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MedHacks: How 800 Students Built Health-Related Apps…

An app that can diagnose skin cancer? Software that predicts the length of your hospital stay? These were just a few of the apps in the running for the Namecheap Innovation Award.

MedHacks is organized by students at the renowned Johns Hopkins University. It’s billed as ‘the world’s premier medical hackathon’. Participants are challenged to create revolutionary new apps for the medical industry. This year, Namecheap was proud to be an official sponsor, offering the all-new Namecheap Innovation Award to our favorite project.

More than 800 of North America’s most brilliant science and medical students teamed up with talented coders/hackers to create new, innovative technology solutions for many of the world’s most pressing health issues—all in 36 hours!

Prepare to be amazed at what they achieved in such a short time.

Instantly Captivated by MedHacks

125+ teams of the smartest young people with diverse backgrounds, in one place, coming together to collaborate and solve pressing health issues with new technology. Sounds cool, right?

photo of students in auditorium

Over 800 of the smartest college students gathered for MedHacks at Johns Hopkins University

Namecheap Innovation Award is Born . . .

Namecheap was quickly (and officially) on board as MedHacks’ official domain sponsor, providing all teams with free .app or .me domains for their projects. Additionally, wanting to do more to give this awesome student-run event the attention it deserves, we decided to launch a new award. We wanted it to award to our favorite technology, and story behind the innovation. The Namecheap Innovation Award was born.

Let the health-hacking begin!

The 125+ teams, which generally were comprised of hackers, engineers and medical students (2-5 students per team), created technology addressing three MedHacks’ predetermined “category tracks:”

  1. Best Use of Public Health API
  2. Improving Community Health Infrastructure, and
  3. Open Science.

Teams from all three “tracks” were eligible for the Namecheap Innovation Award, as long as they submitted their final projects in website format.

Teams brainstorming ideas for Medhacks project and a shot at the Namecheap Innovation Award.

After 36 hours of hacking, we had 20 finalists!

Final Project Submissions

Here’s a look at some of our favorites, the runner-up, and winner.

Sick Day Forecast appSickDayForecast.app – An app that uses the publicly available summary of the National Hospital Discharge Survey to give a 95% confidence interval for the length of a stay for a patient based on their condition, age, and sex. The app is a freely accessible website for hospitals, patients, and doctors.

PillPix appPillPix.app – In order to mitigate unreliable eyesight – either misreading the imprint, or colorblind patients misidentifying the pill colors – this team sought to develop an app which allows users to take a picture of the unknown pill and use AI to correctly identify the pill and provide them with crucial information about the drug.

Melatonix appMelanotix.me – A web app (and mobile app) that captures pictures of body lesions. The lesion image is tested using a custom-vision API machine-learning algorithm that calculates the risk of melanoma based on four factors: lesion asymmetry, lesion border irregularity, lesion color, and lesion surface. The app returns a summary of the calculated risk of melanoma for each factor with a recommended line of action.

FoodShare.meFoodShare.me – The goal of this tool is to increase nutritional accessibility in communities classified as “nutritional deserts”, and enhance community infrastructure by bringing people together through food. The platform is modular, with minimal barriers to use. Furthermore, a “low-tech” approach is also implemented to expand accessibility even further.

Namecheap Innovation Award Runner-Up

Lula the Narwhal appLula the Narwhal is a digital friend that children can speak with. The app continuously takes in audio and runs sentiment analysis on speech patterns, looking for common words and phrases associated with distress or mental disorders in children. If the app determines that your child’s speech is concerning, it tells you what was said and what possible disorders or problems it may be linked with.

Namecheap Innovation Award Winner 2018: Patrick I/O

Patrick I/OBeing born deaf, Ellaine has faced the challenges that tens of millions of hearing-impaired Americans live with. After over a decade of using hearing aids, Ellaine and her family decided that a cochlear implant would be the best treatment option. However, what should be a solution to the issue turned into a series of long, arduous meetings with an audiologist that relies on “gut feeling” and inaccurate, qualitative trial and error to tune the cochlear implants. This app was developed based on Ellaine’s experience, and greatly improves this process for her and many others across the world who have cochlear implants.

Patrick I/O uses the Muse Headband to measure EEG waves in a patient’s brain in order to observe changes upon audio simulation. By measuring the disruption in homeostasis and tuning the audio simulation to bring that back to a normal state, it is able to quantify and enhance both customer and provider experience in the tuning process of the cochlear implants, thus greatly increasing individual calibration and personal adjustment.

winning team at Medhacks

Derek Musso, Head of PR at Namecheap, with the winning team, creators of Patrick_I/O

Namecheap would love to support more cause-focused events like MedHacks in the future. In the meantime, if you’re a University student, you can get a free bundle from Namecheap to help you kickstart your online presence.


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