'Hackathon' students put safety first to win £20k

A GROUP of talented young city students have scooped a £20,000 prize for devising new technology to improve public safety.

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Gordon  Matheson with the winning MS Glasgow team from the university
Gordon Matheson with the winning MS Glasgow team from the university

They were one of 11 teams who took part in a marathon 48-hour event - known as a hackathon - to foster innovation and creative talent.

MS Glasgow won the top prize for creating a messaging system for non-urgent contact with the emergency services.

It uses social media to send short text messages, photographs and the caller's exact location to the police, fire or health services.

Staff will be able to respond and send targeted announcements to specific groups of people living or working in certain areas.

The MS Glasgow team was made up of 11 members, 10 of whom are students at Glasgow University.

The competition was run by Future City Glasgow, a £24million project to show how technology can make life in the city smarter, safer and more sustainable.

City council leader Gordon Matheson, who is chairman of the project, said: "Glasgow is proud to be a city of innovation.

"The hackathons are encouraging and supporting young people to develop exciting new technologies and hopefully go on to start new businesses.

"I was impressed by the drive and commitment shown by all the competitors, especially as they worked non-stop for 48 hours to hone their concepts and prepare their pitches for the judges.

"The MS Glasgow team in particular demonstrated great potential and I congratulate them on their win."

Josh McGhee, 20, who led the winning team, is studying computer science at Glasgow University.

He said: "This win is massive for us - we are already in discussion with the emergency services about taking the concept forward."

The other team members were Maksim Solovjov, Stefan Boca, Daniel Tsvetkov, Maxine Emuobosa, Edvin Malinovskis, George Popa, Keir Smith, Robert Szkokan, Marin Georgiev and Reinis Elksnis.

The public safety hackathon was the first of four. Future themes will including energy, health and transport.

The second event will take place from March 21 to 23. To register go to http://open.glasgow.gov.uk

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

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