Geek for Good Open Design Challenge


China’s first ever UN-led open design challenge, "Geek for Good" provides a platform to galvanize citizen engagement and inspire people to find tech-based innovative solutions for some of the toughest development challenges in China.

Supported by technology giant Baidu, the goal of this challenge is to encourage people across the country to utilize design thinking and innovative concepts such as reverse engineering to designing, adapting and prototyping public services. Chinese individuals or teams with a passion for tech-based solutions were invited to submit a proposal to tackle development challenges in China on the official website ( by March 10, 2017. Specifically, solutions were required to utilize new technologies and provide innovative plans to address challenges in four focus areas: poverty, transport, disaster management and environment.

The Results

UNDP-CH-G4G-FirstsmallSign Out Loud won both First Prize and the Popular Prize, for their device that converts sign-language hand signals into a phone type input.


The first Geek for Good Open Design Challenge has concluded, with one final winning team selected from the 10 finalists who showcased their innovative tech solutions. A breakdown of the final prizes can be found below:

First Prize: Sign Out Loud (Also won Popular Prize)

Second Prize: EduRoam, Harvest Genius, Wall-E 

Thid Prize: Arachnobot, Better Air for Better Life, I Can Sea You, RUSleepy, Shared Park, Smart Med

Geek for Good Open Design Challenge

China’s first ever UN-led open design challenge, "Geek for Good" provides a platform to galvanize citizen engagement and inspire people to find tech-based innovative solutions for some of the toughest development challenges in China



The prize challenge was launched on December 29, 2016 and after the first round collection we had recieved a total of 2075 proposals. Of these, over 100 proposals were selected by a judge panel to enter the second phase of the competition. Shortlisted teams after this round will present their technical proposals at a "Responsible Innovation Challenge" on April 25, 2017.

Our Finalists

Through a long selection process, 10 final teams were selected from over 2000 proposals to compete for the final prize at the Geek for Good Competition to take place on April 25th 2017. Final winners will be awarded seed funding and certification recognition from UNDP and Baidu, providing a platform for them to translate their ideas into concrete actions. The final teams are listed below:

  • Arachnobot: A giant intelligent, multifunctional six legged robot which can be applied to early-stage recovery in a disaster situation.
  • Better air for better life: A new system that uses graphite air sterilization and purification methods to provide clean, breathable air.
  • EduRoam: An app for improving public education and building capacity for education sharing between cities and rural area. It targets delivering better services to those who lack access to education.
  • Harvest Genius: A platform for improving farmers' knowledge of and recognition of fertilization technologies.
  • I Can Sea You!: A system using augmented reality technology to strengthen marine disaster prevention methods, increase public awareness and education on marine issues.
  • RUSleepy: A device for identifying signs of fatigue in drivers, using new models and picture recognition technology.
  • Shared Park: An app for sharing information to locate a free parking zone. 
  • Sign Out Loud: A device for converting sign-language hand signals into a phone type input. The system has already been piloted with people with hearing difficulties
  • Smart Med: A device for early screening medical issues, which can identify lung cancer in its early stages to save lives and reduce financial burden.
  • TRASH.IO + WALL-E: A garbage bin labelling and automatic garbage identification system

Our Judges

  • Agi Veres, Country Director, UNDP China
  • Fabio Duarte, Research Lead of MIT Sensable City Lab
  • Kathleen Walsh, Deputy director, Gates foundation in China Office
  • Lin Yuanqing, Head of Baidu research
  • Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative
  • Xiong Jun, Founder and President, Wanrong Times Capital Management
  • Yang Siquan, Deputy director and chief engineer of the National Disaster Reduction Center of the Ministry of Civil Affairs
  • Yoav Shoham, Professor in Stanford University, Google Principle Scientist
  • Ying Sheng, International Society of urban and regional planners (ISOCARP), Chinese director, Urban Planning Institute, Tongji University, British Royal registered planner
  • Zhou Qi, Managing Director of GSR United Capitals

Competition Details

At the "Responsible Innovation Final Competition", creative ideas from shortlisted candidates to combine innovation and development will be showcased! 10 finalists will pitch their proposals to both a judge panel and an audience of 200 people. After each team's presentation, judges will comment and score. When all teams have finished their pitches, the judge panel will discuss backstage, and at the same time a panel discussion on Technology Innovation for Development will take place on the stage.


14:00-16:30, April 25th


798 Arts Park, Beijing China

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