Hacking Rehabilitation

2016 Spaulding Hackathon Hacking Rehabilitation

For the 2nd year in row Spaulding Rehab conducted a Rehabilitation Medicine Hackathon. Based off of the success of last year’s, the first ever held nationwide, Spaulding expanded its efforts to encourage innovation to benefit the community with disabilities. This year’s event had over 100 participants and over a dozen teams. The Spaulding Hackathon served as a catalyst to jump start many new ideas and approaches to rehab medicine.

“The first year really lit the spark that has energized so many in our region and well beyond,” said Dr. Binder. “With the level of talent and diversity from divergent fields participating, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of the impact we can have on the communities we serve.” One of the teams from last year’s event developed an app which identifies disability accessible parking spaces throughout the city of Boston. Winner of the Best Design Award at the Spaulding Hackathon and as part of the Spaulding Accelerator Program, the team was able to further develop their idea and ultimately received a $60,000 grant from the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General.

Participants came from a wide variety of fields including medicine, engineering professionals, entrepreneurs, advocates, software programmers and students. The diverse cross section of students allowed teams with varied skills sets to collaborate together on product ideas. The team after the day and half of hacking, presented their product pitches to a seven panel of experts. The prizes chosen ranged from the Best Design award with $10,000 design services prize from MadPow and a first and second prizes with cash, legal and iOS support.  The winning group chosen was “un-Caney” which offered a fresh approach to canes to encourage use and decrease falls.

The Spaulding Hackathon was once again hosted in collaboration with MIT Hacking Medicine and focused on the development of creative and innovative solutions specifically for rehabilitation medicine challenges. Based on the interest generated by the now annual event, Dr. Binder announced the creation of the Spaulding Accelerator program for start-ups to facilitate early stage development of new products and services for entry to the market. All of the teams selected for awards at the Hackathon were eligible to participate in the Spaulding Hackathon.

This year’s event was held in Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center (N.E.R.D) in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Among the many exciting aspects this year were two key note speakers, Dr. Hugh Herr, Director of the Biomechatronics

Group at The MIT Media Lab and Andrea Ippolito, VA Innovators Network Lead, Department of Veteran Affairs and Co-Founder MIT Hacking Medicine.

The ultimate goal of the event is to advance the mission of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and rehabilitative medicine by improving the quality of life for patients and families. “This is such an exciting time as the power for innovative ideas to revolutionize our approaches is greater than ever. It was such a thrill to be at this year’s event and see it grow even more as we foster these teams to make profound change to our field,” said Dr. Binder.


To learn more about the Spaulding Hackathon visit Spauldingrehab.org/hackathon

With the many different conditions I have, I feel they did everything humanly possible and I have come away from the pain program with some excellent tools.

A Painless Patient

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