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Creative Tech Festival


Social Impact Hackathon

An app to connect communities / an assistive speech recognition device / a web app to track Basildon's social wellbeing / a visuals and music installation / a pothole detector and mapper -  These are the projects initiated at the Creative Tech for Social Impact Hackathon.

A hackathon is a dynamic and collaborative gathering where participants come together to unleash their creativity and innovation by working on a project. Whether it's crafting cutting-edge software applications, developing innovative hardware solutions, designing user-friendly interfaces or even exploring new realms of virtual reality, the possibilities are endless.

The "Creative Tech for Social Impact Hackathon", organised by Southend Tech, took place online and in person, as part of the festival. Teams were formed during the first online meet-up, they then had a week to plan and develop their projects. Some of these intial ideas will be further developed over the coming weeks and months during Southend Tech's regular inperson and online meetups (over 18s only). GET INVOLVED.




An app that gives you the platform to create and engage with communities and other social causes.

It will empower grassroots organisations to extend reach to amplify their crucial role in advancing social wellbeing. And it will allow users to connect with friends and other like-minded people to discuss topics they care about in a safe, moderated environment.

Visit the HIROEK website to learn more and sign up for priority access.

NIKKI - Assistive Speech Recognition Device

The team behind NIKKI is training an AI model to recognise words from a person with a speech impairment that might not otherwise be able to use a personal assistant such as Alexa or Siri.

The sound is turned into a picture (a spectrogram - a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies of a signal as it varies with time). The AI outputs a response which controls a TV using infrared LEDs.

The aim is to create a model that can ultimately run on a stand-alone (no internet required) microcontroller based board to detect a specific set of words that will result in the effective control of devices in the user's environment.

The team will continue to develop NIKKI at Southend Tech meetups and plan to build a working prototype.

How are you Basildon?

This web application aims to track the town's social wellbeing in order to raise awareness around mental health in Basildon.

Registered users would be invited to rate (on a sliding scale) how they are feeling, how their day is and how their health is - along with which district they're in.

The resulting (anonymised) outputs would show up on a heat-map of the area, giving a real-time indication of general community wellbeing. 

Auto Pothole Detector

This project aims to create an efficient and real-time pothole detection and mapping solution. By collaborating with local authorities and road maintenance teams, we can improve road safety and infrastructure maintenance.

  • Detect potholes: Use the Micro:bit accelerometer to identify sudden jolts or impacts (indicative of potholes) in vehicles.
  • Collect GPS data: Utilize the GPS sensor to obtain accurate location coordinates.
  • Visualize potholes: Display pothole locations on a real-time map accessible via a central server.  

Open Air Visuals and Music Installation

The team's idea is to increase interest and awareness in contemporary arts, and technology's use within the field.

This would be achieved with an open air installation where visuals in the form of moving Lissajous figures would be projected onto suitable buildings, together with an accompanying ambient music background.

Click the project video button to see an example of how the projection would work.

About the organiser


Southend Tech organises creative technology meetups, Raspberry Jams, coding workshops and other tech events in Essex.

They hold on online meetup weekly, and an in-person event monthly. Visit the website for sign up details.

Whether you're just curious about tech, a hobbyist, or a seasoned pro - people (18+) of all ability levels are welcome at these friendly meetups.