Recap | George Hacks Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon

On January 16th George Hacks hosted its Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon. For twenty-four hours, 62 participants worked diligently with their teams to design innovative solutions for their chosen problem statement. After which, each team presented their pitches to a group of judges who determined the winners of the competition! 

Similar to our previous events this year, our Medical Solutions Hackathon was hosted virtually to ensure the safety of all our participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was George Hacks first virtual hackathon and our team worked tirelessly to ensure that we hosted the best event possible for all participants. 

The event began with our Opening Ceremonies starring Tammy Landeen as our keynote speaker. She is an incredible individual that is directly impacted by health innovation in her daily life. Tammy is a U.S. Army Veteran and Quality of Life + Challenger, who unfortunately sustained a severe spinal cord injury in 2002 while horseback riding. This injury left her paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. However, despite the challenges she faced, Tammy lives life to the fullest and continues to work with engineers to come up with innovative solutions to any problems she faces. Following her speech, participants were presented with problem statements from representatives of various healthcare organizations. New this year, the pitches are places in one of three tracks: 

  1. Assistive Technology. Pitches under this track inspire the development of assistive devices and software to aid providers and patients with effective diagnosis and/or rehabilitation.
  2. Telemedicine. Pitches under this track bring awareness to the challenges faced by healthcare providers who wish to shift their medical practice to a remote setting, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Communication. Pitches under this track motivate solutions to facilitate better communication across the local medical community network so that patients can access care and resources in the most efficient way possible.

While working on their designs, participants were able to book consultations with one of 13 amazing mentors who assisted them in their design and business model plan. In addition to our mentors, the George Hacks team also hosted workshops for students to develop new skills relevant to their projects. These workshops included 3D Modeling, Lean Innovation, Signal Processing, an Introduction to Raspberry Pi, How to Pitch Your Idea, and Machine Learning. To accommodate any time zones or technical difficulties that participants may have, all workshops were recorded and available for teams to review later. In addition to our workshops, the team also hosted three fun activity sessions such as baking night, a game night, and origami! 

Tammy Landeen – Keynote Speaker

The next day of the competition was composed of two rounds of judging; a demo round and a pitching round. For the demo round, teams were asked to create a video explaining their design solution to demonstrate their projects and how they came up with a solution for their problem statement. The pitching round, on the other hand, was a live presentation in front of the judges in which teams were able to present their business plans for their solution. The winners of the competition were selected based on their cumulative score from both rounds of judging. 

At the end of the competition, we held our closing ceremony in which the Best Overall, Best Demo, and Best Pitch winners were announced alongside our spot prizes for the AI Implementation and Video Creativity. 

Below are our  winning teams and their project proposals:

  1. Best Overall: Team Creative – Project MedLink
    1. Team members: Mohammad Bappy Chowdhary, Maria Luiza Seixas, Nathan Lu, Debabrata Panigrahi
    2. People who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHoH) experience barriers when accessing healthcare in emergency situations. Their solution to this problem is MedLink, an interactive app that translates ASL to text or speech, and vice versa. This app would allow doctors, surgeons, and any other hospital/company representatives to directly communicate with members of the DHoH community without requiring translators. 
  2. Best Demo: BME Freshies
    1. Team members: Lexi Carmine, Brooke Wilson, and Jackson Lamb
    2. A self-operational, easy to use retinal imaging device that can be adapted to smartphone models for the purposes of remote patient image examinations. More specifically this device would allow patients to capture clear retinal images from home and send it to their physician to examine rather than going to the clinic/hospitals to get them done. 
  3. Best Pitch: Baby Got Hack – TeleRet
    1. Jasmine Barash, Kathryn Jaroszynski, Ban Shoukeir, Yahaira Torres
    2. A professional retina exam consisting of an interactive app paired with an attachable smartphone lens. The patients can use the lense to take images of their eyes from home with their phones. The paired app is used to  ensure that the images taken are of satisfactory quality for a proper examination to be conducted. Additionally the app features patient-doctor video calling.
  4. AI Implementation: Bit Care – ExerciseAI
    1. Amit Patel and Ajay Kumar
    2. Head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy need to perform exercises in order to prevent atrophy in their jaw muscles. ExerciseAI is a mobile app that uses AI technology to guide patients through a set of exercises as well as track their progress. 
  5. Video Creativity: RETiNA
    1. Grantt Meredith and Luisa Ribadeneira
    2. A telehealth visual acuity mobile application that when paired with a headband offers increased easy use for patients to take images of their eyes using their phone. The app would convert the raw image of the patient’s eye and create a focused image with an alignment confirmation and pupil measurements that the doctors and nurses can use to perform the necessary ocular image analysis
Best Overall Team – Team Creative

