June 8, 2022
Developing technological solutions for a better world – that is the quest of the Google Solution Challenge, a global annual student competition. As one of only two teams from Germany and four from Europe, a group of students from Jacobs University made it into the world's top 50. In the beginning of the year they had already won the European preliminary round. With their app Lighthouse they want to help track down missing people.
People going missing is a global problem, but especially in the world's crisis regions. According to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, eight million children alone are reported missing every year. Not infrequently, they are victims of crime, abused as labor slaves, for example. But too little is often done to find them. "We are aiming to combat this problem with digital means," said Ainna Zafar, who studies Computer Science at Jacobs University. Together with Muhammad Dorrabb Khan Niazi, Hamza Hayak and Muhammad Hamza Shah Syed, she developed Lighthouse.
The app helps document and locate missing people. Relatives can upload photos and information about the missing person, making the search public. Within the region where the people are missing, the app's users are informed about the search and made aware of it. They can also contact the searching persons themselves. Being among the top 50, Ainna and her team have now received mentorship from Google Developer Experts to improve their app solution and resubmit it for the top prize. The top 10 finalists will compete live during the Solution Challenge Demo Day in July and have to answer questions from the judges. At the end of the day three teams will be announced winners.
Worldwide, 800 projects took part in the Google Solution Challenge; the ideas were to be based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. With Lighthouse, the Jacobs University team already won the Google Europe Ideathon in January, which qualified them for the global finals. The app was developed as part of the Google Developer Student Club at Jacobs University. This association of technology enthusiasts organizes, among other things, tech jams and workshops or invites speakers from Google.
About the Google Developer Student Club:
About the Google Solution Challenge: