April 8 – April 9, 2017

Columbia's Premier Health Hackathon



HealthHacks is a two-day hackathon combining creative hardware and software solutions to real-world healthcare problems through innovation, creativity, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

The inaugural HealthHacks will take place at Columbia University from April 8-9, 2017 over a period of 24 hours and will start in Davis Auditorium at 8:00AM on April 8th.

HealthHacks emerged from a quest in 2017 to integrate and scale emergent health technologies to critical needs within the ecosystems of health and wellness. A team of passionate students within BMES and HTA teamed up with IBM Watson and its partner STMicroelectronics to provide novel tools for hackable discovery.

We seek to engage the talents of the HealthHackers community. They are 100 designers, students, engineers, healthcare professionals, and business experts with diverse backgrounds committed to provide scalable solutions as interdisciplinary as the teams that devise them.

Thanks to the collaboration between IBM Watson and ST and their long-term efforts to provide high-end IoT solutions, HealthHacks provides the community with a unique range of powerful tools, from hardware to software, to enable prototyping of wearable devices for medicine, healthcare, and biotechnology.


Access the IBM Hacking Toolkit here and the source code here.
Access to STMicroelectronics Hardware requirements and instructions here

We understand that you will be focusing on many concepts in the hackathon, inluding: idea generation, design, development, testing, and more. To help ease some of the challenges you'll be facing, IBM Watson is providing resources and starter apps, as well as a list of sensors that will be provided for you to checkout at the hackathon. These starter apps solve the problem of syncing data between devices and servers, letting you focus on the problem you'll be solving instead of worrying about getting the data from the device.

We currently have iOS, Android, and Server Starter apps.
Also make sure to check out the scenarios and datasets sections if you're looking for ideas to help you brainstorm your hack.

Interested in opportunities at IBM? Find out more by clicking here


Interdisciplinary health hackers of hardware and software

Hardware Hackers

Biomedical, Electrical, Mechanical, and all other Engineers!

Software Hackers

Computer Scientists, Data Scientists, and Informaticians!

Health Hackers

Doctors, Nurses, and all other Clinicians!

Business Hackers

Business Students and all Lean Launchers!


David Sable, MD

Columbia University

Jeffrey Rogers, PhD

Global Research Lead of Cognitive IoT for Healthcare

About the Speakers:

David Sable directs healthcare and life science investing for the Special Situations Funds and is portfolio manager of the Special Situations Life Sciences Fund. He is a corporate director of Genenews, a Toronto-based diagnostics company and of Hamilton Thorne, a Massachusetts-based life science company. Dr. Sable graduated from the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His medical career included residency in obstetrics and gynecology at New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and clinical practice at Harvard Medical School and MIT, before co-founding the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey. After leaving clinical medicine at age 43, Dr. Sable managed a proprietary healthcare portfolio at Deutsche Bank before joining the Special Situations group. Dr. Sable has lectured on healthcare investing, healthcare policy, bioethics and biotechnology business development at the University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Columbia and Rutgers, and has delivered keynote addresses to the American Fertility Society, the Texas Fertility Society and the Mexican Fertility Society. In addition to his academic publications, he has written for the Newark Star-Ledger, Yoga Journal, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, and Nature Biotechnology.

Jeff Rogers is a Distinguished Research Staff Member leading IBM’s global efforts in cognitive and internet-of-things (IoT) technologies for healthcare. He has held technical leadership positions in industry, government, and academia creating innovative microsystem and healthcare technologies. Prior to joining IBM, Dr Rogers was a Director of Engineering at Google where he established a cardiac care technology portfolio and a DARPA program manager where he developed and fielded tools to address battlefield brain injuries. He has also held positions as faculty at California Institute of Technology and as a scientist at HRL Laboratories. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. from Emory University. In 2014 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and was a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in Science & Environment finalist. He also received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award in 2012 and an achievement award from the US Special Operations Forces in 2011.



First Prize


Second Prize


Third Prize


First 50 students who RSVP will receive additional giveaways from IBM!

Top 20 individuals will be invited to tour IBM Watson's World Headquarters!


Saturday, April 8

  • 8:00 AM

    Breakfast & Participant Check-in

    We'll kick things off in Davis Auditorium, grab some breakfast and meet potential teammates!

  • 9:30 AM

    Keynote Speeches

    We have exciting speakers from Columbia and IBM!

  • 10:30 AM

    Presentation of Hackathon Rules and Judging Criteria

    Learn the ropes so that you can walk away with the big prize!

  • 11:00 AM

    Team Formation and Hacking Begins

    Find the missing links in your perfect team! Meet engineers, clinicians, scientists, coders, and entrepreneurs!

  • 12:00 PM


    Grab a bite to eat to refuel!

  • 1:00 - 5:00 PM

    Technical Tutorial Sessions (optional)

    Learn the ins and outs of all the hardward and software at these informative technical tutorials!

  • 6:00 PM


    Chow down to keep you fueled through the night!

Sunday, April 9

  • 8:00 AM


    Grab some breakfast!

  • 12:00 PM

    Final Projects and Presentation Due, Followed by Lunch

    Submit your pitch decks and your final projects!

  • 1:30 PM

    Team Presentations Begin

    Step on stage and blow us away!

  • 5:00 PM

    Award Ceremony

    Find out if your hack was the best hack!


Title Sponsor

Gold Sponsors


Partnering with IBM Watson IoT


Impress these people with your creativity!

Adler Perotte

Columbia University

Eileen Koski

IBM Watson

Jia Chen

IBM Watson

Derek Brand

Quicksilver Biosystems

Arthur Panov

IBM Watson

Judging Criteria


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I attend if I don’t go to Columbia?


Is prior hacking experience required?


What is the ratio of hardware and software hacking?

We're encouraging both, so there is no designated or desired ratio.

What kind of hardware will be there?

STMicroelectronics Nucleo boards, many kinds of biosensors (see requirements and instructions here)

What if I don’t have a team?

You can join or make a team during team formation or work on your project solo.

How many people are allowed on a team?


When are applications closing?

Online Registration will close at midnight the night before, but we are allowing walk-ins so you can register at the event.

Are you allowing walk-ins?


Will there be food?

Yes, and lots of it.

Do you guys offer travel reimbursements?

Not currently but we're looking into it.