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Vitality Hackaton

On the 17th and 18th of January, the ‘Vitality Academy’ organized a hackathon about vitality in the society. The Vitality Academy is the expression of the cooperation between Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Utrecht University (UU) and the University Medical Center Utrecht.

The Vitality Academy aims to develop and disseminate knowledge about vitality. During the hackathon, PhD researchers from TU/ e and UU work together to come up with new and smart solutions for vitality issues of the Royal Dutch Football Association (abbreviated as KNVB) and the municipality of Eindhoven.

The KNVB and the municipality of Eindhoven as ‘clients’

Recent research from the Mulier Institute has indicated that young people are less active in sports and exercise and that they are increasingly involved in, among other things, playing computer and video games (gaming).

The KNVB asked the PhD researchers that participated in the hackathon, to what extent intrinsic characteristics of gaming can be used to stimulate young people to be more active in sports and exercise.

The issue of the municipality of Eindhoven was about sports and exercise in Doornakkers. Doornakkers is a neighborhood in Eindhoven. Residents of Doornakkers are relatively less active in sports and exercise. The municipality of Eindhoven asked the PhD researchers how the public spaces can be improved to encourage resident to be more active in sports in exercise.

A diverse program

A total of five ‘hacking sessions’ took place during the hackathon; three on the first day and two on the second day. During these sessions, the PhD researchers worked on analyzing and solving the issues. Between the sessions, the researchers were inspired by short lectures about vitality in the society.

The second day of the hackathon was kicked off with ‘pitches’, in which the researchers presented their intermediate outcomes to the KNVB and the municipality of Eindhoven.

The pitches were the prelude to the closing symposium.

The closing symposium

The teams presented their final ideas to a professional jury that consisted of experts from science and practice. In the jury’s opinion, the solution of the issue of the municipality of Eindhoven was the most innovative.

Luminous bicycle and pedestrian paths should activate residents of Doornakkers to be more active in sports and exercise.

The team that focused on the question of the KNVB found that there are three characteristics that make playing video and computer games attractive: it’s relatively easy to switch teams, they give immediate satisfaction and they can be played always and everywhere without obligations.

On the basis of these characteristics, the team developed a football form that is flexible in terms of the composition of teams, time and costs.

During the hackathon, realistic and scientifically based solutions were devised. In short, the hackathon was a useful interplay between science and practice.

Questions about the hackathon can be addressed to: