Code-a-thon News from The US Department of Health and Human Services
Cajun Code Fest was held in Lafayette over the weekend. Lafayette is known for being a regional medical hub, so it was the perfect fit for the code fest. The focus is on transforming data into healthcare solutions through the free, two-day competition. The theme this year was improving childhood obesity outcomes. Cajuncodefest.org explains the theme justification:
Rising childhood obesity rates constitutes the greatest threat to our country’s healthcare systems as not only do obese children cost more to treat but obese children are more likely to become obese adults, creating a lifetime of increased healthcare expenses.
The coding marathon brought together innovative thinkers and programmers of all types: professional software developers, software designers, undergraduate and graduate students, health care leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs. Teams were either formed prior to the event or at the event, and the results were impressive.
Judges were looking for a few things for a maximum of 100 possible points for each team:
- How well they addressed the challenge of fighting childhood obesity (25pts max)
- Innovativeness (20pts)
- How much work they got done in the 36 hours (20pts)
- User friendliness (10pts)
- Market viability (10pts)
- Quality of presentation (15pts)
The $25,000 grand prize went to PlayFit by team BE CAMP VB. They created a system to manage “pickup” games and events, targeting at-risk kids and engaging community groups like churches and the YMCA. They also received a qualifying entry for The Health Data Initiative (HDI) Forum, a public-private collaboration among stakeholder organizations in the health data ecosystem.
Up until the award ceremony, the other prizes were kept secret. A $10,000 surprise went to student team winners The Eating Game by team Flying Fighting Mongooses. The team created a classic diet-based challenge system where eating choices are awarded points, and students and classes in schools compete to get the most points. Details were taken into great consideration, the game is still educationally effective even if students do cheat.
The “best use of Microsoft technology” award went to Health Hero by team PixelDash. A grocery store bagging game was designed in just 24 hours using Microsoft Kinect. Players were forced to identify quickly-approaching foods as “fruits” or veggies” and put them into the right bag. The future of this game could also have players identify “high fat” versus “low fat” foods as well.