FedEx Institute of Technology Holding Virtual Hackathon to Highlight Important Issues During Pandemic   

April 17, 2020 - As an opportunity to come together (virtually) to identify, support and bring innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges currently affecting us all, the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology will host the Fighting It Together Virtual Hackathon April 20-24. 

Using quick online collaboration sessions, participants will work together in teams to identify needs and opportunities with the goal of developing and implementing solutions related to virtual learning, medical shortages and navigating business operations in an ever-changing and ever-challenging environment.

The Institute will offer remote sessions over the five-day period as part of a virtual hackathon designed to honor social distancing, while also addressing critical ongoing issues many of us are experiencing from both a global and local perspective. Sessions will include problem pitches, team development, mobile app development, tech “how-to” sessions and daily standups. See the full schedule here. This event is free and open to everyone. From more information, or to register, visit the Fighting It Together event website. 

The Institute will hold various events over the next couple of months focusing on COVID-19-related issues and the global impact it is having on supply chains, inventory controls, manufacturing, health care, technology, cybersecurity and more. Events include:

 • COVID-19 Lightning Talks

• Round of Five Questions with research cluster leaders

• Global Game Jam with the COVID-19 virus

• Tech networking sessions

 We are also collaborating with the School of Public Health to finalize a series of interdisciplinary webinars concerning telehealth and vulnerable populations. These include:

 • Increasing access by engaging parents and caregivers

 • Lessons learned setting up the home environment, technology, etc.

 • Ethics in telehealth

 • Incorporating best practices through telehealth

 • Opportunities presented by telehealth

 • Training health professions students (clinicians) via remote learning

In addition to these events designed to bring the community together to build innovative solutions to these changes, the University of Memphis is leveraging its research capacity to address the COVID-19 challenge and the many ways it has upended life for everyone. 

One critical response has included the University of Memphis Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab (MAMLab) working to produce critical equipment for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). Led by Dr. Ebrahim Asadi, assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering, he and his team answered the call to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) face shields using their fleet of 3D printers in the MAMLab. 

Also, researchers at the MD2K Center of Excellence, headquartered at the UofM and housed in the Institute, in collaboration with a local infectious disease expert, announced the launch of a free mobile app called mContain to reduce the community transmission of COVID-19.

mContain uses location and Bluetooth technologies in smartphones to detect proximity encounters (within six feet for several minutes) with other app users. The app displays the level of crowding at busy places on a map and also has an option of a confidential COVID-19 patient proximity alert if a user and their COVID-19 test provider both agree to share the results of their test. 

The free mContain app is currently available at the mContain website (mContain.org) and via the Google Play Store for Android devices; an iOS version for the Apple App Store will be released shortly. For more information on MD2K research, visit their website>>.

 For more information on these initiatives, visit memphis.edu/researchor fedex.memphis.edu


Mary Ann Dawson l mdawson@memphis.edul 901.678.1596