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UJ students won Discovery IT Graduate Hackathon

An innovative Android mobile application that is set to transform software development has won a four member student team from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) first prize in the 2014 Discovery IT Graduate Hackathon.​​​​​

The team Health Ninjas, which comprises of Michael Wright, Egbert van der Westhuizen, Lourens Badenhorst and Martin Trollip, is all UJ’s Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering students.

​​​The team has beat off the challenge of some of the top computer science, engineering and informatics students from acro​​ss the country to win the first ever Discovery Graduate Hackathon, sponsored by Discovery Health, one of South Afr​ica’s largest medical aid schemes. The Discovery challenge explored innovative workable solutions for its trend-setting wellness Programme, Vitality.

The team’s winning idea had nine elements embodied in an Android mobile application, which included track running distances; a QR scanner for food items; a hacked Arduino sensor used as a heart rate monitor that alerts the mobile application of erratic cardiac behaviour with escalating urgency depending on level and duration of the activity, allowing emergency services to be dispatched without the need for any physical interaction from the member, and social media integration.

Prof Elize Ehlers of the University’s Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering, says that computer science is central to driving innovation and development of communities locally and on a global scale. “The quality of the solutions from UJ students was commended. These students’ creativity fills me with hope and excitement because it speaks volumes about the promise of technology to advance the way we think, work and communicate in South Africa, and beyond,” she said.

She concludes: “The Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering is proud of all its students that took part in the Discovery IT Graduate Hackathon. Wining the competition is testimony of the quality that will always be the key to our educational model.”​​


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