DementiaHack is the world’s foremost dementia-themed hackathon.
We’re bringing world-class developers, engineers, designers, health professionals, and other motivated individuals together November 7-9 to hack together new products/services for people living with dementia and their caregivers. DementiaHack is chaired by Jordan Banks, presented by Facebook, supported by the UK and Canadian governments, hosted at George Brown’s new Waterfront Campus, and produced by HackerNest.
‘Dementia’ describes various neurodegenerative conditions characterized by reduced cognitive function and memory loss. No treatment exists to cure or stop it. The World Health Organization estimates that 47+ million people live with dementia worldwide (over 750,000 in Canada), a number expected to increase to 75+ million by 2030. This poses a serious threat to the world’s economies as the funds needed to care for the growing population of those with dementia reaches epic proportions.
Significant effort and funding goes towards the search for a cure, but that may take years, even decades, to come to fruition. Dementia can be overwhelming; not only for those diagnosed, but also their families and caregivers. Today, millions of our rapidly aging populations and their loved ones face staggering, often heartbreaking challenges in their daily lives with dementia.
Our focus, however, isn’t pity: it’s practicality. We partnered with some of the world’s leading dementia experts to distil relevant challenge sets to guide participants towards the most impactful outcomes. These are ordered by beneficiary to clearly answer the question: “Who am I helping?” – and will be featured in the most perfect environment for demonstrably effective innovations to emerge: DementiaHack.
Our mission isn’t just to raise awareness, it’s to enable the development of life-improving products that’ll make the world a little lighter for those affected by dementia — today.
 Created in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Alzheimer’s Societies of Canada, Ontario and Toronto; Mount Sinai Hospital and its Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training; the Heart and Stroke Foundation; the University of Waterloo and its Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program; the University of Toronto and its Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases; and Baycrest Health Sciences and its Centre for Geriatric Care
Sat, Oct 3: “Voices from the Field” Workshop @ MaRS
Discussion panel and team-matching session. Experts, caregivers, and people living with dementia will share their insights and experiences so participants get a better, more human understanding of their challenges. Casual socializing follows.
Mon, Oct 26: HackerNest Toronto Tech Social & DementiaHack Team Matching
We’re turning our regular Toronto Tech Social into a DementiaHack Team Matching event!
Sat, Nov 7-8: DementiaHack Hackathon @ George Brown College, Waterfront Campus
Epic 30-hour hackathon culminating in a science-fair judging by mentors. Shortlisted teams will move on to the Monday night finals.
Mon, Nov 9: DementiaHack Finals @ George Brown College, Waterfront Campus
Finalists get a day to recuperate and polish their demos. Potential investors, acquirers, and customers are invited to observe the crème de la crème of DementiaHack showcasing their products to our panel of distinguished judges. Casual socializing follows.
These challenge sets exist to help participants frame their thinking and approach to their products. They consist of some of the most common and endemic challenges faced by those living and working around dementia – solve them and you’ll improve millions of lives. That said, our challenge sets are suggestions, not restrictions: fit the theme, pick a beneficiary, come up with a workable solution — and we’ll give you a chance to demo.
We will do our best to match applicant teams with relevant mentors from our partners to stack the deck for success. If you win, we win and the world wins.
Diagnosed individuals need help with:
- making homes (especially kitchens and bathrooms) safer
- cueing the tasks of daily life in a non-overwhelming, sequenced way
- emergency alerting and notification systems (falls, etc.)
Family caregivers need help with:
- easy data reporting on their charge to support clinicians/researchers
- making repetitive cueing less frustrating
- finding support, best practices, and coping strategies to care for themselves and others
Institutional caregivers and clinicians need help with:
- safe administration of medication in a multiple-caregiver, multiple-patient setting
- preventing bedsores
- non-intrusive location tracking and monitoring
Researchers need help with:
- collecting real-life cognition/processing data, e.g. time it takes to dial a phone number
- finding and reaching participants for studies and trials
- better health and environmental data, e.g. past diagnoses, medications, profession, etc.
Each challenge set will have a winner and a runner-up (that’s 8 ranked prizes!). There will be token cash amounts, but our prizing tracks are heavily geared towards helping products get to market. A startup will burn through a few thousand dollars in a month or two, but a 2-hour lunch with a hospital’s director of procurement could very well lead to a 10-year lifeline contract for a business.
One team will win a full business development trip to the UK to pitch at a major healthcare conference – the UK government will ensure it is packed with introductions to potential acquirers, customers, and investors.
Not to be outdone, Facebook is sponsoring an all-expenses paid trip for one team to their offices in Silicon Valley – see where all the magic happens!
We have a rolling admissions process – this means applicants won’t have to wait to be accepted and partnered with mentors – and that it is better to apply sooner rather than later. Don’t worry, the application is easy and straightforward: we just need a sense of what you’re working on so we can connect you with the best mentor to give you feedback on your idea/product.
To make sure you’re notified when registration opens (very soon!), please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Tell me when DementiaHack opens”.
Sponsor & Support DementiaHack
We are actively seeking partners, challenge set champions, property sponsors, prize sponsors, and volunteers.
To support DementiaHack, please email email@example.com.
For press and media inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.