The main sign leading to Emory University’s campus in Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Tech, Emory students win $10K prizes in COVID-19 hackathon

Teams of Georgia Tech and Emory students won $10,000 prizes at a hackathon geared toward finding solutions to problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty students were members of the top three squads competing in the product creation contest that featured 105 teams from the universities. The winners were also selected for Tech’s Create-X startup launch program, where they can use their winnings to turn their ideas into a business, a Georgia Tech spokesman said. A fourth team received an honorable mention and $5,000 and will also participate in the program.

During the competition, held May 8-16, the teams met to discuss issues that arose as a result of the pandemic, such as social distancing efforts and COVID-19 testing.

Emory University student Shirley Gao and Georgia Tech student Peter Lee worked on a six-person team to design a website that integrates COVID-19 rapid testing results collected from pop-up testing sites and other health facilities with hospital electronic medical records.

“A huge issue is access to testing,” Gao said. “A lot of people have been responding to that with pop-up testing facilities. It’s great in terms of testing access, but it also leads to a lot of challenges. It wasn’t clear if tests were being completed efficiently, quickly and comprehensively.”


RELATED|Emory, Georgia Tech students compete in COVID-19 hackathon to win $10K


The website will be further developed in the Create-X program, and the team is working to comply with medical information privacy laws while integrating the information.

Another team designed an app that helps family members and caregivers better communicate with and monitor the physical health of long-term care facility residents.

Residents can log into the app and specify if they have a medical or physical emergency or if they’re hungry. Residents can also report how they’re feeling and what symptoms they’re experiencing.

“Normally there is a bell system for caregivers, but they wouldn’t have an idea as to what (residents) want,” Kramer said. “Through the app, the caretaker now knows what they want whether it’s something to eat or they fell and hurt themselves. It provides more specific communication between those parties.”

Georgia Tech student McKenzie Tuttle helped design an app that would track how many people are in a business to help with social distancing efforts. The app also allows businesses to post safety precautions they have in place such as requiring guests to wear masks or gloves.

Tuttle said the app could also be used post-pandemic for helping people determine which restaurants are busy before a night out.

“My perspective is shopping and dining out will never be the same after the pandemic,” Tuttle said. “I think people will always be cautious.”


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