Today in APIs: Teen's App On Malaria Wins Y Combinator

Greg Bates
Aug. 07 2014, 07:59PM EDT

A teenager has won the recent Y Combinator Hackathon with an App that has far reaching health implications. Ireland to hold its first Hackathon on Internet of Things. Plus: VoltDB claims IBM cloud 5x faster than AWS, and Money 20/20 announces a hackathon.

Y Combinator Hackathon Prize Goes to Teen with Malaria Detection App

Last weekend Y Combinator held a hackathon with some 400 contestants. The top prize was an interview with Y Combinator staff that could potentially lead to financial backing to the tune of $120,000, plus support to get the app ready for pitching to venture capitalists.

athelas y combinato

If Daniel DeBolt's report in the Mountainview Voice is correct, the winning app might actually be a worthy addition to Apple's suite of health kit apps:

Tanay Tandon, a 17-year-old Cupertino resident, won the interview with Y Combinator for his "Athelas" app. He said it will allow anyone with an iPhone to test blood for malaria. It turns the smartphone into a microscope using a $5 ball lens over its camera, and analyzes blood cells shown in the photo against known patterns for malaria. A crowd that had gathered to see presentations from finalists watched Tandon take a drop of blood from someone in the audience and place it on a slide positioned over a cardboard tube with a light underneath. Working on the cement floor, Tandon held his phone over the slide to take a picture, ran the app, and said the volunteer was malaria-free - accounting for some margin of error.

There's a silly side to this test--the participant was almost guaranteed to be free of malaria. But beneath that unavoidable flaw in the sample is a bold claim: since almost all diseases can be detected in the blood, this app and its offshoots may have profound implications. Among other entrants was a Myo gesture control band for controlling devices with hand and arm motions, and an app that works when you share a video. The latter kicks in to record the responses of the recipient watching your video, then sends that video of responses back for you to watch in sync with the original clip.

Ireland To Hold its First Internet of Things Hackathon

PCH International is hosting an Internet of Things hackathon September 12-14 at the DCU Innovation Campus. PCH is a supply chain and delivery company, the only non-Tiawanese final assembly company listed on Apple's supplier list; it also works with Beats headphones and smartphone maker Xiaomi.

hardware hackathon

As John Kennedy reports in the Silicon Republic,

Modelled on the successful Startup Weekend - the largest of which recently took place in Ireland - hardware innovators will form teams to devise hardware that will make an impact on people’s lives. They will then pitch their idea before a panel of judges. To make it happen, an extensive list of developer kits will be available, including Arduino kits, Raspberry Pis, Intel Galileo boards, 3D printers and even a CNC machine for people to make prototypes of their ideas.

The idea, at least in the far distant future, is that Ireland may one day be home to hardware mass produced for the global market.

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Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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