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Hackathon Develops Tech Tools to Fight Ebola Epidemic


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An aid worker prepares to deal with an Ebola-infected patient.

The Ebola Crisis Hackathon assembled teams of physicians and graduate students to develop software and systems that can be used by West African communities to help fight the Ebola outbreak.

Credit: Mohamm ed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The University of Oxford earlier this month hosted the Ebola Crisis Hackathon, which brought together physicians and graduate students to develop software and systems that can be used by the West African communities being affected by the Ebola outbreak.

One of the tools developed at the hackathon is the Eulerian video magnification tool, which uses free software developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Quanta Research in Boston to detect a patient's heart rate using a webcam and a handheld infrared scanner. The tool can help identify those in the throws of the disease's characteristic fever.

Another tool developed at the hackathon is a real-time map showing the locations of Ebola cases and qualified medical practitioners. The tool will make it easier to know where to send skilled medical workers. The project is hoping to collaborate with a medical professional social network known as Medicine Africa to get information about physicians.

Finally, the hackathon produced a tool developed by student Mark Gilbert that diagnoses individuals by asking them a series of questions via SMS text messages.

All of the teams currently are attempting to partner with aid organizations to put their tools to use or to secure further funding.

From New Scientist
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