Tag: hackathon

Since ArchHacks is just around the corner (November 4-6), we thought it would be useful to go into more detail about our theme: HealthTech. Specifically, what HealthTech is, how it started, and what it has evolved into today.

HealthTech, short for Health Technology, involves applying a combination of medical and engineering knowledge to solving health-related problems. HealthTech includes everything from drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and procedures, to the general improvement of medical systems. To better understand how HealthTech has evolved, it is useful to divide its history into three periods: the pre-computer period, the pre-Internet period, and the post-Internet period.

One of the very first HealthTech devices was the stethoscope, invented in 1816 to make it easier to listen to a person’s heartbeat without having to press your ear against their skin. In 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays, which made it possible to identify bone structure. Devices that we might now take for granted were revolutionary in their time and pushed medical innovation forward.

In the next century, as computers became more powerful, the size of devices decreased and brought about inventions such as the pacemaker and other medical implants. Around the same time, the now ubiquitous MRI and CT scan machines were invented. New devices were of increasing complexity and functionality and greatly improved medicine.

Today, the proliferation of smartphones, coupled with powerful internet, has made it easier to access information than ever before.

Mobile health technology

Source: Macrovector/Shutterstock.com

Innovation has made it possible for consumers to use portable devices to access their medical information, monitor their vital signs, take tests at home, and carry out a wide range of tasks. The patient has greater control over his or her health, and is less dependent on doctors and hospitals.

There is an increased demand in HealthTech due to its many benefits and ease of access. This has incentivized developers to create new apps centered around health, and it has opened up the possibility for unprecedented collaboration. As data is now collected in real time, companies are able to collect large amounts of personal medical data. The convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data is allowing doctors to find new patterns in this data and use it to approach finding cures in unique ways.

One of the biggest challenges in HealthTech is to create an ecosystem where devices can all communicate with one another to provide consumers with personalized solutions. Thousands of mobile health technologies exist, ranging from diet and fitness trackers to sleep monitors, but each of these devices is more useful when combined with others. A study by Grand View Research reported that the HealthTech market is anticipated to reach $ 104.5 billion by the year 2020.


To tap into this potential and remain competitive in the market, HealthTech companies will have to become less isolated and collaborate in order to create the best products and provide the best value to their consumers.

Want to get involved in ArchHacks? Apply to be a volunteer!


Calling all software developers, designers, technologists, and entrepreneurs! GlobalHack is putting on a massive civic-focused hackathon centered around solving homelessness with $1 million in total cash prizes up for grabs. Teams of 2-8 people will be working around the clock to solve this problem over the course of the entire weekend. The event is open to youth, college, students, and professionals. GlobalHack VI is October 21-23, 2016 at Chaifetz Arena on the Saint Louis University campus.

Members of the Olin School of Business network can get 50% off their admission to the hackathon with the discount code “OLINGH6”. Don’t wait, these codes expire on 10/19/2016.

For more information and to register, please visit http://bit.ly/globalhack6. If you have questions about the event, please reach out to Delia Chassaing at delia@globalhack.org.

Tickets: bit.ly/globalhack6
Discount Code: OLINGH6
Expiration Date:  10/19/2016
Questions: delia@globalhack.org

Photo, above: Allen Osgood (left) and Stephanie Mertz (in white) at MHacks 6

archhacksArchHacks is a hackathon hosted at Washington University in St. Louis for students of all different backgrounds who are passionate about technology, design, and, most importantly, building things. ArchHack’s goal is to bring together more than 500 students from around the country for 48 hours of collaboration, problem solving, and making. With our sponsors and our focus on HealthTech, ArchHacks will provide a unique opportunity for students to work with resources and companies they cannot find anywhere else. Application deadline: Oct. 15; apply here

ArchHacks was the vision of Allen Osgood and Stephanie Mertz, two juniors studying computer science at WashU. Let’s hear what they have to say about their experiences with hackathons, HealthTech, ArchHacks, and more!

What was your first hackathon experience like?

Allen Osgood: So… great story. Stephanie and I decided last minute that we should go to MHacks, and so we looked at flights, but that just wasn’t going to happen. So she and I drove 8 hours as a road trip from St. Louis to Ann Arbor to spend 48 hours coding — it sounded like fun at the time.

When we got to MHacks, I was just amazed. There were 1,500 people wandering around trying to find partners and projects, clutching nothing but a small backpack and a laptop, preparing themselves for some of the most creative non-stop hacking I’d ever seen. From that moment on, I was hooked. When Stephanie and I starting driving back (after she took a solid 2 hour nap), ArchHacks began to take shape. We knew then and there that we had to make this a reality at our school. So we have!

Where’s your favorite place in St. Louis to hack?

Stephanie Mertz: I would have to say TechArtista. It has such a cool fun vibe and is always filled with interesting, friendly people. This place really has the perfect balance of a work and social environment. This co-working space was started by two WashU alumni who are incredibly supportive and involved in the WashU tech community.