Lastly, Dean Lach, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences delivered the closing remarks followed by Lex McCusker, the Director of the GW Student Entrepreneurship Program who talked about the New Venture Competition 2021. The New Venture Competition (NVC) is one of the largest collegiate competitions nationwide. With over $500,000 in prizes, students have the opportunity to compete in one of three tracks and jump start their entrepreneurial ideas. We highly encourage all of the hackathon participants that are eligible for this competition to join this amazing opportunity. The deadline to sign up is February 3rd at 1 pm! Even if you didn’t win a prize, submit your idea for a chance to participate in workshop opportunities and collaborate with mentors to polish your design and business model. 

Although the virtual nature of this event brought forth its own set of challenges, it allowed us to expand our reach internationally! This year’s hackathon had participants from around the world. We had participants from Dubai, India, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and Saudia Arabia! 

George Hacks will like to thank all of our event sponsors and partners who helped make this event happen. A special thanks to all of our judges, mentors, and volunteers for their time and support over the course of the weekend. Last, but not least, thank you to our impact-driven participants without whom this event would not have been the success that it was. We hope you continue to support and participate again next year in our Fifth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon.

[collage of all other images from the event]

George Hacks Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon Coming Soon!

In less than two weeks George Hacks will host its fourth annual Medical Solutions Hackathon this January 16th-17th, 2021! Our team has been working tirelessly throughout the last few months in order to make this event even more exciting than our last and we can’t wait to see what innovative projects teams will come up with! Here are a few things to look forward to!

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hackathon will be a fully virtual event hosted on Discord and Zoom. Discord will be organized into several servers with channels for participants to navigate throughout the event. Here participants will get a chance to introduce themselves and meet other participants as well! For those without a team, this would be an opportunity for them to potentially meet their other team members that they would want to work with. 

George Hacks is also honored to have Tammy Landeen as our keynote speaker this year. Tammy is an incredible individual that has overcome many obstacles through her determination and grit. She is an Army Veteran and Quality of Life + Challenger who served as a Tactical Power Generation Specialist in the US Army. Unfortunately, after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in 2002, Tammy was left wheelchair bound. Despite the difficulties she faced, Tammy lives life to the fullest and continues to work with engineers to improve her quality of life everyday. 

In addition to Discord, students will also be able to make introductions  during our pre-hackathon workshops and activities. Led by our George Hacks team members, three workshops and a baking night will be hosted before the hackathon begins. These workshops will be crash courses on a variety of skills, both business and technical, that teams may utilize during the brainstorming and/or pitching stage of the competition. These sessions will be a low stress environment for participants to learn new skills, get to know each other, and ask any questions that they may have. 

During the hackathon, we will also host three other workshops and two more activities for participants to join. For more information on the schedule keep a look out on our Instagram page (@george.hacks) or join our Discord channel! All sessions will be available as recordings to participants to access at any time during the competition. 

New this year, George Hacks is introducing tracks for the first time! Each pitch that we have received has been placed in one of three tracks. Participants will be able to select a track to work on and generate solutions based on the pitches presented within each track! The three tracks are as follows; 

  1. Assistive Technology. Pitches under this track inspire the development of assistive devices and software to aid providers and patients with effective diagnosis and/or rehabilitation.
  2. Telemedicine. Pitches under this track bring awareness to the challenges faced by healthcare providers who wish to shift their medical practice to a remote setting, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Communication. Pitches under this track motivate solutions to facilitate better communication across the local medical community network so that patients can access care and resources in the most efficient way possible.

These are just some of the things our team has worked on the last few months. There are many more surprises in store so be sure to sign up for the hackathon if you haven’t already! Follow our Instagram for updates and check out our FAQ page if you have any questions. 

George Hacks Receives a Donation from the Neilom Foundation

George Hacks is honored to have received a donation from the Neilon Foundation for our team’s collaborative effort during this pandemic. The donation was specifically given for our work in COVID related projects as well as our virtual engagement with our audience to promote our events and projects. 

