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]


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