VU Hackathon Battle: D1 Debrief

So, here we are at the end of day one of our VU Hackathon Battle. This first day has been very rich in information. Let’s press rewind and highlight key moments of this first day.

More than fifty people joined the hackathon at the 4 pm kick-off. After a few words and the introduction of the event’s program by Jesse van Doren from Brize, Dr Heleen Riper thanked the Interreg NWE program, the IT4Anxiety’s consortium, and especially the CNP Saint-Martin, lead partner of the project and initiator of it.

Without further ado, Hans Luyckx, Director of Ijsfontijn, started to tell the audience about his company that designs and develops “playful learning”, understand: “serious games, apps, websites, interactive exhibits and digital (corporate) learning methods”. It is said to be up to seven times more effective than traditional sitting-in-a-classroom teaching.

From there, David Beckett from Best3minutes talks about the importance of a good pitch. “Everything starts with a good pitch”. This led to the five startups’ pitches. Psyflix paved the way with their “Netflix for psychotherapy”. We hope to find more about that interesting concept tomorrow. Following the lead, Mind Reality explains how to help addiction and stigma via VR and biofeedback 24/7. Then, AAA Research explained how they want to help people to deal with their anxiety through data about their heartrate and breathing-rhythm. Then Psylaris introduced the software they created to provide autonomous personalized psychotherapy. The trick here is that it happens without the presence of a therapist while still increasing the efficiency of the therapy. Finally, Tolooba presented their work in Memory Enhancement Technologies. They use real-world data and insights to help patients with making high-quality lifestyle decisions in order to improve their memory.

After all that accumulated new knowledge, Celine Cairo, her beautiful voice and songs were welcome by every brain in the hackathon. This led smoothly to the unboxing of the participants’ goodie package. This put an extra touch of joy and fun upon the event. Before leaving for a good night of rest, the five teams had the chance to familiarized themselves with the tools they will come across on day two.

Meanwhile, we took the time to chat with two jury members: Remco Hoogendijk, the chairman, and Erik Van der Eycken. M. Hoogendijk shared: “In health care, there is a great opportunity for technology. […] There is new hope for personalizing healthcare or measurements. [But also] it’s revolutionizing healthcare delivery. It can be delivered on your smartphone!”. He underlines as well how it’s changing the cost-effectiveness relation as well. M. Van der Eycken added about the startups: “I would like to see how far they involved patients, users, and how much they differ from other startups. […] I really hope that one or more startups will really have the chance, the opportunity, to go further in their development to a final product.”

That’s it for today. We are looking forward to seeing you on zoom for day two of the VU Hackathon Battle. And don’t forget to share with us your pictures, thoughts, and much more with the #VUHackathonBattle and #IT4Anxiety on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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