Hackers from across the country – as well as a few of our neighbors from Canada – came together in the Gig City last weekend for Hackanooga: Ignite Chattanooga Hack Days. The 48-hour event was presented by U.S. Ignite and Mozilla, and sponsored by EPB, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the National Science Foundation , CO.LAB, Lamp Post Group and Easy Designs.

During Friday evening’s kick-off, 80 hackers divided into 11 teams based on skills and interests. They spent the weekend at the Church on Main prototyping apps of the future, which could have major implications across multiple industries – including healthcare, education and public safety.

“We’re bringing people in who are developers and designers and getting them working together, imagining how they’re going to transform communities,” said Ben Moskowitz, Media Program Officer for Mozilla. “We’re not saying we’re going to make an app in 48 hours – we’re going to start making building blocks.”

Many of the teams hacked away into the wee hours of the morning, fueled by camaraderie, adrenaline and a little caffeine.  During Sunday evening’s App Demos, the teams showed off the fruits of their labor. Check out some of the ideas below:

  • TentWatch would provide an open-source framework that allows users to “tag” events that are happening and plot them on a map. Users could then search for a specific kind of event and see exactly where and when it took place. Following a severe storm, for example, Tentwatch could allow disaster response teams to pinpoint power outages.
  • TripNotify is designed for the elderly in case of a fall or other accident. A device installed in the phone would detect a fall, and a pop-up on the phone would enable the user to immediately contact 911 if necessary.
  • Change, a Chattanooga-focused idea, would build a website that outlines the city’s districts. Visitors to the site could virtually allocate resources and see how it affects the city’s budget, both immediately and long-term.
  • Proximity1 would deliver a high-quality video aggregator app that utilizes the Gig. The app would offer a range of channels that contain professional and informative video content from businesses, non-profits and other organizations that partner with the service.

Several hackers described the event as “eye-opening” and “life-changing,” and Moskowitz praised Hackanooga for being the “best organized” hack-a-thon he has attended as part of the series, which is taking place in cities across the country that offer ultra-high bandwidth.

“This is a great chance to showcase the talent that we have here in Chattanooga,” said Kelly McCarthy, Hackanooga organizer and co-owner of Easy Designs. “The sort of opportunities that exist with this gigabit technology, it’s not something you can find everywhere.”

While the ideas born out of Hackagnooga are only in their infant stages, they could morph into submissions for the Mozilla Ignite challenge.

“This is the beginning, not the end, of a process,” Moskowitz explained. “We hope everyone here will continue what they started.”