Melbourne Girls In Tech, Hacking for Humanity - Hack the Future

November 3, 2019

1.7 million Australians are unaware that they may already have kidney disease? How do we reach as many of these people as possible and urge them to get a kidney health check before it is too late?

That is the question asked by Kidney Health Australia at the Hacking for Humanity hackathon organised by Girls In Tech which I tackled alongside four team members. Our solution was a automated chat bot using Google's DialogFlow technology to assess user risk level, combined with a fierce marketing campaign designed to reach as many people as possible whilst being financially efficient.

Billy the Kidney chat bot on Facebook Messenger.
Screenshot of Billy the Kidney chat bot on Facebook Messenger

DialogFlow makes it easy to create a natural language bot for a wide variety of platforms simultaneously, including Facebook, Instagram, and any bespoke location, by planning conversations through the online DialogFlow portal. Data can be extracted from conversations to a cloud instance, as it was in our case to calculate the users risk based on their lifestyle factors. Our demonstration at the end of the 48 hour hackathon included a live bot on Facebook Messenger, who we called Billy the Kidney, as well as a live demonstration on the Kidney Health Australia homepage.

Our solution, though not polished completely on the day, demonstrated the value of the ideas as a cost effective way for Kidney Health Australia to reach and impact as many people as possible.

The weekend also saw other charities and teams present. I was a big fan of Captain Starlight and Heart on my Sleeve, both superb organisations, the former brightens the day of kids in hospitals and the latter reaching out and forming genuine connections with people.

Footnotes