Code & Response

the film

All proceeds are donated to first responders

The International New York Film Festival

winner best documentary

Southeast Regional Film Festival

gold award-best feature

The Napa Valley Film Festival

The North Beach American Film Festival

winner founders award

New Haven International Film Festival

Golden Door International Film Festival


2018 was one of the worst years on record for natural disasters—taxing governments, straining relief organizations and overwhelming communities as they attempt to rebuild. In the wake of these global catastrophes, a new type of responder emerges: the coder.

Subalekha Udayasankar

After the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City, Subalekha Udayasankar was determined to help protect her community.

Subalekha works at the intersection of technology, empathy and play. With a background in computer science, design and engineering, she enjoys the act of breaking down complex problems into digestible bits to bridge the gap between technology and humanity. She is a frequent contributor to initiatives related to AI, ethics and society.

She teamed up with a group of engineers from around the world to create Project Lantern, a combined hardware and software solution that helps people stay connected when normal connections are down.

The solution works by distributing a series of 3D-printed devices called lanterns across the city. The lanterns sync to the cloud when an Internet connection is available and store data locally when it is not. All of the lanterns then connect with each other to create a local, offline mesh network. This enables connectivity and communication during disaster scenarios.

Pedro Cruz

When Pedro Cruz couldn’t communicate with his grandmother during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, he had the idea to use his drone to make sure she was safe. This was the beginning of DroneAid.

Pedro is a self-taught developer with a passion for creating educational virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) apps and working on AI for Good. On weekends, he organizes workshops and hackathons for audiences ranging from K–12 students to professional developers.

DroneAid is an aerial scout for first responders that uses drones and AI image recognition technology to detect SOS messages in natural disasters. DroneAid works to ensure faster and more efficient aid to those in need.

After participating in the film and IBM’s Code & Response deployment initiative, Pedro was enlisted by IBM to be a developer advocate dedicated to helping others accelerate cutting edge, open technologies.


In the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, people were left without running water for up to three months. For WOTA, a team of coders and engineers based in Tokyo, this was a challenge that should not go unanswered.

The WOTA team come from diverse backgrounds such as medicine, architecture, software integration, aviation and data analytics. They have combined these skills to create new experiences and technologies that benefit mankind.

WOTA has declared “Water freedom for everyone, everywhere” as a mission, and has provided the AI water circulation system “WOTA BOX” as a proposal for a new water infrastructure. The solution is a compact, inexpensive water sensor module that uses Internet of Things (IoT) technology to measure properties such as water quality, flow and pressure. The system can recover and recycle more than 95 percent wastewater from a shower. WOTA showers are also portable and can be set up at shelters with a single tank of water.

All of this makes it easier for communities to provide disaster victims with access to clean water and help reduce health risks during in the aftermath of a natural disaster or other catastrophe.

Kenji Kato

In the summer of 2014, fire surrounded Kenji Kato’s hometown and became the largest single wildfire in Washington history. He knew he wanted to do something to help his community. So Kenji did what he does best: he got on his computer and started tinkering.

His work with NASA and entrepreneurial background has given him a deep understanding and holistic perspective on developing technological solutions that solve human problems. An avid hackathon participant, Kenji uses these events to experiment with new technologies and discover opportunities to contribute to the social good.

After speaking with local first responders in the San Francisco area, he found a chance to apply his skills to develop an application to help both first responders and local communities who are tracking active fires.

Wildfire Report takes publicly available geographic data from NASA, NOAA and the Forest Service and applies it to fly-through videos of impacted areas that make the fire’s path and speed easy to understand. More importantly it has the ability to transform the way firefighters do their jobs and revolutionize the way people navigate in life-or-death scenarios.

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