The challenge was held in 3 places around the globe simultaneously: MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA, Imperial College of London Hackspace in the UK and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel.

Coders, patients, medics and innovators came together to develop devices that could assist people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

The focus of this Breathe Easy Hackathon was improving the wellness of COPD patients, but all the presentations pointed to one important missing link: Prevention.

So we created an immersive gaming experience for kids at a sensitive age for up-taking smoking. Pro-Lung Experience includes a breath-operated COPD simulator controlled computer game and a lifestyle board game explaining lung health through a visual language understood globally. The aim of our project is to prevent respiratory diseases, especially COPD, through well timed, engaging education. Analogue statistics show that it would also dramatically increase the funding to COPD research through the heightened awareness.


Imperial College Advanced Hackspace report

My team Krypton had some pretty amazing people in it:

Paulo Martins for coding and yielding big data from sensors into a smooth gaming experience.

Alessandra Nilsson-Ladner, an Imperial student with mix fashion and mechanical engineering background, our voice and presenter.

Ambuj Agrawal for entrepreneurial ideas and assisting with coding. Second time Hackathon winner.

Michele Tonutti for engineering and passionate visionary input. A man of many talents!

Dayo Ajayi-Obe for medical expertise and human factors understanding with an entrepreneurial sensibility. 

And, of course, me, Helena Nora Vitola for product and graphic design and team leading.

The event was particularly well organised, with plenty of support from medical, technical, business and human factors consultants and mentors.


One of the most clever tweaks about the organisation was the “prehack”: a briefing done one week before the event, after announcing the teams. It gave us a chance to think about the problem and come together as a team on several Skype meetings to discuss it and to find out about each other.