On Saturday, May 16, nine teams comprised of Emory University and Georgia Tech students pitched solutions to COVID-19 problems in the final round of the EGHI/GT HACK COVID-19 virtual hackathon. Teams presented innovative product ideas to a group of judges from the tech, business, and healthcare fields.
The hackathon was a partnership between the Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI), the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X program. The Emory University School of Medicine funded the hackathon through its Imagine, Innovate, and Impact (I3) Award program.
The event began on May 8 when 508 students in 105 teams began working on solutions to COVID-19 problems in eight different tracks, which included an open category, transmission/PPE, social distancing, workplace impact, supply chain, healthcare delivery, testing, and contact tracing.
The top three teams, all comprised of Georgia Tech and Emory students, each won a $10,000 cash prize and enrollment in the summer 2020 CREATE-X Startup Launch. One team pitched an app called CAPACIT, which helps businesses manage new regulations required to open and operate under COVID-19 and helps consumers practice social distancing by alerting them to a store’s customer traffic in real time.
Emory student Alexandra Tuttle, who just finished her first year at the Rollins School of Public Health, made the hackathon a family affair by participating on the same team with her sister McKenzie Tuttle, who just completed her sophomore year at Georgia Tech in biomedical engineering. The Tuttle sisters and their teammates pitched the winning CAPACIT app. “As a public health student, I’d been searching for ways to help the community in the midst of the pandemic, and this hackathon seemed like an incredible way to make a tangible difference. I mentioned it in passing to my sister McKenzie. She later reached out saying she had a group from Georgia Tech and asked if I was still interested,” says Tuttle.
The sisters and their teammates plan to dedicate a portion of their prize money toward developing CAPACIT into a commercially viable product that could help hundreds of communities in their social distancing efforts.