“If you can’t code, what do you do?” I often get this question when I say I went to a hackathon. The simple answer is twofold: partner with developers to make sure you’re getting the right stuff done; and surround great code with a concise and compelling business story. There are other ways to go about it, but in general you have to be enormously flexible and wear many hats with various levels of comfort.
At the Sudo Hackathon, I had the pleasure of working with a genuinely incredible team. The prompt was: “How can virtual reality be utilised in health and infrastructure?” Our team worked on a healthcare tool for macular dystrophy – the number one cause of vision loss in people over 50.
Over the weekend, our team created four key deliverables:
- A retinal-mapping game using Google Cardboard
- An algorithm to quickly and precisely define patient blind spot borders
- A real-Time video morphing visualization
- A 5-minute pitch presentation including business case
We were able to track down an eye surgeon and prepare patient-focused and physician-focused questions. The information informed our MVP (minimum viable product), then we just needed the facts to back up our story. For example, sight loss is a 28 billion GBP market in the UK alone. The NHS also had an upcoming grant our product would be eligible for, an incredibly desirable path for extending our runway without diluting our equity.
Up until the last minute we were building, refining, adding, and editing. Our team had that contagious feeling of great code being stitched together. To quote one of my teammates: “This code is magic.” With only one previous run-through, we went in front of the judges, and we WON!
It was a great feeling for everyone on the team to leave the hackathon in equal parts excited and exhausted. Lots of gratitude to Allia for hosting this Serious Impact Challenge Weekend in partnership with the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund. It was an amazing event, and I highly encourage people to check out their next event in Agritech this April.