Team that offers solution to people hard of hearing wins Hackathon

Augmented or mixed reality has the potential to support the healthcare industry in a way never seen before. The Hackathon organised by EIT Health InnoStars and Novartis Slovenia was a proof of it. The promising solutions presented by the teams – that aim to tackle pressing healthcare challenges – offered a deep-dive into the future. The winning team – which promotes self-sufficiency and wellbeing of deaf and people hard of hearing with mixed-reality or augmented reality – has the chance to continue co-operation with Novartis.

„Participating at the Hackathon was a game-changer for us. The training and the insights we received from the seasoned mentors, who have a deep knowledge of MR and AR, were extremely helpful. Now we have a clearer idea of how we should proceed with development and commercialisation of our solution” – said Ivan Spinelli. The medicine student won the first prize along with team members, Federico Starace, a medical student and Emilia Staszór, a biotechnology student.

The three young talents’ goal is to make communication easier for deaf and people hard of hearing. This is a global challenge: hearing loss affects 1.57 billion people worldwide. The team envisioned a product that is universal – it is for any type of hearing loss –, comfortable, affordable, discrete and complements other solutions. It is simpler than similar products on the market and facilitates deep communication.

EIT Health InnoStars and Novartis Slovenia was looking for interesting ideas with the usage of augmented or mixed reality – based on Microsoft Hololens – which can support healthcare, including back-office services. There were 53 enthusiastic applicants, who formed 10 teams. They were supported by 19 mentors, who are industry professionals. Throughout the Hackathon participants received practical training on incubation and design thinking. Each team presented their idea in front of senior experts and executives of Novartis and EIT Health. The top three was selected by a four-member jury and received €5,000, €3,000 and €2,000 respectively. The winners will also have the chance to continue co-operation with Novartis.

„The application of augmented reality and mixed reality in healthcare is not a futuristic concept anymore. These technologies could improve the lives of millions of patients in Europe. the Hackathon was very exciting, participants were mentored by experts, who were early adaptors of these technologies. They guided these young talents into the right direction and explained them what works and what doesn’t” said Tamás Békási, RIS Business Creation Manager at EIT Health InnoStars.