Mon, Dec 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hackers compete to find solutions for farmers

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The “farm hackathon” held by the Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday came to an end after running for 33 consecutive hours, with 37 teams of hackers competing to find new solutions to problems in the agriculture sector.

The contest took place at Taipei Co-Space (臺北創新實驗室) in the city’s Neihu District (內湖) and was held from 10am on Saturday to 6pm yesterday.

The council offers nearly 800 entries of open data to contestants, who can utilize the data to create new application programming interfaces (APIs) for agricultural practices.

Award winners can work in the space for six months free of charge, while the top four get an extra 36-hour professional counseling session about starting a business, said Taipei Department of Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh (林崇傑), who is in charge of the management of Taipei Co-Space.

A team named 4Pet won the special judge award with its application that helps users find stray animals that look like them.

It aims to promote the adoption rate of stray animals by systematizing the data of nationwide animal shelters, said 4Pet team leader Daniel Lin (林錦賜), 36, who is the general manager of 4 Point Design Co (四點設計).

Next, the team plans to add a positioning system in the app and new functions such as the ability to adopt animals online, he said.

Another team named A3 fun (樂飛) won second place with nothing but an idea — a platform that provides an interface between farmers and agricultural experts in areas such as disease prevention and insecticide use.

The platform can be regarded as a “butler” for farmers, said team leader Linder Lin, 46, who is a professional in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industry.

Farmers in other nations have used UAVs to spray insecticides, and while Taiwanese experts can hardly make more advanced vehicles than those made in China and the US, they can seek to solve agricultural problems by teaming up with experts in different domains, he said.

While participants proposed many interesting solutions, the council expects some measures to bring down the delivery cost of produce, COA Secretariat Office section chief Huang Hsiu-mei (黃秀美) said.

Delivery costs makes up about 30 percent of the prices of agricultural products, Huang said, adding that young farmers could make more money if that cost can be reduced.

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