The Neilom Foundation was founded in 2013 by GW alumnus Davinder Anand, a Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus and Director of the Center of Engineering Concepts Development (CECD) at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Their mission is “To support a new generation of enthusiastic scientists and engineers creating positive social impact using technology.” 

The foundation supports their mission by fostering a community for engineers and scientists alike for the purpose of creating significant social impact. They do this in one of three ways; 

  1. Each year the Neilom Foundation hosts The Fresh Approach using Science and Technology video competition (FAST) for UMD students
  2. Hiring science and engineering Neilom Interns to work on social impact projects 
  3. “Awarding prizes and fellows to recognize and encourage outstanding contributions.”

Since its establishment, the Neilom Foundation has reached over 11,000 people, of which several individuals have been awarded. Among these awardees were George Hacks Former and Current Directors, Caitlyn Pratt and Karen Rius respectively, both of whom were awarded the Neilom Prize for Social Impact for their work during their undergraduate careers. In addition to individuals, the Neilom Foundation has also awarded 40 grants to Nonprofit organizations, George Hacks being one of them. 

Upon this donation George Hacks would like to thank the Neilson Foundation for their support as well as all of our partners, sponsors, GW faculty, and participants without which we would not have been able to develop into the organization we are now. 

George Hacks Kogan Makerweek 2020 Recap

Two weeks ago, George Hacks hosted Kogan Makerweek 2020 (October 11th-17th)! Traditionally held as our Annual Kogan Makerspace on the George Washington University campus, this year’s event mirrored the virtual learning environment that many students were required to adapt to in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even through a fully virtual event, our goal was to provide an interactive platform to inspire impact-driven innovation in our community.

So what did our biggest event of the fall semester look like this year? Over the span of a week, our team connected with students through various digital tools in a series of hands-on activities, interactive workshops, and innovation challenges. Each session of programming was geared towards encouraging students to adopt the entrepreneurial “maker mindset” in a fun, engaging, and low-pressure environment, with numerous opportunities to win prizes!

To kick off our Makerweek, we invited Dr. Poh Shen Loh, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, to chat with us about his experience as a rising social entrepreneur. As founder of innovative learning platform expii.com, Dr. Loh very recently shifted his entrepreneurial focus towards developing NOVID, a COVID-19 application that generates pre-exposure notifications based on contact tracing in social networks. In addition to narrating his story, Dr. Loh generously shared his personal insights and tips for young student entrepreneurs looking to make a change in the world.

After our conversation with Dr. Loh, our event switched gears to bring the makerspace directly to students at home. Through several hands-on activities demoed over Zoom, our team introduced attendees to some of the technical concepts that drive modern innovation, such as basic electronics and energy principles. These follow-along DIY activities included a pen stylus, electric play-doh, a coin battery, a simple motor, a rubber band powered car, and a balloon powered car. Check out some of our student creations from the first day of Kogan Makerweek below!

In each of the subsequent days of Kogan Makerweek, we presented students with a hands-on workshop or innovation challenge. Our three beginner-friendly workshops on 3D modeling, circuits / Arduino, and entrepreneurship each saw fantastic participation from attendees. Featured below are some of the things students were able to make learning a new skill / software for the first time!

In addition to the live sessions, our team was also thrilled to see the creative solutions to the various innovation challenges that we released throughout the week! Showcased here are (left) a makeshift boat constructed from cardboard and duct tape and (right) a custom mailing label for George Hacks!

To wrap up Kogan Makerweek, our team reviewed an outstanding portfolio of student submissions for each of our prize opportunities! Congratulations to the following prize winners:

  • 3D Modeling Workshop Raffle
    • 3D Pen Kit: Yahaira Torres & Jerome Thompson
  • 3D Modeling Workshop Best Design
    • Roku Streaming Stick: Jerome Thompson
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Raffle
    • Belkin Smartphone Charger: Brittany Underwood & Sarah Coloma
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Best Design
    • Arduino Uno Starter Kit: Jerome Thompson
  • Entrepreneurship Workshop Raffle
    • Tile Pro Stickers: Ban Shoukeir & Cordelia Scales
  • Scavenger Hunt Random Drawing
    • $95 Allbirds Digital Gift Card: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #1: Makeshift Boat
    • AboveTEK Laptop Desk: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #2: Address Label
    • Amazon All-New Echo Dot: Sarah Coloma
  • Social Media Trivia Questions
    • $5 Gift Cards: Jillian Adams, Ban Shoukeir, Isaiah Perantes, Sarah Coloma, Cordelia Scales, Gabi Petrillo, and Justina Pruski

Coming soon: Our next big event will be our Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon to be hosted January 23rd-24th, 2021. Be sure to be on the lookout for more information about how we’re planning to adapt our flagship medical hackathon into a virtual event!

