Hawaii’s tech minds take on food traceability, ag-crimes, and farmer training language barriers
After an intense two weeks of planning and coding, Hawaii technology innovators on Jan. 14 filled Impact Hub Honolulu – laptops in hand. Each teams’ representatives were poised to pitch thoughtfully crafted concepts, some already in the proofs-of-concept stage, to a panel of judges convened for the AGathon, Hawaii’s first agriculture-tech hackathon.
The AGathon was held to bring the burgeoning world of digital innovation into the age-old practice of local food production to address problems confronting Hawaii today. The event kickedoff on Jan. 6 at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center in Waipahu, followed by an all-day hackathon Jan. 13 and “Demo Day and Awards” on Jan. 14 at Impact Hub Honolulu.
Presented by Hawaii Open Data and the state’s Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, Transform Hawaii Government was proud to support the inaugural event, along with co-sponsors Elemental Excelerator, Ulupono Initiative, and Whitmore Economic Development Group.
As intended, the AGathon successfully sparked the development of concepts for making information easily digestible and diverging from long paper-based manuals; ultimately, so farmers are able to spend more of their time growing crops, minimizinf food waste and contributing to meeting Hawaii’s local sustainable food needs.
Additional benefits are the opportunities this presents for improving interaction between farmers and government agencies as well as how those agencies manage data. With increasing compliance regulations, lack of timely and easily interpretable data hampers the efforts of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (DoA) and its partners in propelling the industry toward effective data-driven decision-making and outreach. Even while some areas are rife with aggregated data due to years of information collection, making sense of the broader situation remains a cumbersome challenge without responsive and dynamic analysis tools. Other barriers include remote locations, lack of internet connectivity, as well as potential language barriers from laborers add complexity to the agency’s technological needs.
First place team Harvest Vision impressed judges with a demo of their artificial intelligence software using a camera to recognize ripe coffee berries. As noted in a recent story in Pacific Business News, Harvest Vision received interest from local coffee producer Kauai Coffee Company, which is looking to implement the technology in 2018.
Congratulations to Harvest Vision and the other inaugural AGathon winners:
- First Place: Harvest Vision – an application programming interface (API) that uses machine learning to harvest coffee efficiently.
- Second Place: Farm Safe – an app designed to explain farming and safety practices to non-English-speaking farmers in their native language.
- Third Place: Follow the ‘Aina – a solution used for food traceability.