First-of-a-kind hackathon on active ageing in Singapore

by | August 15, 2013

Active Ageing Hackathon brings people together to tackle challenges seniors face in their daily lives and come up with prototypes that use technology to improve their lives.


People of all ages and backgrounds will be coming together to come up with original prototypes that could make a difference in the lives of seniors during the first-ever Active Ageing Hackathon in Singapore. Held on August 16 to 18 at *SCAPE and The HUB Singapore, the hackathon is organised by ground-up innovation platform UP Singapore, in partnership with the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and StarHub Community.

The Active Ageing Hackathon is being entirely centred on seniors and ageing, and will bring together a unique mix of pro-age advocates, technologists, seniors and youth. This comes on the heels of past hackathons hosted by UP Singapore including empowerment of marginalised women, diabetes management, workplace health and resource conservation.

Like its past hackathons, UP Singapore is focusing on an all-important issue affecting the community, in this case, the ageing community. In Singapore, the proportion of citizens over the age of 65 is set to increase from the current 10 percent to 31 percent in the next 25 years. This change in demographics will not only pose great challenges including social and economic, but also provide an opportunity to make Singapore a dynamic and inclusive place for seniors.

Shared Daryl Arnold, CEO of Newton Circus, which manages UP Singapore: “With increased awareness of key issues and access to technology and data, it is becoming easier for people to come together, collaborate and prototype creative solutions delivering a positive impact in Singapore. With additional support and investment from business and Government, these solutions can then be evaluated, implemented and scaled. A true people, public, private partnership for the good of Singapore.”

The participants of the hackathon will brainstorm solutions and build prototypes leveraging on technology to create an environment for seniors so they can lead healthy, active and independent lives.

Laurence Lien, CEO of NVPC, added, “We believe that everyone has something to contribute to the community and this is an excellent platform for activists passionate in active-ageing issues to step up, innovate and create solutions towards a common good. We also hope through the prototypes and solutions, to empower more seniors to take a more active role within the community, and even volunteer as a way of staying active.”


Partners & experts

A highlight at the Active Ageing Hackathon is the involvement of StarHub Community, a crowd-sourcing platform for community members to ask questions and find answers from fellow users. The community helps thousands of customers every month find solutions. In particular, the StarHub Golden Gurus forum was launched to help seniors jump onto the technology bandwagon. StarHub Golden Gurus, Sam Liu and Dora Lim, spoke during the pre-hackathon content workshop on August 13 about their experiences incorporating technology into their skill sets and teaching their peers to do the same. Liu and Lim, and other Golden Gurus will also be mentoring the participants during the weekend.

Also at the content workshop, there were other experts in the field of ageing and eldercare expertise such as Eleanor Yap, founder and director of Ageless Online and Helen Lim, founder of Silver Spring, who shared their insights and experiences. Yap said: “The hackathon is a great opportunity not only for interesting ideas to bubble up but also a chance for participants including the youth to understand the ageing sector. It makes no sense coming up with ideas if they don’t fit the market. The hackathon will have the content as well as the people to learn from and at the end of the day, help seniors live happy, healthier and independent lives.”

In addition, Dr Steven Tucker of Tucker Medical spoke during the content workshop on using data and devices (wearable and sensors) to improve the well-being of seniors.



During the hackathon weekend, participants will be encouraged to brainstorm ideas and turn these into Web, mobile or social prototypes in 48 hours. They will be given full access to a range of data sets from organisations such as NVPC, Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and National Library Board (NLB) to meet three challenges:

  • Care Pack Well-being Challenge (Newton Circus): Can you create an app that makes use of external sensors (wearable technology or smart devices in the home) to deliver an innovative solution that improves the well-being of seniors?
  • Silver Spring/Pwee Foundation Challenge: Can you use technology to capture and transfer the work experience and skills of seniors?
  • Volunteerism Challenge: Can you use technology to increase senior volunteerism in the community?


After the Active Ageing Hackathon, eligible teams may potentially be granted up to $50,000 by NVPC through its Jump Start Fund, which provides early stage funding to jump start ideas involving volunteerism and/or philanthropy, and prototype them. Winners of the Care Pack and Silver Spring/Pwee Foundation challenges will also have the opportunity to receive potential seed investment of up to $10,000 each. Also, the best data visualisations will stand a chance to be displayed on Suntec Conference & Exhibition Center’s ‘Big Picture’.



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