It’s been happening annually every November for the past 7 years. Since it began, the startups that graduated from this initiative collectively employ 75+ people today. It’s also been a way of introducing technology to one of the poorest provinces in the country. It’s been a way of showing them the possibilities of a better life. At this year’s, Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 we found a makerspace exhibition, a series of keynotes, alongside its traditional hackathon.
The first team we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 wanted to encourage consumption of natural honey. They aimed to do so by building a system to crowdsource bee farming. They identify empty land, offer it to beekeepers, and then sell it to customers. The teams planned to be operational in 2019. However, the judges were curious if they could make natural honey affordable.
The next team we saw made a sole for shoes that hope to prevent diabetic foot ulcers. This is a serious condition that we’ve seen other Sri Lankans tackle before. This team’s approach is to measure the pressure applied on the sole. Based on the measurements, it recommends whether patients need treatment via a mobile app. These soles would apparently cost $90 and come with a subscription fee for the app.
This team wants to make it easier for people to learn and communicate in English. They aim to do so by offering a space for public speaking and offering a learning platform for students. Currently, they’re focused on doing so in the Northern Province. The judges shared that they should explore the programs being run by existing organizations doing the same.
Team Three Ninjas
The next team we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 wanted to make eco-friendly transportation freely available. As such, they want to make bicycles readily available for rent. To utilize the service, you’d pay a subscription fee. You also pay another usage fee depending on how long use the bicycle. Following their pitch, the judges encouraged the team to have a deeper look at bicycle sharing companies that operate in China.
Afterward, we saw a team with a tongue-twisting name. They wanted to create a game that encourages kids to do their day to day activities. The game works by utilizing AI and the front camera of a phone to identify whether kids are doing an activity. If so then a 3D character is able to move forward with energy. At the end of their pitch, the judges commented that there were other problems they could also solve with the technology that would be scalable
Afterwards, we saw a device called Pulse Care. This is wearable that monitors the health data of patients in hospitals. In the event an anomaly occurs, then the doctors would receive an alert. The team shared that they designed this wearable as they noticed there was a shortage of trained doctors in Sri Lanka.
Later, we saw a team that chose to tackle the problem of arthritis. This is a condition that they shared only can be attended to with expensive medication or regular exercise. The team chose to adopt the latter approach to build their solution. To that end, they built a game. This game utilizes a camera that monitors the movement of arthritis patients while exercising with their physiotherapist.
Team Crazy Coders
The next team we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 wanted to make healthy food more readily available. As such, they wanted to offer a service to deliver fresh organic food directly from the farmers. Furthermore, they wanted to do so at a price that the farmers considered fair. Currently, they’re looking at capturing 500 households in Jaffna as customers. Following the pitch, the judges advised the team to consider the costs of logistics to deliver the food.
Metros were the solution presented by this team. It was a device that was designed to monitor your electricity usage. According to the team, the device would cost Rs. 2000. Besides sharing your electricity usage via an app, you’d also get tips on how to reduce your electricity consumption. Additionally, they also planned to provide data to electricity providers to help them gauge consumption patterns. However, they may already have this information.
This was a team that presented an irrigation system for farmers. This would create an optimal pattern to keep plants hydrated in fields. It would learn how to do so utilizing sensors to identify which areas of the fields need to be hydrated. Afterward, an Arduino system would be utilized to control the irrigation system itself. Additionally, this would be powered by a series of solar panels.
Afterwards, we saw eTrolley from this team, which aimed to improve grocery shopping. This is a shopping trolley with a tablet attached to it. The tablet itself would be running an app that helps you find items within the supermarket. The team aimed to earn money by charging supermarkets to install the eTrolley system in their outlets.
This was a team that chose to tackle an age-old problem plaguing many cities, which was traffic. Their approach was also to build a ride-hailing app. The difference being they’d utilize electric vehicles for carpooling. It’d focus on targeting corporates to help all their employee’s carpool to work. Furthermore, the team shared they’d have their own fleet of drivers. The judges later pointed out that there was a problem in Jaffna itself to find taxis, which the team could tackle.
The next team we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 shared that we spend millions cleaning waterways. However, they always return to their original polluted stated. As such, they built a robot that could collect waste in waterways for a period of 5 hours.
The team hopes to build the robot on an industrial scale. Afterwards, it wants to start projects to clean rivers and lakes. Initially, these projects would be free. Later they hope to work on a contract basis with the government to do the same and sell the robot.
Urban gardening. This was what this team at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 wanted to encourage. As such, they built an app that looked similar to Instagram to teach users the necessary skills to do so. Additionally, the app also has a marketplace to buy the necessary supplies. It’d also allow users to sell any vegetables or fruits they produce. The team went onto state that they’d earn money through a variety of manners that include subscriptions and advertisements.
Afterwards, we saw Cuckoo. This was an app that aimed to deliver home cooked food to corporates. This could be either food directly from their homes or from nearby restaurants within a 1km radius. For each delivery, they’d charge a fixed amount of Rs. 40. At the end of their pitch, the judges reminded the team that they’d have to look carefully into logistics.
Team Skyline Printers
Later, we saw Team Skyline Printers at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7. They had built an app to help you obtain printed products quickly. The team aimed to do so by connecting you with printers and designers through their apps. Once your designs have been printed, they’d deliver it to your doorstep.
The final team we saw at the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 focused on tackling the problem of wasted food. As such, they built an app where customers can get excess food from the restaurant at a cheaper price. The team shared that they’re primarily focused on university students. However, the judges were confused about the value proposition of the team. They shared that consumers wouldn’t want to be told they’re getting leftovers.
So who will be moving onto the finals?
From the many teams that pitched in Jaffna, the judges had to make a choice. They were asked to choose which teams would move on to the next stage. This would the finale, which would take place on the 17th of November in Colombo. And the teams that will be pitching at this finale are Phoenix, Porukki, Codezilla, Skyline Printers, Crazy Coders, Codeaxive, Electros, Thulaiko, Atronics, IOE, and TJAMS.