MIT COVID-19 challenge winners want to increase hospital bed capacity with just a smartphone video

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to strain healthcare systems worldwide, the MIT innovation community at the center of one of the US’ most badly hit cities has responded with a hackathon to develop technological solutions to beat the pandemic. Drawing over 240 teams from 1,500 participants around the globe, the event was held between 3rd and 5th April, and one promising idea is already on the way to fruition.


The hackathon winners were Team Isabella led by Tracy Qian, along with Elisa Figazzolo, Marcos Vinicius, Selena Liu, two AI Engineers from Burhan Ul Tayyab and Joseph Goh, with mentorship by Chang Su Lee. The winning solution was an AI engine able to analyse photos of hospital rooms and suggest how the room can be reconfigured to increase the number of beds. By combining sophisticated AI techniques and the rise in smartphone video usage, the solution seeks to ease the burden on hospital beds in the US. 


Team Isabella is excited to collaborate and develop the idea, and an MVP of the solution is currently being made ready for testing. Team Isabella can be reached at their official website or directly via email. Burhan Ul Tayyab envisions the system benefiting both existing hospitals by increasing the quantity of beds and equipment by rearranging them, and also temporary hospitals by predicting how empty rooms can be converted to hospitals in the most efficient way. specializes in AI systems that promote safety and boosts productivity through understanding and responding to events in real-time while preserving individual privacy. A Techstars company, was in Boston for its 2020 Air Force Accelerator when the virus hit. While the situation was disruptive, the company fought circumstances and retooled its core technology to fight COVID-19 prior to the hackathon.

With WHO experts cautious of waves or infection into the future,the race is on to retool for a new normal. Back on the front lines, Philadelphia Health Commission said some hospitals in the region “at or near capacity, especially for intensive care unit beds”. In Philadelphia and its surrounding counties, 1,551 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, Massachusetts began posting daily updates on hospital capacity on 14 April, and state officials currently project somewhere between 47,000 and 172,000 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts by the end of the outbreak

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