Hack2O - WaterStep

Hack2O Water Hackathon 

November 8, 2014



Design water solutions that save lives!


Thinkers, makers, and tinkerers change the world every day. Be a part of the Hack2O Water Hackathon and design water solutions that save lives. This design-build challenge, the first of its kind, will challenge teams to create innovative solutions to the world's greatest problem -- access to safe water. If you've ever dreamed of making an impact with a group of innovative and engineering-minded people then Hack2O is the challenge for you. Bring some friends and get your hack on.  Questions? Learn more.


Enter the Hackathon



The Challenges


About the WaterBall

About the M-100 Chlorine Generator


Examples of the challenges include: 

  • WaterBall brake. Take your best shot at slowing and braking one of our current water transportation devices.
  • Kinetic-powered WaterBall filter. Create a filter to fit inside of the WaterBall that will filter via kinetic energy.
  • Bleach generator. Design a bleach generator using the cylindrical casing for WaterStep's M-100 chlorine generator.
  • Water backpack. Build a water-carrying backpack for a 5 gallon bucket built out of local supplies in the developing world.
  • Hand pump monitor. Design a monitor to connect to a hand pump in the developing world that can send a signal to a cell phone to notify a repairmen when it stops working. 
  • Wild card. What have you been thinking about? Let's throw those ideas on a marker board and we can see what's possible.




Learn More


About the Hackathon


Hack2O will be held November 8 at FirstBuild in Louisville, Kentucky at 333 E. Brandeis Ave. Louisville, KY 40208. The event lasts from 9 AM - 6 PM, with judging from 6 - 7 PM, and an awards ceremony at 7 PM. This design-build competition will give teams specific challenges set by WaterStep and open categories for your own ideas.

Event registration is free, but a donation of $25 is suggested - all gifts will go towards WaterStep to fund water projects around the world.  Materials, snacks, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Students are eligible to compete. Students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Competitors will have nine hours to design, build, and test their creations that will be judged by a panel of esteemed judges from the Louisville, engineering, business, and start-up community. Competing teams have full access to FirstBuild's tools and equipment including: 

  • 3D Printers
  • CNC Routers
  • Laser Cutters
  • Water Jet Cutter
  • Hand and Power Tools

Judges will review the entries and pick winners based on innovation, sustainability, time to market, and cost. Meet the judges.

The judges will also make a recommendation to WaterStep as to which prototype deserves further development. The top three winning teams will receive prizes valued at $600, $400, and $200, respectively. As a participant of Hack2O, you will be kept up to date as to the progress of any projects that come out of Hack2O.



Meet the Judges


Kevin Nolan

Kevin is responsible for helping drive General Electric Appliances business’ growth strategy by integrating technology innovation into product design.  His success in building strong teams and robust processes has played a significant role in the business’ decisions to increase R&D investment, create new lines of business and launch new products.  As a member of the senior leadership team he also plays a key role in commercializing new technologies through new business models and partnerships.

Kevin assumed the Technology VP position in November of 2006. In his 25-year GE career, he progressed through various cross-functional operating roles in GE’s Home and Business Solutions and Industrial businesses.

Throughout his career he has continued to develop new technology with 23 patent awards and has been involved in the design and launch of numerous innovative appliance products.

Kevin grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut as an Honors Scholar with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  After university graduation, he entered the prestigious GE Edison Engineering program. Kevin and his family reside in Louisville, KY.



Kevin Nolan

Ted Smith

Ted Smith was appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer as the Chief of Civic Innovation. Ted’s efforts include the 2012 IBM Smarter City Challenge-winning adoption of Asthmapolis sensor inhalers across Louisville to develop a new understanding of asthma. Ted is an Open Government/Open Data champion and is responsible for efforts to expand the entrepreneurial and innovation economy of Louisville. Ted also serves as Executive Director of a civic innovation laboratory – The Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil. Prior to city government, he was appointed Senior Innovation Advisor in the HHS Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) of Health IT. He founded chronic disease news service MedTrackAlert which was acquired by Health Central in 2008.  He holds a B.S. from Allegheny College and M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Miami University (OH) and a post-doc at MIT. He was a Co-Investigator for the Neurolab shuttle mission. He was named 2013 Government Technology’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.”


Ted Smith

Dr. Mickey Wilhelm

Dr. M. R. Wilhelm is Dean Emeritus of the J. B. Speed School of Engineering and Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Louisville. He has been a faculty member at U of L for 39 years. He received the BSE in Electrical Engineering, and the MSE and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a Fellow of both the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the World Academy of Productivity Sciences. He is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and was Chairman of the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors in 2010. He is an Emeritus Member of both the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors, and of the National Council of Engineering Examiners.

Currently, Dr. Wilhelm is a member of the Board of Directors of ABET, Inc., a member of the Education Committee of the National Council of Engineering Examiners, a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship, a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.



Mickey Wilhelm

Student Water Initiative 1

Meet the Student Water Initiative


One of the teams participating in Hack2O is the Student Water Initiative, a student group from the University of Louisville.  The Student Water Initiative will be collaborating with a group from Costa Rica to develop a safe water solution that is relevant to a specific need in the Costa Rican community.  In addition, because clean water is never free, the team will also develop a business component in their project to ensure the solution will be revenue generating and economically sustainable.  The group from Costa Rica will attend the Hack2O virtually using a mobile robot interface. During the event the two groups will ideate community specific solutions that address both the support and business components of their project. The collaboration will continue after the event, during which time the team will refine the business model and solicit funds. The teams plan to implement the support solution in Costa Rica sometime in 2015.