GW Students Win Big at MedHacks

Last month, Johns Hopkins University hosted a virtual MedHacks, their annual medical hackathon, on September 4th-6th 2020. This 36-hour design competition brought together participants from around the world to form teams and tackle a project around one of three tracks: Aging in Place with Resilience and Resources, Personalized Medicine Using Data-Driven Healthcare, and Patience Adherence and Quality Care During a Global Pandemic. At the end of the event, competitors had the opportunity to present their innovative solutions on a digital platform.

Two GW senior biomedical engineering students, Faisal Al Munajjed and Sabina Sarinzhipova, participated in the inaugural virtual version of MedHacks. Faisal and Sabina formed a team of 5 by pitching themselves to other MedHacks participants. Their recruits included Azeezah, a senior computer scientist from Connecticut; Sarani, a cyber-security Ph.D. student from Australia; and Dharma, a senior economist from Indonesia. In a completely digital environment, they successfully employed a total of 5 people with various skill sets and opinions.

As a team, they decided to tackle the “Personalized Medicine Using Data-Driven Healthcare” track. Their project took the form of a visual web app designed to support the deaf and hearing-impaired community as well as those with limited digital and English proficiency. This app aims to decrease miscommunication between members of these communities and healthcare professionals using telemedical services. i-Hurt will identify the patient’s pain and interpret its degree using a basic yet effective visual questionnaire. Afterward, a summary of the patient’s symptoms will be sent to their doctor for further assessment.  

The inspiration for this project originated in finding a common skill among their team members in that they knew sign language. Sarani was versed in Australian and New Zealand sign language while Faisal and Sabina were familiar with basic American Sign Language. Additional input from various mentors steered them in the direction of creating an app to improve telemedical communication between patients and doctors. Communicating across time zones, they converged on their final proposal: i-Hurt. Their final video proposal was presented to the judges, subsequently winning second place at MedHacks!

According to Faisal, “It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience. In its entire duration, I learned how to work under pressure, made four wonderful friends, met two great mentors, and became skilled in three new programs. It will be one of the most memorable events of my college life.”

Read his full personal account of his experience participating in MedHacks and how his team developed i-Hurt here!

George Hacks Founder, Konstantin Mitic, Launches COVID Mali

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide and left several communities devastated. In response, numerous organizations and teams have emerged to assist first responders combat the spread of disease. Such groups aim to educate and / or equip communities with the tools to stay safe with guidance on good handwashing techniques, physical distancing, and usage of face masks and other PPE. For developing countries, COVID-19 related risks have been more pronounced due to larger population densities, fewer resources, and lower capacity hospitals. Delivering assistance to those areas has thus been especially challenging.

In Mali, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in late March. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,577. According to UNICEF, over half of the positive COVID-19 cases in the country reside in the capital city, Bamako, prompting the CDC to label the nation as a level 3 (high) risk.

To assist communities in Mali during the pandemic, George Hacks Founder Konstantin Mitic launched COVID Mali. Consisting of “a consortium of skilled professionals in and outside of Bamako working to prevent and slow the transmission of the novel Coronavirus in Mali,” the startup strives to produce and distribute effective PPE to healthcare workers and people of Mali who are vulnerable to the disease. 

Over the last few months, COVID Mali has developed prototypes for several types of personal protection equipment (PPE), such as gowns, face shields, 3D printed reporators equivalent to the N95, touchless thermometers, and reusable masks. Once these prototypes have been confirmed by healthcare professionals as viable products, they will work to scale up manufacturing of the items to supply the masses.

For his efforts in establishing COVID Mali, Konstantin was awarded the COVID-19 Student Action Fund by the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The award seeks to identify and support “select students at universities around the world who are committed to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” providing between $2,000 to $5,000 to each awardee. Although the foundation received more than 1,400 applications, only 38 recipients were selected. Along with other awardees, Konstantin will be invited to participate in the CGI U 2021 program and attend CGI U 2021 annual event at the University of Edinburgh.

