote areas. Facebook intend the release to equip local entrepreneurs, telecoms operators, OEM’s and researchers to build local wireless infrastructure.


6//  Facebook announces disappearing messaging and new encryption software

Facebook are also trialling a disappearing messaging system, using technology similar to that behind the Snapchat app. They intend the technology to increase online privacy, and announced it alongside new end-to-end encryption software also aimed at greater online privacy.


7//  Change.org overhauls business model

The team at Change.org, arguably the leading online petitioning platform, has overhauled its business model. Their decision to replace sponsored petitions with a 5% service fee looks set to have major changes on the way digital petitioning operates.


8//  South Korea: bluetooth system for pregnant transport passengers

Following a successful trial, the city of Busan in South Korea is now planning to introduce a bluetooth-powered system for helping pregnant train and bus passengers who need to sit down. Round pink lights next to priority seats in train carriages are activated by a sensor carried by pregnant travellers when they board the train.


9//  New urbanisation data set to spawn civic-tech insights

Yale urbanisation researcher Meredith Reba has published a paper in the journal Scientific Data that plots an unprecedented 6,000 years of global, city-level population history. This new set of historical data could help researchers identify new patterns, and address questions about everything from sustainability to the sociopolitical ramifications of urban growth.


10//  Catching Pokemon improving mental health?

Pokemon GO has taken the world by storm this week. Alongside a few more lighthearted stories stemming from the craze, it has emerged that the game is having a significant positive impact on players’ mental health. By encouraging players to get out and about in search of Pokemon, could the game be encouraging so-called ‘couch potatoes’ to exercise and socialise more?

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