24 Nov 2016

Augmented reality apps for refugees rock The Great Northern

Last weekend The Great Northern was the venue for a different kind of hackathon: augmented reality apps aimed at refugees and newcomers to Sweden.

Augmented reality (AR) is live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.


The participants in the ARctic Challenge came from companies in The Great Northern, students from LTU (mainly from the PERCCOM Erasmus Mundus master program) and tech-interested people from the local refugee community.

The winners were Olga Rybnytska, Felipe Leon, Victor Araujo Atefeh Maleki and Chandara Chea. Their entry was an interactive app to help newcomers discover Skellefteå. The app allows you to take pictures of buildings or objects in the city which are then “recognized”by the app. The app will then tell you what the building or object is, in your preferred language

The runners-up were James Zhou, Greger Burman, Christoffer Lundberg, Mattias Svedjevik and Simon Larsson. They created the app Sortly which can read QR-codes on the municipality’s recycling waste bins and show pictures and text of what should be in them. The app also interprets bar-codes on packaging and tells you in which recycling bin to dispose of it.

“The participants in the ARctic Challenge not only created solutions for refugees but for tourists and the general public too,” said Emina Kovacevic, innovation manager at Skellefteå Science City.

“Around 50 participants dedicated the weekend to come up with AR solutions. Some of the suggestions will be presented to Skellefteå municipality and the plan is to arrange more similar hackathons.”

The organizers of ARctic Challenge were Skellefteå Digital Alliance and the Sense Smart Region Project in cooperation with Skellefteå municipality, Smart Tillväxt, Skellefteå Science City and LTU.

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