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Team CarbonZero

An application to promote sustainable behaviors earned five University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa undergraduate students a second place finish in an international hackathon.

Kobey Arai, Alyssia Chen, William Liang, Yong-Sung Masuda and Gavin Peng from UH Mānoa’s Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) Department created the application for the Meteor Hackathon in late September. The competition challenged teams to implement ideas that were impactful, helpful and realistic. Teams had one week to build an application that could be deployed at the end of the hackathon.

Tentatively titled CarbonZero, the UH team’s gamified application allows users to track and cultivate their sustainability habits by applying theories of social norm and social comparison. The team created a check-in form to calculate users’ sustainability score based on their lifestyle and consumption. Based on this score, users can compare it to other individuals in the application and by neighborhood.

Motivating sustainability tracking

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App homepage

The UH team took home second place and the best presentation award. Their prize included $1,000 in cash. More than 90 international teams competed—some led by businesses or tech executives.

“We know that it can be difficult to find motivation in tracking sustainability, so we created an app which utilizes business and psychology-based research while leveraging the power of information technology. People who want to feel less isolated in their sustainability efforts can benefit most from our app,” the team said.

The students expressed gratitude for the training they received from the dedicated ICS faculty members. They hope to make a positive difference in the world through creating meaningful applications and will continue to improve their winning application for future deployment.

The team also submitted their idea to the 2022 UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge held by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and was selected to compete in the finals in mid-November.

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