IRRI, Smart search for best agri apps

In celebration of the National Year of Rice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Smart Communications are staging a sequel to last year’s Bigas Hackathon, a competition looking for software applications and devices that will help improve rice farming and science.

Called Bigas2Hack, the event will be held from August 31 to September 1 at the IRRI headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna. Interested developers may form teams of two to four people and join any of these challenges:

• Short-Term Challenge, where participants can work on their project only during the event

• Long-Term Challenge, where participants can work on their project from now until September 1

Those joining the Long-Term Challenge can choose from any of the following categories:

• Salikseeker: Find a way to automate the measurement of parts of leaves that can be seen under a microscope.

• PhenotypicALL: Develop hardware to automatically measure features of rice plants, like how green the leaves are or how high the plant is.

• Beras: Improve IRRI’s software that models rice crop growth.

Developers participating in the Long-Term Challenge may start working on their projects upon registering at http://bigas2hack.eventbrite.com/ They can get more information about the categories at http://rice-hackathon.irri.org/home

Meanwhile, those joining the Short-Term Challenge may register at http://bigas2hack.eventbrite.com/ starting August 12. Bigas2Hack is a free event, but prior registration is required.

Prizes for the winning teams include the latest gadgets, internship opportunities, and gift certificates. All Bigas2Hack participants will get freebies and access to cloud-based operating systems to develop their apps.

Last year, a team called PhilRobotics won the Bigas Hackathon for its portable device called Environment Logging System (Envilog), which can take readings of temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind direction, and barometric pressure in rice fields.

Smart, through its developer community called Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet), co-organized last year’s Bigas Hackathon with IRRI.

Smart DevNet has staged several hackathons which have resulted in the creation of apps that contribute to social good. One of these is a mobile app for Project Noah, a disaster prevention and mitigation program developed by the government in partnership with Smart and other companies.

The prototype for this app was developed at Smart DevNet’s HTML5 DevDay Davao event last year.

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