Young Rewired State showdown

There’s nothing like a bit of last-minute chaos to calm a presenter’s nerves. And what with the flooding, the inevitable wifi complications and the delay in starting, I am surprised to see that our teams of 15, 16 and 17 year-olds are taking this all in their stride. It’s day six, the main event, of Young Rewired State 2012. We brought two teams from Shoreditch Works in London to Birmingham’s Custard Factory yesterday afternoon. Since then, there has been pizza, coca cola, coding, practicing presentations, planning, polishing and maybe a little bit of sleep. Fingers crossed, lights out, here we go…


Manchester’s MadLab are up first. The presentations are meant to be 3 minutes with 3 minutes Q&A. Apparently, Tina the compere is going to be a dragon about timing.

Who’s scraping medals? – a newly written scraper for country-by-country display of Olympic medals. Also, a Kinect hack to scan your body proportions and compare you to Olympic athletes! Strong message to Microsoft to improve their Kinect API.

Youtilities – – a local search engine for commonly-needed public utilities like toilets and payphones. Visitors can add their own suggestions.

Social Games – visualisation tool for IRC, with sentiment analysis. Also, a version of MineSweeper using Twitter followers as nodes and mines. Next, Olly talking about anti-social Twitter – a sort of Sensible Software zombie-killing game where the zombies are your Twitter followers. Much hilarity.


News Recommender – Joseph presenting – helps you see news that matches your interests. Grabs a bunch of RSS feeds, then you rate the items, and the system works out what you are into. Nifty tag cloud viz of the words you are interested in. That’s nice, good to see your behaviour analysed and reflected. Maggie Philbin asked why do it when other apps do it – “I thought I could do it better”. Impressive for a 1-man team. Also outputs an API of your recommendations.

Manchester Image Archive – Jack loves history. Wanted to do a “before and after” of the Manchester Image Archives, but found the old images lacked location info. So he wrote a program to extract street names from the photos. Uses Google Street View to find a view matching the old photo. Has a social rating system for the quality of the location matches. The output of lots of people using this could be an archive of 80k old photos with perfect location metadata. Very impressive app with obvious and powerful consequences, as well as an interesting new model for crowdsourcing improvements to archives.

LobbyMatic – – getting young people involved in politics – lets you write to your MPs about bills and search for bills you are interested in. Two person team, 18 year-olds.

Danger Chorus – 3 people team – to raise awareness of endangered species by creating a sonic representation of how much peril the species are in, and providing information about the animals. Data from the ZSL London Zoo, WikiMedia, Google Maps. Whacky. Audio is definitely an under-used medium for communicating information. The audio was done in JavaScript, which is pretty cool.

TV Reminder – solving the problem of missing shows on TV you didn’t realise were on. Scrapes the Sky listings and sends you a SMS to alert you. Helps you find shows by aggregating all channels into a single list. A simple idea to solve an annoying problem. Strikes me that Sky and its competitors would please a lot of people by adding SMS alerts!

Wood Street Mission – Amy, 13, presenting – iPad app to raise awareness of child poverty in Manchester by letting you compare your own area’s child poverty stats with Manchester’s and encouraging you to donate if your area is better. If you want to donate items rather than money, there is a form to fill in to tell the Wood Street Mission about it. This was made as a mobile app because the charity already has a website. Apparently, the charity are hard to get in touch with to book a slot for dropping of donations, so this has genuine utility. Pretty smart for a 13-yr old!


Bump-o-matic – 5 person team – starts with pretty cinematic intro and demo video. It’s an Android app to detect potholes in a road when you are cycling and posts the location of the pothole to the web. In the Google Play store already. That was a frickin cool presentation. But does the app actually work?? Reality check: the 3-minute video took 5 hours to make and was most awesome. Video editing industry – watch out.

Project Space – I missed most of this as I was helping set up for our presentations, but a group of about 5 seven to ten year-olds took to the stage and got a hugely warm reception. Including this.

Shoreditch Works

(I am totally biased towards this centre, so apologies for any unfair coverage. Well, not really, they were both awesome and had very polished presentations.)

Streets of London – a strategy game set in a fictionalised London where politics has gone crazy and the only sane borough is yours, and you are the governor. You can change taxation and spending policy to raise money and/or happiness and then try to take over other boroughs with election campaigns.

Why Waste A Vote? – engaging young people with politics by providing basic information about politics and connecting them with their local MP. Shows bills in Parliament and lets you vote them up and down, as well as plenty of opportunities to tweet and share your opinions.

YRS Norwich

Rewired Olympics – – a digital Olympics card game

Humap – Solving the problem of satnav’s giving you directions humans can’t understand because we don’t know all the road numbers or names. They tried to add landmarks into the directions to make them more understandable. Very cool idea. Data from CultureGrid and other point of interest data from satnav’s, and Google Places.


Kivu – – an app to find where your friends are and find points of interest around you. They had thought through the privacy problems of taking people’s location data. Their approach is to only store it for 30 minutes or until you log out. They had Kivu t-shirts!

University of Edinburgh

Fringe Dodger – two-person team – helps you avoid Edinburgh Fringe Festival crowds by showing you a heatmap based on the capacity of venues and the start and end times of the festival shows. They found the Fringe API hard to work with because they needed to supply a proof of concept before they would be granted access to the data. Which is a bit chicken and egg.

Song Magic – two-person team – a Spotify app plus a barcode scanner to let you scan CDs while you’re out and have them appear in your Spotify inbox. Genius.

Innovation Martlesham

Outrunners – a cops ‘n’ robbers game using crime data to set the difficulty. Written on top of Unity, an engine for 3D video games. Team of three ten(ish) year-olds.

Restaurant Locator – one young chap presenting, three in the group – helps you find restaurants with available tables. Used an animated demo. He showed wireframe designs for the website and a basic site. Great idea though.


Crime Viewer UK – – two guys – mobile web app to show you crime statistics near your location. They talked about their process – they used Kanban-style development using cards.


That’s your lot! More coming after lunch, when it’s the finals. Circa 1 hour from now.