About the Challenge

Over the last four decades, the prevalence of billion-dollar disasters has increased by a factor of four. Single natural disasters such as Winter Storm Uri in Texas in 2021 can cost almost US$200 billion.

In North America, physical infrastructure resiliency has become a major issue, affecting almost all industries. In the past four decades, 273 natural disasters costing over a billion dollars of damage hit the United States alone. In recent years, cold snaps and winter storms have become increasingly common. Since 2013, the United States has seen over a billion dollars of insured losses come from winter storms alone. Winter storm damages also directly hamper medical and community services, ranging from nursing homes and dialysis centers to hospitals, and thus destroy homes and entire communities in their wake. These cold snaps and winter storms’ impact is most concentrated in the Great Plains area.

North American physical infrastructure resiliency is a significant issue in several industries from water and electricity distribution to telecommunication and transportation. Thus, disadvantaged populations are often disproportionately impacted by these disasters since they are already susceptible to issues in these areas; a winter storm-induced disruption often leaves such people completely without such necessities.

Get Started

Consider the problem: How can technological solutions improve physical infrastructure challenges caused by winter storms? Please choose from the following focus areas:

  • Utilities distribution, including water and electricity

  • Telecommunication

  • Transportation

  • Healthcare services

  • Emergency facilities


What to Submit

Submissions may take the form of a 3-5 minute video and a link to a slide deck. All code and project files must be committed to Github.


Please include in your submission the names and contact information for team members and also indicate which team members, if any, will be willing to continue if the project is selected by Helpful as a supported project.


Project and Submission Requirements

Scale of the Problem:

The North American continent and making their physical infrastructure more resilient against cold snaps and winter storms. Specifically, teams will be able to choose between improving infrastructure resiliency in energy availability, telecommunications, or transportation.

End Users:

The North American population, mostly in the Great Plains area of the United States. Please focus on solutions that would remain accessible to disadvantaged populations.

Potential Regulatory Challenges:

Regulatory challenges will depend on the solution created.

Certification Requirements:

Please look at potential UL certifications your solution may need. Some such certifications may include Appliance Wiring Material Testing and Certification, Telecommunications Cable Testing.

The solution should be safe for public use.

Hackathon Sponsors


Winners (3)

The winners will have the potential to gain Helpful Engineering Support as they transition to an ongoing project within the Helpful Engineering community with full access to tools and experts.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


David Tse

David Tse
Helpful Engineering

Steven Vuleta

Craig Sharp

Judging Criteria

  • Accessibility
    Should be made from easily/readily available materials and affordable to make
  • Versatility
    Usability in a multitude of situations and in combination with other devices or technologies
  • Reproducibility
    Quality of documentation so that the design and concept can be easily sent to areas in need and improved as needed

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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