Student Innovation on Display at JHH Health-Focused Hackathon

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Students make their presentations at MedHacks.

Sleeping bags and laptops in tow, the participants of MedHacks filed into the Turner Auditorium at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Sunday afternoon to listen to the finalists make their pitch to judges.

In the third year of the event, the health-focused hackathon organized by Johns Hopkins students drew 99 teams from Sept. 8-10. Along with Hopkins, participants were gathered from the University of Maryland, as well as colleges across the country like Stanford and MIT. Canada was also represented.

According to organizer Burton Ye, 650 participants were assembled for the opening ceremony when the weekend began on Friday. They heard from former NAACP President (and Maryland gubernatorial candidate) Ben Jealous, and Johns Hopkins Medicine Sr. VP of Patient Quality Peter Pronovost.

What did they come up with? Here’s a look at the six finalists:

Active Bed Sore Prevention (Overall Winner)

  • The team of Mitch GainesMuskaan Kholsa and Ruchee Shrestha set out to address the problem of bed sores, which form as a result of pressure from patients lying down. The team created a smart bed that tracks pressure points and can inflate pockets of the bed to prevent the sores from forming.

Paper-Based Microfluidic Point of Care Diagnostics (2nd place)

  • To spread microfluidics to areas that struggle with access to healthcare, this team looked to bring in paper. Some of the other tools included coffee filters, a crayon, a heat gun and tape.

Parkinson’s Telemonitoring (3rd place)

  • This five-member team looked to provide a way to help manage the medication of patients with Parkinson’s disease. The team created an app that tests hand tremors using voice and accelerometer. With the results from the app a doctor can assess how a patient is doing and make decisions about medication as needed.


Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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