On April 7 and 8, CMG took to the beautiful city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for our Need For Speed Hackathon— it was an event not to be missed.

We welcomed 58 participants competing on 16 teams, who worked diligently throughout the days and overnight to bring us some of the best pitches and solutions we have seen to date. The youngest team consisted of  5 freshmen from Northeastern University, team Husky Hacks. The challenges were centered on healthcare and we had mentors within the fields of the challenges who helped guide and push our teams to success.

On Saturday, throughout the day, we held some Innovation Sessions that were led by a few of our sponsors: Pfizer, MathWorks, IBM, and Health Innovators. During these sessions, the participants learned about the challenges, the technology that was available to them, and the issues that are currently being faced within the healthcare industry. After the sessions, the participants formed teams, and over some delicious lunch they worked steadily on their challenges.

The challenges


In this challenge, we invited participants to build machine learning models for automatic detection of sickness sounds by using audio recordings from open datasets.


Challengers used cloud computing, GPUs, blockchain, and high-performance computing to create a fast and secure solution.


Participants in this challenge developed a solution that can improve population health or patient engagement.


Competitors pitched their solutions at the end of Day One to show off the UX and wireframes for their ideas.

At the end of the day on Saturday we held the UX competition, almost every team participated. We were blown away by every team and their solutions. After 6 hours of work, it seemed like everyone had finished products (to my non-technical eye). After the pitches were complete, the judges deliberated.

The winners

POPULATION HEALTH AND PATIENT ENGAGEMENT – Team Happy Feet with their solution of Nurse Badge

THE DATA AROUND US – Team Shock Factor with their solution of Minutiae

Day two opened with some very sleepy teams as we learned many of them worked throughout the night to perfect their solutions. The teams were 5 hours before their code was due, but we had our trusty mentors onsite to help get the teams awake and excited for the final push (I’m sure the coffee and Red Bull helped a little). At 1:30 p.m. the code was due, and the teams had 1 hour to practice their pitches.

At 2:30, the final competition began. You can check out @CMGNEWS on Twitter to see all teams and their pitches! These solutions were some of the best we’ve seen come out of a hackathon event.

Our judges panel consisted of:

  • Arthur Harvey, CIO, Boston Medical Center
  • Dr. Kalyan Kalwa, CEO, Health Innovators
  • Dan Karlin, Senior Director, Digital Medicine, Pfizer Lab
    Shyamal Patel, Senior Manager, Pfizer Digital Medicine
  • Anoush Najarian, Engineering Manager, MathWorks

After deliberation and some fun games for giveaways, the judges returned with the results:


First Place: Team Healthy Sounds – Winning $500.00, a General Assembly bootcamp voucher, and a CMG Membership for each team member. Team Healthy Sounds created a solution to utilize passive listening to capture and track sounds of illness in hospital settings.

Second Place: Two-Way Tie Team Husky Hacks and Team Mad Max Pool – Winning $250.00 per team and a CMG Membership for each team member. Team Husky Hacks created an app designed to recognize sounds of sickness to help individuals track possible illness and to make determinations on whether or not to seek medical attention. Team Mad Max Pool tackled the challenge a similar way, but focused on the graphical representation of sickness sounds.


First Place: Team Lyvia – Winning $1000.00 per team, a General Assembly bootcamp voucher and a CMG Membership per team member. Team Lyvia created a solution that monitors the sleep behavioral patterns of Alzheimer's patients and notifies the caregiver of any anomalies that occurred in order for them to notify their physician.


First Place: Team Happy Feet – Winning $1000.00 per team, a General Assembly bootcamp voucher, and a CMG Membership for each team member. Team Happy Feet created a solution named Nurse Badge. It is a hands free, wearable device that helps to make alerts and shift changes easier for nurses.


Team HIPPO – Winning $5000, a General Assembly bootcamp voucher, and a CMG Membership for each team member. Team HIPPO created a solution to help ease the transitions between visits with the physician. The product utilizes photo messaging, test and natural speech to record notes taken in real time, which can distinguish voices, and allows the patient free communication with their physician between visits should there be any new developments.

All in all, this was an amazing event! Boston is already saying they want us back! We’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors and our fearless committee, we couldn’t have done it without you all!