Detroit gets techie with a Maker Faire hackathon

Maybe tech is one of the answers to bankruptcy? Motor City hosts a daylong hackathon geared toward encouraging developers and designers to create new apps.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Detroit, once known as the hotbed of auto manufacturing and the epicenter of soul music, is now the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy. But, some innovators are working to show that the city could find new livelihood in technology.

The city will be hosting a Maker Faire hackathon on July 27 and 28 sponsored by technology performance company Compuware. During the hackathon, 25 teams will compete to create new apps with information from The Henry Ford digital collection, which has artifacts from 300 years of American history. The idea is to encourage developers and designers to come up with new innovations.

"A hackathon is a great reflection of the 'maker' spirit and we are proud to bring the event to Maker Faire Detroit this year," Compuware Professional Services vice president Bob Kennedy said in a statement. "The goal of Maker Faire is to encourage participants to think outside the box and create solutions that can change the world."

Maker Faire has been going on for eight years in cities across the globe. Detroit has hosted the event before to showcase innovations in technology, art, science, and engineering, but this is the first year for the city to have a hackathon.

Even though Detroit has been on a financial downhill slide for years, it was still surprising when the city announced it was filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Thursday. With nicknames such as Motor City and Motown, Detroit was once known for its prosperity. Throughout the years, as car companies left the city, Detroit slipped into massive debt with high crime and unemployment. Now, the city holds $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.

Maybe technology could be one of the ways to help the city get back on its feet.

"We look forward to seeing the innovation and creativity that stems from the talented teams and their applications," The Henry Ford executive vice president Christian Overland said in a statement. "Creativity, ingenuity and The Henry Ford experience are core to Maker Faire Detroit and inspire the innovation we are seeing in mobile and digital technologies today."