COPD Foundation Partners with Novartis Pharma to Host Global Hackathons, Innovators Gather Together to Find Solutions to Improve Quality of Life for Millions Affected by COPD

September 11, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 11, 2015 – The COPD Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to curing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in association with Novartis Pharma, and supported by product design and development firm, Cambridge Consultants, will host three respiratory “hackathon” events, entitled Breathe Hackathons. The events will bring together designers, technicians, engineers, patients, physicians, and entrepreneurs to investigate solutions to many of the problems COPD patients face daily. COPD is a condition that affects an estimated 30 million Americans and over 250 million individuals worldwide. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and is characterized by increased wheezing and breathlessness.

Over two days in Boston, London, and Tel Aviv, innovators from around the world will meet to “hack” into medical equipment for respiratory use such as CPAP devices, nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, and sleep monitors in the hopes of integrating different solutions under a common platform to ultimately offer better health outcomes and improved quality of life for patients. These events will be held in three countries; September 19 and 20th at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, and on September 20 and 21st at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. Hackers from each school will be competing along with industry experts, COPD patients, and professionals in an effort to develop what could be the next big technology solution to a worldwide lung health epidemic.

Each location will field ten teams experienced in assorted disciplines, each examining and working with similar equipment. Teams will be given free rein to explore solutions to many of the problems respiratory sufferers face daily including attempting to integrate multiple devices for nighttime and daytime use, lightening existing medical equipment, or even adding Bluetooth interfaces to equipment so users can control their equipment through their smartphones. One such integrative design to be explored is the potential to allow a nebulizer to automatically administer breathing medications through an oxygen concentrator prior to the patient waking up in the morning.

The Breathe Hackathons follow the highly successful COPD Crowdshaped event, a two-day workshop for thought-leaders in the field of technology in June 2015 in San Francisco. Many of the resulting ideas developed during COPD Crowdshaped will be tested during the Breathe Hackathons.

“The Breathe Hackathons are a unique and innovative approach to tackling common obstacles individuals face everyday with COPD,” says John W. Walsh, president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation, “The Foundation strives to develop meaningful and effective change for our community, and I believe the partnerships we have forged with the tech industry will propel our mission to improve the lives of those living with this devastating disease.”

Results of these efforts will be presented at the European Respiratory Society Annual Meeting taking place in Amsterdam September 26-30, 2015 and prizes will be awarded to the top innovations.

The COPD Foundation would also like to acknowledge and thank our industry sponsors: Philips Respironics, ResMed, Inova Labs, and Sensirion.

For more information or to register for any of the events, please visit the Breathe Hackathons website.