Why do you think hackathons are important?

Stephanie Mertz: Hackathons are important because through them, you learn how to build and create things that matter. You’re also able to meet all types of different people in tech, whether they be sponsors or students at other universities.

Allen Osgood: I think hackathons are important because they inspire people. I met some of the most incredible engineers at MHacks just hanging around. Seeing what was possible made me want to get better. It showed me how much there was still to learn.

What inspired you to make the theme of this hackathon “HealthTech”?

Stephanie Mertz: I was at a hackathon and everyone around me was so talented and making really interesting things, but they were making things that didn’t really solve any real problems. WashU’s last hackathon did not have a theme, but because Trip Advisor was our top sponsor, almost all the projects were travel themed. This year we wanted to pick sponsors intentionally to incentivize participants to make projects that solve real problems. HealthTech is a broad theme that includes topics like fitness, nutrition, and mental health, just to name a few. Projects are also not restricted to HealthTech — there are just some awesome prizes and a ton of mentors for those categories.

Allen Osgood: We spent a lot of time trying to think about how we could make this happen. What could we do to bring together a massive group of people? What would make us special? We were in a meeting with the WashU Dean of Engineering, and he started talking about the Medical School and how they might be a good partner. There and then, it dawned on us — HealthTech: the ultimate intersection of St. Louis talent, regional corporate interest, and coder sparsity. We realized that if we could bring together clinicians and coders, we could do some amazing things.

Were you interested in HealthTech before starting ArchHacks?

Stephanie Mertz: Honestly, I didn’t even know what HealthTech was before ArchHacks. Our Engineering Dean suggested the theme and I didn’t like it at first because my mind immediately jumped to needles and medicine. I’m super squeamish, if you can’t tell. But as I did some research, I found out that HealthTech is really just tech used for cool purposes, like figuring out how to do distributed computing on large data sets, where the data sets are from genomic sequencers in labs and the results are used to help patients. The engineers are just focusing on cool tech projects that matter. We’re making a video series that will hopefully give a better idea of the kinds of tech these type of companies make.

What makes ArchHacks different than the other hackathons?

Stephanie Mertz: Prizes are for thinking about real problems and there are tons of mentors in different fields available to learn from. At other hackathons, prizes are for using certain technology, but at ArchHacks, we want to help you solve new problems. ArchHacks is special not only for its theme, HealthTech, but also because unlike most other hackathons, our team is extremely diverse. We have students planning this hackathon from all different areas of study coming together because they are interested in Computer Science and want to make this event a success. I think that’s really special because it shows that CompSci is an important field that influences so many different people, and it can have an impact no matter what area you pursue.

Allen Osgood: Our goal is to build projects that matter. Any project you work on here — from robotics to apps — is going to make a difference to somebody. We’re bringing together people who have never interacted with each other before. Students, clinicians, companies, and government officials are coming together to show the impact they can have — even in just 48 hours. And…Stephanie and I are organizing it!

What are some of the best hacks you’ve seen?

Allen Osgood: Probably a fully mobile robotic arm that used a laser pointer as a cat toy. Not the most useful, but really cool.

Most embarrassing moment at a hackathon?

Stephanie Mertz: Definitely shamelessly begging for an extra t-shirt from Wolfram for my friend who couldn’t come to the hackathon. Worth it, because she’s working there this summer (must have been the shirt).

Allen Osgood: Is there an all of them answer? Probably showing how midwestern I am and winning the corn hole tournament last year.

Okay, last question: when you’re not hacking, what do you like to do?


(Cat Names Left: Charlie and Cheesecake, later renamed Cannoli; Top Right: Elvira, aka Fluff Ball; Bottom Right: Coal)

Stephanie Mertz: When I’m not hacking, I foster cats! I also enjoy putting together funny (and punny) costumes (that’s me as a “Hyper” Link — get it?!)


Allen Osgood: When I’m not hacking, I travel! I went abroad last Spring to Madrid, Spain and tried to see as much of Europe as possible in 4 months. I’m also a big soccer fan, so getting to see Messi and Ronaldo play in their home stadiums was amazing!

We are excited to announce that the Skandalaris Center has teamed up with the Delmar Loop Innovation Neighborhood to host the Delmar Loop Social Impact Hackathon, April 22nd-24th.

For 48-hours, we’ll be brainstorming and generating ways to create an Innovation Neighborhood in the Loop—that is, a neighborhood that attracts and retains creative geniuses and accelerates socioeconomic growth. This is a task that requires every skill, background, profession, degree, age—you name it.

SocialImpactHackathon_Logo (2)We’re giving away over $3,000 in cash prizes to the best ideas! Mentorship will be available to those wanting to implement their idea afterwards.

Mark your calendar and check out the event website for more information.

Registration is $10. Includes program, food & beverage, mentoring support for ideas and development of solutions. Student discounts are available! Contact us for more info: sc@wustl.edu