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Holly Miller 17th Apr 2019

AuraQ wins Mendix World Hackathon!

The AuraQ team is extremely proud to have won MxHacks, the Mendix World Hackathon which took place in Rotterdam on April 15th! Kicking off Mendix World 2019, 32 teams and over 120 people were competing in what was described as “the largest low-code hackathon in the world”.  Starting at 8.00 am on Monday 15th April, teams from all over the world had exactly 24 hours to build an entirely new app from scratch. Hackathon teams were allowed to build anything that fit the theme of innovation, however Mendix also suggested a use case of “solving challenges faced by refugees”. The AuraQ team found the suggested use case inspiring and came up with the concept of a mobile app to empower refugees by providing them with a secured digital identity. 

The team set the bar high from the beginning and set about incorporating technical features such as face recognition, voice authentication and speech to text within the app. After 24 hours the app, named Peregrine, was presented to the judging panel who assessed each team’s solution on a technical level, its design and user experience, its completion and viability and overall elevator pitch. Concluding the first day of Mendix World on the main stage, AuraQ was announced as the winners and presented with prizes from Johan den Haan, CTO at Mendix. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of our team of four who worked tirelessly over the course of the the hackathon!

The App – Peregrine – Identity Beyond Borders

We take for granted the ability to prove one’s identity whenever needed. However, according to the UNHCR (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees) “One billion people lack identity papers. In our modern world this excludes them from services and socio-economic participation. It limits access, for example, to work, housing, a mobile phone and a bank account”. Refugees and migrants are particularly affected by this. Away from their home state and often without a way to verify their identify, refugees cannot access financial services, cannot prove their education and experience credentials, demonstrate their criminal history (or absence of), retrieve their health history, or even simply look for their missing loved ones. 

Our app Peregrine addresses this challenge by offering:

  • A secured digital space – refugees can build their digital identify by uploading their biometrics details, personal information, contact details, etc. 
  • Full control of data – an essential requirement for Peregrine was that the refugee would keep control of their data. All user data has to be encrypted, so that even if it is leaked, or subpoenaed by a government, nothing can be done with it. Only when a refugee logs in can they de-crypt their data.
  • Proof of identity – refugees can use the platform to prove their identity when, and only when, they need it. This is a tool to empower them, and cannot be used to persecute or track them. 
  • Authentication – guaranteed by multiple factors, including password and voice authentication for more state of the art security.

Finding each other

Being Found: One of Peregrine’s main features is the ability to search for each other. Too often, refugees get separated from their friends and family at some point in their journey. This is a well documented tragedy that happens sadly every day. The UNHCR and the International Red Cross have made it one of their priorities to help refugees be reunited. This usually involves lengthy questionnaires and manual crossing of data between countries and organisations. 

Peregrine proposes to use the power of big data to match people with each other. In order to be searchable effectively in the database, refugees can maintain:

  • Their basic information and contact details.
  • A geographical timeline: showing on a map when and where they have travelled. This data can be used for rich search, so that one can use the network to find their missing ones directly, or others that might have crossed path with them at some point in time and could provide information.
  • Stories: a voice-to-text engine is provided for users to record their stories. Stories can then be used for rich search based on key element of their life story itself.

Finding Others: A search for a missing person can also be done through images, using face recognition technology.

  • If a match is found, the person search is not notified immediately. To preserve privacy, the search is done backwards: once a refugee logs in, they can run their profile against pending searches. If there is a match, they can accept or reject the match. 
  • Users can share as little or as much detail as they want with each other.
  • Once in contact, users can use the chat function to exchange information.

Once in contact, users can send remittances to each other. This can be a vital economic lifeline for refugees.


We are thrilled to have won MXHacks but Peregrine has the opportunity to be taken much further. Now that a prototype is built, we can start to imagine many different ways that a digital identity can empower refugees. If you would like to know more about Peregrine or about MXHacks, please get in touch.

Mendix Maker Spotlight

Watch Mendix Hackathon winners, AuraQ, discuss the Peregrine app they built for refugees to restore and maintain their digital identities and credentials while they are displaced. The app provides digital information upkeep, access to microfinancing, co-refugee networking, and even taps into facial recognition, among other technologies, to help them locate and connect with potential family members or other lost points of contact.

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