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Tele Vital: an innovation born out of necessity

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These young engineers intend to build a versatile platform which would enable effective assessment and communication between people and healthcare professionals

Hackathons have always been an important part of how people come up with new ideas and innovations. In the last few months, there have been several hackathons to encourage engineers across the globe to build technology-based solutions that can fight the COVID-19 pandemic. One such hackathon – CODE19 – was organised by the Motwani Jadeja Foundation and HackerEarth in collaboration with partners such like TIE Mumbai, IAMAI Startup Foundation, Mumbai Angels Network, Association of Designers of India, Stumagz and GirlScript. The event had three leading academic institutions as partners – National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad), IIT Kharagpur and Centre for Entrepreneurship – Ashoka University. This was a 72-hour online hackathon event to find solutions to India’s challenges against the menace of COVID-19.

The panel of judges to decide the winners included names such as Gaurav Aggarwal, Co-Founder, 1mg.com; Manish Amin, Co-Founder, Yatra.com; Praveen Nahar, Director, National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad); Vishal Gondal, Founder, GOQii; Vaibhav Aggarwal, Founder, Fabhotels.com; Amit Ranjan, Co-Founder, SlideShare; and Jitender Minhas, CEO, IAMAI Startup Foundation.

Tele vital and its vitality

Crisis such as COVID-19 requires a new set of ideas and mitigation strategies. Therefore, this hackathon aimed to bring forward different, yet unique ideas. According to the organisers, the hackathon had multiple themes like medical treatment and testing wherein participants came up with technical solutions for reducing the severity of symptoms of COVID-19. Some solutions also focussed on testing and delivery of essential services. Some built IoT (Internet of Things)-enabled digital assistants for surgeons and patients that involve building a dashboard and reporting tools for patients’ data monitoring or data-backend decision-maker for surgeons with features like care plans, healing time estimation, patient feedback or customised counselling for patients.

Amongst the several innovative ideas was one prize-winning idea called the TeleVital. This is a solution for contactless health assessment of a patient. It enables remote diagnosis of COVID-19 patients to reduce the risk of infection for healthcare workers and captures a patient’s vital statistics remotely through a Webcam and browser. It was created by a team of six students of Manipal Institute of Technology – Jithin Sunny, Joel Jogy George, Rohan Rout, Rakshit Naidu, Megha Baid and Shivangi Shukla.

Speaking about their experience in building this prototype, these ingenious students share, “Hard work and innovation were invested into this project, and after hours of brainstorming, we could finally come up with a reliable solution which could help in the current scenario. Building the project posed many challenges which included finding the appropriate technologies and integrating them into one single app.”

On the anvil

These young and aspiring engineers have a strong vision. They are focussed and have charted a clear vision for their efforts. “The vision behind it was to help healthcare professionals, as the current focus majorly is upon the safety of civilians. We thought it’s equally important to ensure the safety of those who we need the most at a time like this. The future plans involve building this project into a product-level deployment and expanding its horizon to other domains of health technologies too. We want to build a versatile platform which would enable effective assessment and communication between people and healthcare professionals,” disclosed one of them.

Here is some vital information revealed by the Manipal Institute of Technology team:

Technology utilised: Technologies used in the project varied according to the features. The chatbot used reinforcement learning, vitals measurement implemented image processing and deep learning through OpenCV and TensorFlow; app deployment was carried out through flask with the web page being developed with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Working for approvals: The app has been tested on a few people and has reportedly given accurate results in terms of vitals measurement. Other features like a chatbot, digital prescription, etc. are not subjective and have been tested. We look forward to working with different bodies to help as many people as we can.

While the idea and innovation both seem impressive, but its true potential will be determined only when it is deployed on a large scale and more and more healthcare providers adopt the TeleVital.

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