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DMU's 48-hour Hackathon in Brazil leads to winning app

Innovative apps to help patients manage respiratory disease were developed during a 48-hour Hackathon in Brazil with eight participating De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students.

Students from Computer Security, Animation, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Games Programming joined dozens of other students and staff at the University of São Paulo to develop six prototype apps to increase awareness of asthma and how to deal with it.

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Vitor (front right) and the rest of the winning team

The winning app was developed by five students from the University of São Paulo, as well as Vitor Augusto Andrioli from FATEC-SP, who studied Intelligent Systems at DMU for one year as part of Science without Borders - a Brazilian programme which enables students to study abroad.

Aimed at children’s parents, carers and educators, the app is a quiz game which teaches users about asthma and how to deal with it, as well as encouraging them to interact and share experiences. 

Vitor said: “We thought that the best way to reach kids and spread knowledge about asthma was through their educators and their parents.

“At the end of the game, users will get a certificate stating that they are capable of basic care for asthmatic children, which could also enhance their employability. 

On the experience itself, Vitor added: “It was great! The girls of my group were really talented and it was amazing working with them for two whole days.

“Also, having the chance to show and talk a little about my city to my colleagues from DMU was really nice, and I hope they enjoyed their stay here!”

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Hard at work developing a winning app

Cheniece Manning, a recent Computer Games Programming graduate, used her own experience with asthma to inspire her team’s app which was a game aimed at children.

She said: “I have asthma which I developed as a child, so was able to provide insight into the things I would like to have understood about my condition when I was younger.

“My highlight of the trip was learning how to communicate creatively due to the language barrier, like creating storyboards to show what we wanted the app to do.”

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The university’s first ever international Hackathon for Health, Assisted Living, Social care and Communities (HALE) was organised by DS-Cubed – a software development and consultancy company managed by DMU’s Dr Samad Ahmadi and run by student interns and volunteers – with support from #DMUglobal.

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Presenting the app to the panel of judges

Dr Ahmadi, Reader in Optimisation and Computational Intelligence at DMU, said: “We had such a brilliant response from everyone at the University of São Paulo, who happily gave up their time and expertise to support our students. 

“Special thanks to Dr Lucia Filgueiras and her team for helping to organise such an excellent event and to #DMUglobal for making the experience financially viable for DMU students.

“As a result, not only have our students benefitted significantly, but we are working with two universities on developing joint research proposals.” 

During the last year alone DS-Cubed has employed 38 student interns across three DMU faculties who have worked on 14 different projects, solving problems for the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS), DMU’s Cyber Security Centre and DMU Square Mile.

Recently, six vacancies at DS-Cubed attracted 100 applications - 30 for one marketing position, 24 for one project co-ordinator position, 36 for three developer positions and 10 for one designer position – highlighting what a popular initiative it is among DMU students.

Posted on Wednesday 9th November 2016

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