Bengaluru: Amid the coronavirus health crisis, NASSCOM FutureSkills, IBM and Beatest hosted a nationwide ‘Crack The COVID19 Crisis’ hackathon in April. It was won by Mashup Team13.

“One of the most challenging aspects of operating remotely was to transform the in-person collaborative experiences that had to be done by participants from home. #CrackTheCOVID19Crisis hackathon initiative was definitely an eye-opener on the power of fostering collaboration among students across diverse institutions to move quickly on a unified cause,” the organisers said.

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Amit Aggarwal, CEO SSC NASSCOM & Co-architect NASSCOM FutureSkills said, “Despite the spectre of COVID looming large, there’s no reason to give up on our vision of making India a hub of digital talent. The dominance of technology has never been felt more. A hackathon is a great way to push innovation and prepare students to become future digital leaders. I would like to congratulate all the winners of the challenge. Also would like to thank our partners IBM and Beatest for making this possible. I look forward to seeing many more multi-stakeholder collaborations like these that spans across Industry, Academia and the Government to empower students and help them build tech skills.”

The hackathon that went live on April 23, received a total of 26,478 participants from 580 institutes across 26 states and Union Territories. While the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a massive list of issues that requires solving, there were three issues that were given as problem statements in this hackathon on Beatest’s platform; Crisis Communication, Remote Education and Community Cooperation.

Students put their best foot forward and the winners of the hackathon were announced on on June 8.

Mashup Team13 won the ‘Crack The COVID19 Crisis’ national online hackathon by building an AI-powered virtual human healthcare coach which provides the latest information on COVID-19, promotes health literacy, combats misinformation, helps in self-symptom checking, monitors vitals signals, and also acts as a mental therapist providing low-level interventions using CBT techniques.

First runner-up Brogrammers from KJ Somai College of Engineering, developed an auto proctored examination platform that uses face detection and eyeball tracking to reduce exam malpractice and second runner-up Covid Strikers from GH Raisoni Institute, Pune, built a solution to tackle migrant workers’ problems by facilitating a smoother interaction, migration requests and raising alarm on fake news.

Priya Mallya, Country Leader – Developer Ecosystem, IBM ISA said, “IBM is uniquely positioned to connect leading humanitarian experts and talented developers in developing technology solutions that can save lives and create a better world. We are excited to collaborate with NASSCOM on the Covid19 track of Call for Code 2020 that aims to bring specific solutions to tackle the epidemic up to the global stage. Solutions like Mashup Team 13’s will get global recognition from participating in the challenge and guidance in their future development.”

“The hackathon allowed students, faculty members, academia and people like you and me who want to give their shot at flattening the curve, join and form teams to work around shared issues they are passionate about,” said Sayantan Chatterjee, Founder and CEO, Beatest.

“It’s exciting to see that even in a complete virtual environment the student community remained so active and enthused. We provided a special 24x7 support on the platform given the amount of queries we were receiving on a daily basis regarding the hackathon. Their energy was infectious,” he added.

At the end of the day, it’s about energising the community. This is really what the community in India needs now.