The Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership (“The Lab”) at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), in collaboration with iTAP (Information Technology for the Aging Person) from the College of Information Studies (University of Maryland iSchool), hosted an AgeTech Hackathon on December 8th, 2022. Bringing light to one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, the hackathon focused on the aging care industry. Student teams were tasked with the prompt to pitch an innovative solution to support older people in their homes.
Normally, a hackathon is an event wherein a large number of people collaborate in computer programming (hacking marathon). In this case, The Lab applies the word “hackathon” to thinking creatively and innovatively; therefore, no technical experience is required of the students.
Hosted by experienced entrepreneur, Cornell University Professor, and University Startups CFO Karen Livingston, the event was open to students from all academic programs on the USG campus. Six teams of students competed for a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. These teams were given 2 hours to brainstorm and implement solutions and ideas to the challenge presented to them, and finally, within 5 minutes, present a prototype of their solution to a panel of experienced judges.
After a strong lineup of demonstrations, the 1st place was awarded to a team made up of UMD students Richard Forng, Sheila Walsh, and Sehba Wani. Their innovation was centered around the problem of older adults not eating enough nourishing meals. They came up with “Cook With Me”, a video calling solution demonstrating features such as a voice assistant for adults with dexterity issues, video calling with family and friends during meal time, and an option to connect to meal delivery services for pre-prepared ingredients.
The pitches from the groups showed innovation and creativity, the judges provided insightful feedback and questions, and, overall, the AgeTech Hackathon was considered a success.
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