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Hack Your Body Clock

A project to generate ideas from the public about helping people to keep their body clocks in good health.

Hack Your Body Clock session with junior hackers.The Centre for Biological Timing and the Public Programmes Team partnered with HackManchester (a community interest company) to raise public awareness of the Centre's research, make connections with Manchester's digital community and explore how technology could link with biotiming research. 

The Hack Your Body Clock challenge was first set at the Manchester Science Festival in October 2018 where junior (8-17 years old) and adult hackers were tasked with the following:

Our internal body clock is key to our health. Working late at night, doing night shifts and constantly changing shift patterns can put our body clock out of sync. How could we bring our prehistoric body clocks into the 21st century with our 24-hour always-on technology and find ways for modern life to adapt and keep people healthy?

Researchers from the Centre presented the challenges to teams, highlighting their main areas of research in the process. A group of researchers were also on hand to advise and answer questions from the hackers while developed their ideas. Researchers worked with the Public Programmes Team to run reaction tests and experiments for the hackers to take part in throughout the event while another researcher was on the judging panel.

The junior winning team created an app and Amazon Alexa add-on that used sleep data from different people of different ages to analyse the best time to go to sleep. The app would also set personalised alarms to notify the user of when they should stop using any electronic devices. The adult winning team made an app that helped people to better manage jet lag and changing shift patterns.

Project members

  • Prof David Ray (School of Medical Sciences)
  • Prof Andrew Loudon (School of Medical Sciences)
  • David Bechtold (School of Medical Sciences)
  • QingJun Meng (School of Biological Sciences)
  • Julie Gibbs (School of Medical Sciences)
  • Magnus Rattray (School of Health Sciences)
  • Public Programmes Team

This project was funded through the Established Engagement stream of the University of Manchester ISSF Public Engagement Fund.

  • Learn more about and apply for the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF): Public engagement funding scheme calls.