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Breathable Sydney Hack

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Bldg. 25, 4-12 Buckland St

Chippendale, NSW 2008


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Refunds up to 1 day before event

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Breathable Sydney Hack: the 24-hour challenge for a cleaner air in Sydney

The more cars on the road the more tiny particles that enter the air we breathe. These particles are having a severe impact on people's health.

These particles are known as PM 2.5. According to the World Health Organisation, there is no safe exposure to PM 2.5. In NSW, there is nothing to measure how exposed people are to PM 2.5 and other dangerous air pollutants at a human level along busy traffic corridors, congested routes or near busy streets.

What if...

Ordinary citizens all over Sydney were equipped with small devices all over Sydney to grow our understanding of air pollution?

  • We could better identify patterns.
  • We could better manage the most vulnerable in our community.
  • We could protect popular walkways, schools and old folks homes through good design and planning.
  • We would save millions of dollars in public money on health care outcomes.

We’d significantly contribute to the growing layers of data that helps decision-makers and communities ensure that Sydney remains one of the most liveable cities in the world.

So, in collaboration with the office of the Deputy Lord Mayor, we are hosting a Hackathon to unearth a brilliant way to harness new technology to ensure that metropolitan Sydney is healthy and liveable.

It’s also a great opportunity for a whip-smart team to create a brand new smart city business.

How it works

  1. Inspiration: We'll kick off with a couple talks and present the hackathon challenges.

  2. Team forming: You can register as a team if you want, but if you're missing a team member or registering as an individual then we'll help you find teammates.

  3. Ideation: Once teams are formed the brainstorming begins! Come up with a bunch of ideas and pick the one you want to work on for the rest of the hackathon.

  4. Developing: We'll leave lots of time for you to develop your ideas, build a prototype if possible, and prepare your presentation.

  5. Presenting: Each team will present to a panel of judges, who will pick the winning teams.

  6. Celebrating: Unwind and celebrate what you've achieved in less than 24hrs over a drink and something to eat.


1) How can we collect and collate air quality at a human scale?


  • What are the available 'smart city' technologies?
  • How is the data managed and aggregated?
  • Who would potentially buy this data, why?
  • What communities can you most benefit from this technology?
  • How can we compare this data against what is currently provided?
  • How rigorous are the new technologies?
  • Who collects it, and what motivates them to do so?
  • How does the data collected affect daily decision-making?

2) How can we rapidly deploy the technology in a useful and dispersed way?


  • Who would have most cause concern about air quality? Where do they live? What do they do?
  • Do they pay for the technology? Or are they paid to use the technology?
  • What kind of decision-makers would pay to see and use this data?
  • How would an air pollution data set interact with other city indicators - think water, heat, transport mapping etc.
  • How might you use different networks and groups of people to disseminate the technology to people who would most benefit from it?

For a head start, check out:

Key groups to consider for both challenges

  • People who would wear and read the data in real time:

Runners, cyclists, commuters, School children/parents, P&C, health sector, GPs, site managers, emergency response workers, firefighters.

  • People who would interpret the data en masse:

Planners, architects, transport agencies, builders, home renovators, town planners, developers, local government, state government, insurance companies, companies that already use data and infographics as planning tools.


3 August (5:30 PM - 9:30 PM) Hackathon start: presentation of the challenges, team formation, dinner and start hacking!

4 August (8 AM - 5PM) Hackathon with access to mentors, breakfast and lunch are included

4 August (5 PM - 7PM) Pitch your solution and celebrate with networking drinks!

You'll need to bring a laptop and fresh ideas. We'll handle all meals and snacks.

Who should participate? Students, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, hackers, professionals, and anyone else interested in energy startups. You can register as an individual or as a team.

Frequently asks questions (FAQs)

How many people are allowed in a team?

Teams must contain 2, 3 or 4 people. Teams with 5 or more people in them must break into two or more smaller teams. Individuals can't compete but we will help you find at least one other person to form a team with (see below).

I already have teammates, can I just participate with them?

Yes! As long as you have at least one other person on your team (and your team doesn't have more than four people in it).

I don't know anyone else attending, how will I form a team?

We have your back! We have built in a number of ways for you to meet other people in the same boat and will help you form a team with people you want to spend Saturday with. During the presentations, everyone will introduce themselves so you know who else is looking for team members. During dinner, the organiser will help match individuals together and make sure no one is left out. If you have any questions or concerns please send an email to

Can I still participate if I don't have an idea?

You can! We'll help your team find something interesting to work on.

Do I own my idea?

All the IP is and stays yours!

Is the Hackathon going on during the whole night?

We'll be closing the doors at 21:30 on Friday night and re-open them at 8:00 on the following day to make sure you get some rest!

I have another question, who can I talk to?

Send Sarah an email to

Judges and Mentors

During the event you'll get to hear from:

The complete list of judges and mentors will be announced soon.


3 months hotdesking membership at EnergyLab

More prizes will be announced soon

Our sponsor and partners

This event is made possible thanks to our sponsor Climate KIC Australia.

We'd also like to thank our partner Hackathon Australia for their support

Volunteers needed

If you don't want to participate, but still want to be involved, we'd love some people to help out on the day.

We'll need volunteers for the 3/08 and 4/08.

Please email Sarah at if you're interested.

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Bldg. 25, 4-12 Buckland St

Chippendale, NSW 2008


View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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