Read more about COVID Mali’s impact on their website!

George Hacks Sets Goals for a New Academic Year

Recently, George Hacks has formulated three goals we hope to achieve in the next academic year of 2020-2021. Our objective with these goals is to improve our presence both on and off the GW campus, with both students and partners alike, while promoting an impact-driven, entrepreneurial mindset to healthcare innovation.

Our three goals are as follows:

  1. Integrate a hands-on technology experience for students
  2. Begin an initiative to collect healthcare projects year-round
  3. Increase engagement within GW and in the DC community

So how do we plan to achieve these goals?

  1. New to George Hacks this year is our Technical Team. Our Tech Team will have the capacity to improve the management of technical supplies at our events. For Kogan Makerspace, they will focus on developing activities that allow students of all majors and backgrounds to discover the technical workings of innovation. In addition, we will now be able to provide better support and resources for participants to include beginner-to-intermediate level technical skills to any project at our Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon.
  2. As a way to improve the hackathon experience, we have already created a publicly-available pitch collection form through which our network of professors and partners can submit ideas they would like to see students work on. From this initiative, we hope to be able to provide students with a larger and more diverse collection of healthcare problem statements to choose from that align with their interests and passions.
  3. Lastly, we hope to accomplish our final task of growing our presence within and outside GW by establishing new partnerships and collaborations with local-to-DC schools and nonprofits. Through this, we hope to leave a larger impact on society by empowering a new generation of healthcare innovation changemakers inclusive of all members within our regional community.

These are just three of the overarching goals we developed to guide our work for the upcoming year. However, we’d also love to hear from you! Comment below with suggestions on how George Hacks can further our impact in the community! We hope you all are just as excited as we are to see how these initiatives will improve your experience at our events!

Meet the 2020-2021 Team!

Meet our new team! Recently, we have begun preparing for the fall semester so be sure to stay tuned for everything we have planned for the upcoming year! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest George Hacks news and email us to subscribe to our monthly newsletters!

Lets meet the team!

We are proud to share that amid the coronavirus pandemic, several of our new team members participated in COVID-19 projects to ideate innovative solutions to problems faced by healthcare professionals in our community. If you missed our blog post on COVID-19 projects, read it here and visit out our Projects Page to see how you can get involved!

George Hacks Former and Current Directors, Caitlyn Pratt and Karen Rius, Receive the Neilom Prize for Social Impact

George Hacks is proud to congratulate the GW Class of 2020! Each graduate has worked tirelessly to achieve his or her degree and leave a lasting legacy here at GW. Today and always, we celebrate how their dedication to learning and a passion to make a difference in the world have culminated into one outstanding achievement that foreshadows a promising future for society.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, GW graduates were not able to celebrate their long-awaited commencement ceremony on the National Mall this year. Invited instead to join the 2021 GW Commencement the following year, seniors and graduates were still recognized virtually through a series of videos that aired from May 14th to 17th.

The GW School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) recognized their own seniors in a SEAS Commencement Celebration on May 15th. At the ceremony, faculty members presented awards to recognize students that have made a significant impact on the SEAS community whether academically, socially, or otherwise. Among these awardees were George Hacks Former and Current Directors, Caitlyn Pratt and Karen Rius respectively, both of whom received the Neilom Prize for Social Impact.

The Neilom Foundation was founded in 2013 by GW alumnus Davinder Anand, a Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus and Director of the Center of Engineering Concepts Development (CECD) at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Last year, Professor Anand was inducted into the GW Engineering Hall of Fame for his positive contributions to society, one of which is his own Neilom Foundation established in memory of his son Dilip Anand. The foundation’s mission: “To leverage the transformative power of mentoring and education through awards and grants that recognize, encourage and empower young people to generate and explore meaningful ideas and engage in activities with positive social impact that would lead to a better life.” Thus awards given to students from this foundation are in recognition of those who have made a positive social impact and change.  

This year marks the inaugural appearance of The Neilom Prize for Social Impact Award at GW. According to the Celebration Program for the 2020 SEAS Commencement Celebration, the award “is given to a junior or senior with a clear and articulated interest in the application of engineering to a particular area of social change.” With Caitlyn and Karen both actively involved in aiding SEAS’s response to the influx of COVID-19 related projects received by the school, we cannot think of any two individuals more deserving. We are proud of their dedication to these initiatives and their commitment to bestowing a positive social impact on the DC community even during this challenging time.

