Editorial Team

Six engineering students from the Manipal Institute of Technology – Jithin Sunny, Joel Jogy George, Rohan Rout, Rakshit Naidu, Megha Baid and Shivangi Shukla – have bagged the Second Prize of $5,000 at the recently concluded CODE19 online hackathon against coronavirus in India. Their winning entry, named TeleVital, enables remote diagnosis of suspected Covid19 patients by capturing their vital statistics remotely through a Webcam and browser. Such contact-less health assessment of patients drastically reduces the risk of infection for healthcare workers from Coronavirus.

The 72-hour online hackathon was hosted by the US-based Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation. It saw thousands of innovators and developers from India and abroad compete online from the comfort of their homes to create open-source solutions against the Coronavirus crisis facing the nation.

Said 20-year-old Jithin Sunny: “We wanted to reduce overcrowding at hospitals and the attendant risk of infection for healthcare professionals by devising a way to analyze the health of patients right at their homes. After consulting a few doctors treating COVID19 patients, we realized that vital statistics play a major role in deciding if a patient needs hospitalization or not. We decided to create a solution to record a patient’s heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, etc. without any contact-based measurement tool. We also built a system to check if any individual was at the risk of getting infected or of being a carrier of the virus through our Artificial Intelligence-based chatbot to check their travel history and map other symptoms.”

Added 22-year-old Megha Baid: “Since mobiles and laptops are readily available at many people’s homes today, we decided to capture vitals and other health parameters of a person through a Web browser and Web camera, and establish online communication between the patient and the doctor. We have implemented an algorithm that we believe is superior to the existing ones out there. We now intend to improve the accuracy and efficiency of TeleVital and add more features to enhance the overall user experience.”

Said well-known entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and change agent Ms. Asha Jadeja Motwani, the Founder of Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation which hosted the CODE19 online hackathon: “We were overwhelmed by the high quality of entries received and the deep enthusiasm shown by all the participants. A community of hackers and mentors, especially young students from all parts of the country, came together to enable India’s fight against Coronavirus. I believe the qualitative, open-source projects created at this hackathon would help mitigate the impending Corona-inflicted challenges in India. I am hopeful that the total prize money of $34,000 awarded to winning teams will enable them to realize their solutions and bring them to market.”

The first prize of $10,000 was bagged Abhinand C and Shilpa Rajeev, two students from the Government College of Engineering in Kannur, Kerala. Their winning entry, called iClassroom, involved a modern virtual classroom for the millennial generation. It connects students with teachers through a social media-type interface for uninterrupted learning in the time of the pandemic.

The third position was divided into three categories, with each of the three winning teams awarded $3,000 as prize money. The winners included SoloCoin which gamifies social distancing by allowing people to earn “solo coins” by staying at home and redeeming them for rewards from various merchants; the Covid19 Fact Checker, a fake news checker that leverages authentic government, scientific, and public health information to bust misinformation about the Covid19 pandemic; and Grape Community, an open platform that connects people with their neighborhood shopkeepers and suppliers.

In addition, 10 best innovative solutions were awarded $1,000 each at the hackathon.

CODE19 was organized by the Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation in collaboration with partners such as TIE Mumbai, IAMAI Startup Foundation, Mumbai Angels Network, Association of Designers of India, Stumagz and GirlScript. The event had three leading academic institutions as partners – National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad), IIT Kharagpur, and Centre for Entrepreneurship – Ashoka University.

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