Hackathon Team Builds ‘Open Radioactivity Warning System’ For Crowdsourced Data

Hackathons can sometimes turn into a sea of laptops and monitors, so perhaps it’s no surprise that, as I wandered the Disrupt Europe Hackathon today, I found myself drawn to a table covered with wiring and gadgets, including a Geiger counter.

The idea was pretty unusual, too — as the four-person team explained it to me, they’re trying to build a system for collecting and displaying crowdsourced radiation data.

Philipp Wagner (the team member actually working with the Geiger counter) explained that in situations like the Fukushima nuclear disaster, you might not trust the company involved to give you accurate warnings about the radiation danger. So a participant in the Open Radioactivity Warning System would receive their own Geiger counter that collects and shares live data online.

The team’s hardware attracted other passersby, and one of them suggested that a similar project already exists. I think they were talking about Safecast, a project that was originally funded through Kickstarter in the wake of Fukushima — right now, it looks like Safecast is focused on Japan.

radioactivity team

The team comes from the Austrian cities of Linz and Vienna, and it’s their first time at Disrupt. Philipp attributed the idea to his teammate Alex Entinger, who seems to have brought the the group together — he went to university with one of his teammates (Matthias Schörghuber), another is his girlfriend (Adriana Ghira), and he said he recruited Philipp because they work on the same floor.

It seems like the system is still very much a work in progress, but Alex said he’s determined to have something finished for the hackathon presentations tomorrow. In the meantime, you can see an initial version on the website of Entinger’s startup, LXRobotics.