Manipal students win MIT COVID-19 hackathon challenge

Adri Rajaraman  

A team of three students from Manipal Institute of Technology which linked up with three professionals has won the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) COVID-19 Challenge event.

The team was declared as winner of its track – ‘Who to test and when’ under ‘How to protect vulnerable populations from the effects of COVID-19?’ There were a total of 10 tracks.

Akshatha Kamath

Akshatha Kamath  

The ‘Beat the Pandemic’ was a 48-hour virtual event to help tackle the most critical needs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The hackathon started at 3.30 a.m. on April 4, where participants formed teams to shortlist the problems and generate solutions.

Three students of Manipal Institute of Technology – Akshatha Kamath (third year CSE), Shubham Rateria (CCE Batch of 2019) and Adri Rajaraman (ECE Batch of 2019) – participated in the event and pitched their idea.

They teamed up with Melia Watson, Washington DC (respiratory therapist, MBA), Hsiang Wei Hu, Taiwan (Cofounder of Acusense Biomed), and Mariane Melo, U.K. (M.D.). They narrowed down to the problem of overcrowded hospitals with inappropriate admissions, whereas less than 5% of the average population under 50 years of age requires hospitalisation.

Their solution was to build a TeleHealth platform for non-contact monitoring of vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen concentration using just a phone camera, or webcam at home. “This cross-platform application avoids reliance on contact-based pulse oximeters,” Ms. Akshatha Kamath told The Hindu.

“This can be further developed into a telemedicine platform, wherein doctors and hospital administrations can remotely identify the progress of the patients. This is useful in prevention of transfer of COVID-19 to healthcare professionals,” Mohammad Zuber, Assistant Director (Innovations), Manipal Institute of Technology, said.

Over the weekend, the team worked on the proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution. Throughout the hackathon, several mentors across the U.S. with diverse expertise were available to improve the idea and business proposal.

On Sunday (April 5), the team reconvened to present the work in the form of a three-minute pitch followed by a question-and-answer session with the judges. The event saw 1,500 participants from over 75 countries and over 250 mentors.

The team will now have an opportunity to co-develop and implement the solution with the support of partners (firms). “Our team looks forward to improving the accuracy of solution and making it more robust to target a larger audience,” said Ms. Kamath.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:01:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/manipal-students-win-mit-covid-19-hackathon-challenge/article31278885.ece

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