Innovations For Children's Health At Hackathon


A wearable breathalyzer, an app designed to improve communication between patients and health care workers and a device that would flag false alarms for hospital patients were just a few of the innovations developed at HackPeds, a hackathon focused on children’s health care. 

The event, the second annual hackathon organized by the student group Bulldog Hacks, took place over two days at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID). 

“I was really impressed that in less than 24 hours, the participants came together to create nine awesome presentations with people they had never met before,” said Claudia See, who founded Bulldog Hacks and was co-leader of this year's hackathon.

The event kicked off Friday evening with a keynote speech by Yale Pediatrics Residency Director Dr. Benjamin Doolittle, followed by a session where participants gave 37 pain point pitches. Hacking began Saturday morning and continued until late afternoon. Six mentors came throughout the day to help teams develop their ideas and bring new energy and perspective. A medical device consultant and a pediatric gastroenterologist were among the mentors. 

The four winning teams were:

$500 Grand Pediatrics Prize: The Breathelet team addressed the problem of underage drinking by creating a reliable, cheap way to measure alcohol consumption by developing a breathalizer that can be worn discreetly around the wrist. When users breathe into the device, they receive a green, yellow, or red light, indicating their level of inebriation. The team is composed of three Yale graduate students: Arsalan Ahmed, Natasha Dudzinski, and Marcus Ihemdi, and one Yale College student, Leo Liang.

$250 Pediatric Wellness Prize: The WeRound team came up with an idea for a mobile app designed to improve communication between pediatric patients and their providers. By using four input categories of Mood, Pain, Symptom, and Sleep and large emoticons for ease of use, this app empowers patients to take an active role in their care and facilitates physician rounding in the hospital. The team is made up of three Yale medical students: Emily Yin, Alvin Li, and Sean Maroongroge.

$250 InnovateHealth Yale Health Disparities Reduction Prize: The Kivuli team, composed of Yale College juniors Sally Weiner and Isaac Madrid, tackled the serious public health issue of the persecution of albino people in Tanzania. Their idea is to create locally-sourced kangas (traditional African garments) for albino people as a symbol of acceptance into their community. They ended their presentation saying that each kanga will be imprinted with a phrase, which translated into English means “Beautiful flowers grow in the shade."

$100 Prototype Prize: AlarMed addressed the problem of “alarm fatigue” in hospitals. There are more than 300 alarms per patient per day, of which 72% to 99% are false clinical alarms. The team created an app that uses machine learning to determine the value of each alarm and optimizes the system to play only the most critical alarms. The team is composed of a recent Yale college graduate Druv Bhagavan and three Yale College undergraduates Barkley Dai, Sophia Dai, and Evelyn Huang.