At the end of yet another academic year, George Hacks would like to close by thanking all the students that participated in Kogan Makerspace and our annual Medical Solutions Hackathon. We are also thankful to each of our partners, sponsors, and GW faculty for their continued support of our mission to promote an impact-driven healthcare innovation at GW. It is most certainly because of everyone’s support that George Hacks is the student organization it is today.

George Hacks Responds to COVID-19 Needs

During the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19, many organizations across the GW campus have assumed a role to help the local DC community combat the crisis. Several interdisciplinary groups have teamed up with first responders to ideate innovative solutions ranging from 3D printing PPE to designing informative websites. Surpassing the ambition of these initiatives is the ability for project teams to collaboratively create these impactful designs with limited in-person contact. Some of these teams, in fact, have never met in person. 

Several GW students and faculty have been actively working on fabricating 3D printed masks and face shields for medical personnel. This project emerged as a response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that numerous health care facilities across the nation have been facing. As more people test positive in recent months, the demand for PPE has significantly increased across hospitals across the world. When the GW Hospital experienced such a shortage, members from the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), GW Hospital, GW Innovation Center (GWIC), George Hacks, and others pooled resources to work on addressing the need. Leading the 3D printing farm is Mr. Huckenpahler, a digital lab professor from the GW Corcoran School of Art and Design, who along with his team was able to  “produce 200 face shields for GW Hospital staff in just under a week” according to an article by GW Today. This monumental task was achieved by twelve 3D printers provided by the GW Corcoran School of the Arts & Design along with an additional six owned by George Hacks and GWIC.  

The same article mentions two other projects that students and faculty are working on to assist first responders. One of these projects is the production of N95 comparable respirators with “removable and replaceable units, some of which can be sanitized and reused unlike most N95 respirators.” This design was approved by the hospital’s own quality tests and is now being standardized, scaled to different sizes, and manufactured in bulk.

Another team of students and faculty led by David Lee and Carl Wick, former SEAS professors, is developing a touch-less hospital screening system. Their kiosk design provides a foot-pedal answering system for pre-screening questionnaires and allows one’s temperature to be measured from a distance, appropriately sending staff to the correct waiting areas. Doing so facilitates separation between people with and without fevers in order to vet those who are most likely to test positive for COVID-19.

Team members on this project include George Hacks Co-Founders, Konstantin Mitic and Caitlyn Pratt; former Technical Director, Matt Taylor; and George Hacks Director Karen Rius. With most of the GW campus closed down to the public, Matt transported the project to his apartment located only a few blocks from the GW Hospital. There he created a full workshop in his lounge, allowing him to seamlessly continue contributing to the kiosk project. His proximity to the hospital also provided Matt the convenience to test the kiosk on volunteers in person. Hence, he was able to observe and fix calibration errors in the thermometer before finalizing the systems. 

Aside from the shortage of PPE and lack of contact-free hospital screening methods, another issue that has drastically impacted the work environment of all medical professionals is the lack of a single compilation of latest COVID-19 medical and public health information relevant to their roles as first responders. In response to this need, Jordan Selzer of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Lance Hoffman, a GW computer science professor, recruited a group of SEAS and George Hacks students to design a website named Disaster Consult. According to another GW Today article, this website aims to “give care providers quick, digestible information about best practices in the face of various emergencies,” which is especially valuable for small medical facilities in rural areas at risk of being flooded with numerous patients in a short time. As these types of hospitals typically lack a trauma center, staff with specialized disaster training, and a protocol for dealing with large numbers of patients,  it is imperative they have access to reliable updates on the evolving pandemic without having to digest lengthy academic papers.

After the website design had been finalized, more than 50 third and fourth year medical student volunteers, who were unable to conduct their usual hospital rounds due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic, redirected their time towards compiling the content for the website. The tremendous assistance provided by these students allowed the website to be fully functional in under a month. Of course, the website is constantly undergoing development and improvement. Possible translation to a mobile application is expected.

George Hacks is proud to continue supporting the GW community in its endeavors to combat COVID-19. To get involved in some of these initiatives, visit the ‘Projects’ page of our website, or feel free to contact us with questions.