Pune Students Bag Prize at CODE19 Online Hackathon against Coronavirus


Four students from AISSMS College of Engineering, Pune – Ankita Shashikant Shinde, Rohan Sarnjit Dhiman, Shreyas Abhay Ghorpade and Swapnil Jawale – havebagged the third prize of $3,000 at the recently concluded CODE19 online hackathon against coronavirus in India. Their winning entry, the Covid19 Fact Checker web app,uses authentic government, scientific, and public-health information to bust misinformation and fake news about the Covid19 pandemic.

The 72-hour online hackathon was hosted by the US-based Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation. It saw thousands of innovators and developers from India and abroad compete online from the comfort of their homes to create open-source solutions against the Coronavirus crisis facing the nation.

Said 21-year-old Ankita Shashikant Shindefrom AISSMS College of Engineering, Pune“The world was taken unawares by the Coronavirus pandemic. To make matters worse, there has been a spurt in online circulation of fake news, rumors and misinformation about it, misleading people and creating unnecessary panic. To curb this phenomenon, we developed the Covid19 Fact Checker web app.”

Added 21-year old Rohan Sarnjit Dhiman from AISSMS College of Engineering, Pune“Smartphones and social media platforms can spread misinformation about Coronavirus very quickly among the masses.The Covid10 Fact Checker can be accessed online by anyone from anywhere in the world. Users can input any piece of information or news related to the pandemic into this online solution. The web app’s machine-learning algorithm can instantly verify whether it is genuine or not, by referencing a data-set of authentic information that is updated constantly at the backend. We hope this solution will go a long way to restrict the spread of fake news and fake news about Covid19.”

Said well-known entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and change agent Ms.Asha Jadeja Motwanithe Founder of Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation which hosted the CODE19 online hackathon:“We were overwhelmed by the high quality of entries received and the deep enthusiasm shown by all the participants. A community of hackers and mentors, especially young students from all parts of the country, came together to enable India’s fight against Coronavirus. I believe the qualitative, open-source projects created at this hackathon would help mitigate the impending Corona-inflicted challenges in India. I am hopeful that the total prize money of $34,000 awarded to winning teams will enablethem to realize their solutions and bring them to market.”

The first prize of $10,000 was bagged Abhinand C and Shilpa Rajeev, two students from the Government College of Engineering in Kannur, Kerala. Their winning entry, called iClassroom, involved a modern virtual classroom for the millennial generation. It connects students with teachers through a social media-type interface for uninterrupted learning in the time of the pandemic.

The second prize of $5,000 was claimed by six students of Manipal Institute of Technology for enabling remote diagnosis of Covid19 patients to reduce the risk of infection for healthcare workers. Their solution, TeleVital, captures a patient’s vital statisticsremotely through a Webcam and browser.

The third position was shared by two other teams, with each of the three winning teams awarded $3,000 as prize money. Apart from the Covid19 Fact Checker, the winners included SoloCoin which gamifies social distancing by allowing people to earn “solo coins” by staying at home and redeeming them for rewards from various merchants, and Grape Community, an open platform that connects people with their neighborhood shopkeepers and suppliers.

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