The annual MindState hackathon for improving healthcare through new technologies will take place this week. The event is organized by the Technion, Cornell Tech, the MindState company and the Rambam and Sourasky medical centers, together with designers from prominent companies in the industry.

The MindState ideation competition, which harnesses scientific and technological knowledge for improving healthcare, will take place online on January 11-12. Approximately 70 students from the Technion and Cornell Tech will participate in the ideation sprint, working in mixed groups of students from both institutions with support from medical teams and leading designers. The winners will receive monetary prizes – $5,000 for 1st place, $3,000 for 2nd place and $2,000 for 3rd place.

During the event, student teams tackle challenges of developing innovative technologies that have business potential and can improve the future of medicine. In past years, the winning teams proposed unique and innovative solutions for a wide range of medical problems. Last year, the team that won 1st place later received the top prize in the BizTEC entrepreneurship competition:

The annual ideation event is organized by the Technion, Cornell Tech, the MindState company and two leading hospitals, Rambam and Sourasky. The competition presents real challenges and real problems, and some of the solutions developed by the students during the ideation become actual inventions and sometimes grow into start-up companies.

Senior doctors have been extremely helpful in formulating the challenges: Prof. Lior Gepstein of the Technion Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, director of the Rambam Department of Cardiology and director of the Research Division; Dr. Yona Weissbuch, director of the National Center for Medical Innovation Studies in partnership with Rambam and the Technion; and Prof. Eli Sprecher, deputy director of Research & Development and director of the Department of Dermatology at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov).

This is the hackathon’s third year, and this year 35 students from seven different Technion faculties will participate – compared to only six students who took part in the first year, 2020.

This year, the event will focus on the connection between climate and medicine, with a special emphasis on challenges in three categories: Planet Earth, hospitals, and patients. The teams will confront a range of subjects, such as air pollution and respiratory disease, early detection of skin cancer, preparedness for natural disasters, improving hospital processes, ‘green’ hospitals, reducing the psychological impact of isolation, and dealing with fatigue of medical teams due to lack of sleep.

The competition is the conclusion of a unique class offered at the Technion by Dr. Joachim Behar, director of the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Laboratory (AIMLab­) in the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, and teaching assistant Sophie Segal. Together with Dr. Behar, the ideation sprint is led by Prof. Ron Brachman, Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute; Prof. Ariel Orda, Jacobs Program head at Technion; Michael Escosia, Libby Budashev and Lucie Milanez of the Jacobs Institute; and Tamar Many and Henk van Assen, founders of MindState. According to Many, “the previous ideation sprints clarified the importance of the direct connection between the multidisciplinary students, the designers and the medical teams who cope with real problems. The enthusiasm can be seen from all sides, and I am delighted that the medical teams and the hospital management are fully committed to our initiative in such difficult times.”

The student teams are accompanied by mentors from the Rambam and Sourasky medical centers and by professional designers from the leading companies Designit, Monday, Google, Melio, Wix and Lightricks. The concluding ceremony, during which the winners will be announced, will take place in April.