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'Hack2o' Invites Innovators to Tackle Clean Water Technology

An event next weekend asks Louisville-area hackers and tinkerers to turn their energy toward clean water innovations.

Hack2o” is a partnership between people at two local organizations: the designers and engineers at FirstBuildand the clean water advocates at non-profit WaterStep. WaterStep CEO Mark Hogg said the all-day event on November 8 will bring together innovators to try to “hack” existing water technology and imagine new solutions to problems.

“The Hack2o event is about bringing together folks that have a passion to impact the world, but also have this passion that a lot of us have to tinker and putter and create and imagine and make and put things together and tear things apart,” Hogg said.

Hogg said the hope is Hack2o will generate ideas that can be put into practice. One idea he thinks it ripe for hacking is the Waterball—an innovation that helps people in developing countries transport water. Rather than someone filling a vessel and balancing it on her head, the Waterball holds up to three times more water and is pushed, like a vacuum cleaner.

“Well now, what we’re wondering is can we use the kinetic energy of the Waterball to filter the water that’s in the ball,” Hogg said. “Now, I don’t know how to do that, but I tell you, if we put some folks to the task, they may have some ideas around that, and we’ll be able to play with that and maybe get that idea to a next level.”

Hack2o is free, but a donation to WaterStep is suggested. It’s a competition, and the top three places will receive prizes valued at $600, $400, and $200, respectively. For more information or to sign up, click here.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.