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Team "Hiplant" presents a demonstration of their product, an implant to prevent hip fractures, built in 24 hours at the first annual BWH Hackathon.
If you're familiar with the television show, "Shark Tank," then you're one step closer to understanding what goes on at a hackathon. Similar to the show, teams at a hackathon pitch innovative projects to a panel of judges with hopes that the projects are funded for further development, and eventually commercialized for use in the real world.
From Sept. 20 to 22, the newly established innovation center, BWH iHub, held its inaugural event-the BWH Hackathon-with MIT H@cking Medicine. The event gave more than 100 clinicians, scientists, programmers and others a chance to compete and pitch projects for prizes to ultimately help improve health care delivery.
During the three-day event, which took place in the Cabot Atrium and Shapiro Conference Center, participants from BWH, Harvard, MIT and other institutions, formed teams to collaborate on solutions-ranging from 3D-printed devices to mobile apps-to existing problems within the health care system.
The Sept. 20 kickoff was a panel discussion moderated by Barbara Bierer, MD, senior vice president of Research. The panel, which provided insight on innovation in the biomedical and health care industries, consisted of Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Medicine; Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, chief medical innovation officer at Merck; and Sung Park, serial entrepreneur.
Rodrigo Martinez, Life Sciences chief strategist for the innovative design firm IDEO, then presented a motivating discussion about creativity.
The hackathon was in full swing the next day with participants presenting 54 problem-based pitches. Of these pitches, 30 moved on to the next stage, where teams were formed to develop solutions. Seventeen solutions were then pitched to a panel of judges on Sept. 22.
The BWH iHub prize was awarded to team Ring Leader, which developed a device that changes the way a standard exercise stress test is conducted. The team used a 3D printer to create a ring that can be worn on a finger, which uploads EKG readings and other clinical information to a mobile app for clinicians to view.
"As a cardiologist, I order stress tests to obtain data about my patients and their exercise," said Rajat Gupta, MD, Ring Leader team member and BWH Cardiovascular Medicine fellow. "It would be better if we could continuously collect this data and encourage patients to understand the importance of activity. The hackathon introduced me to MIT engineers, who brought a new perspective to this problem and developed a prototype in 48 hours!"
As the recipient of the BWH iHub prize, the Ring Leader team received a $1,000 financial award. It will also have the opportunity to present at a regional cross-industry event bringing the Massachusetts health care community together next month.