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November 12, 2014David Isbitski
The sold out AWS re:Invent 2014 conference started yesterday and the Amazon Appstore team was on site to meet and help developers during the week. We kicked off Tuesday by taking part in the AWS Hackathon and set up a gaming lounge for you to get hands on with the latest Amazon Fire device and games. Tomorrow starts the Fire devices track so if you are looking for more in depth material on Fire OS devices be sure to stop on by. You can see a full list of tracks here.
Over 100 developers came together the morning before the first Keynote for a great cause. Developers worked with non-profits to help them solve some of their problems through IT Challenges – like building a web or mobile app, helping to make data more accessible, or creating an interactive web-based visualization for a charity’s website.
Teams formed early in the morning and then aligned themselves to four different challenges they could take on. These challenges included building solutions for Nasa, Cancer Research UK, UN Global Pulse and Atrocity Watch.
Atrocity Watch Challenge
AtrocityWatch is an award-winning two-year-old organization dedicated to the use of Big Data for the prediction and prevention of atrocities. There is a whole community of humanitarians who have dedicated their lives to the prevention of atrocities, but the tools they have at their disposal are very limited. Atrocity Watch’s mission is to help humanitarians achieve their goals, and to keep people safe.
The developer challenge was to create a mobile computing solution which can help keep individuals safe through geofencing, crowdsourcing, threshold based alerts, and/or other means. Using public datasets, dev’s built a static or dynamic geofence that keeps people safe without revealing their location to the bad guys.
UN Global Pulse
UN Global Pulse’s mission is to identify “digital signals” which enable the UN to respond to emerging crises and changing social issues globally. Global Pulse is working to promote awareness of the opportunities Big Data presents for relief and development, forge public-private data sharing partnerships, generate high-impact analytical tools and approaches through its network of Pulse Labs, and drive broad adoption of useful innovations across the UN System.
The developer challenge was to create a tool that mines text data from open sources or data sets and social media to show how people around the world feel about a range of social issues ranging from health, to food prices, unemployment or the environment.
NASA JPL challenge
The Mars rovers Curiosity and Opportunity have been on the move capturing fantastic photos of the Red planet for years. The Mars image data repository, stored in Amazon’s S3, is updated daily, and holds all the images ever taken on Mars by the rovers.
The developer challenge was to build an application that identifies important features in these images, such as rover tracks, meteorites, and even the moons of Mars! All of the source data is publicly accessible to the world, making it ideal for building the coolest crowdsourcing application in the solar system.
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. It has saved millions of lives by discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer; survival has doubled over the past 40 years. Race for Life is Cancer Research UK’s main fundraising event and has been running for the past 20 years.
The developer challenge was to design a highly innovative mobile registration application for the race. Poor mobile conversion is currently costing Cancer Research UK millions of dollars each year; an effortless mobile registration process would help correct this.
Figure 1 - Congrats to the winner of the AWSHackathon supporting NASA exploration of Mars
The hackathon did not require any previous experience and it was great to talk to developers from all over coming together for a really good cause!
Looking to get some hands on experience with the latest Amazon Devices? We have set up a full developer lounge this year complete with Fire TV stations, the latest Fire tablets and multiple Fire phones all on hand for you to play with.
Figure 2 - Amazon Appstore Gaming Lounge
If you are at the event be sure to stop on by booth #835 located on the Main Expo Floor halfway through the midway. Look for the big gaming stations! Our Developer Evangelists will be at the booth all week too offering help and guidance around submitting and monetizing your apps with the Amazon Appstore.
Figure 3 - Playing some Sonic on Fire TV
All attendees are eligible to take a spin on our “swag wheel” giving you a chance to win multiple prizes including tshirts and an Amazon Appstore nerf rocket.
Don’t forget the Amazon Fire device track kicks off today! Come learn from customers and Amazon experts how to create Fire phone, Fire TV and Kindle Fire apps. We’ll go into depth on how to create applications that react to customer actions with Fire phone’s Dynamic Perspective and Firefly technologies. You’ll also hear how to reach new audiences with Fire TV. Top mobile developers will share their tips on monetizing and you’ll get behind-the-scenes details from the Amazon engineers who build our technologies. You can see a full list of tracks here.