Students Develop Creative Tech Challenge Solutions

Monday, August 03, 2020
Image shows all six students in a virtual meeting online.

Students created innovative solutions in areas of food service, transportation, telehealth and education in the first TechPoint Summer Opportunities for Students Challenge.

Six Rose-Hulman students contributed to four teams earning top honors for creative solutions from college students on how Indiana businesses and organizations can manage through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Their ideas were part of the first-ever TechPoint Summer Opportunities for Students Challenge (SOS), a new component within TechPoint’s talent-focused offerings to encourage workforce development and opportunities for more than 500 Indiana college students. When several national corporate summer internships were canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the TechPoint organization and Indiana tech leaders stepped in to provide students from Rose-Hulman and other Indiana colleges with valuable work and professional development experiences.

Teams including Rose-Hulman junior Andrea Wynn and senior Michael Hall presented their solutions before Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb at the SOS Challenge competition on July 31 in Indianapolis. The projects, Holcomb told TechPoint in a news release, “reinforce Indiana’s place in the world where IN stands for Indiana, but also innovation.”

Wynn, a computer science, software engineering and mathematics major, contributed to the Red Riding Hood app that earned best solution honors, among projects supporting community-based non-profit organizations in meeting the demand for food pantry assistance, while providing safety precautions to mitigate exposure to COVID-19.

The app streamlines the process of food selection and delivery. Customers can select specific baskets of food based on dietary restrictions, and select a preferred pick-up time, which helps the pantries keep workers socially distanced.

The judges gave the team a perfect technical score and the highest combined point total in the competition, with an assessment that the app’s “user flow is seamless and intuitive,” according to TechPoint.

Meanwhile, Hall, a mechanical engineering major, helped develop NoQ, which took top honors among transportation solutions. The app allows air travelers to pre-book and reserve security clearances online, easing the risks and stresses for passengers and Transportation Security Administration agents. Judges assessed that “this visually appealing solution seems like a viable product that could go to market with relatively little tweaking. The solution addresses the issue of crowding that is heightened during COVID-19, but could be useful even during non-pandemic times.”

Another winning entry was Uunify, an app and website for schools and colleges whose development was led by senior computer science major Michael Nutt. The team also included Chloe Koutsoumpas, a sophomore biomedical engineering student.

The app manages students’ schedules during online/hybrid learning and enables schools to manage how they deliver their materials to students. All lectures and assignments a student needs to see are on a single page, which improves students’ ability to manage time and decreases the chances of missing something and falling behind in coursework.

“We were impressed by the team’s decision to pair their solution with the learning management system,” the judges told TechPoint. “We can see how a software product like this could help significantly with organization and schedules.”

The top telehealth app was PainTrackr, developed by a team including Ash Fowler, a senior computer science major, and Claire Mihalko, a junior chemical engineering and chemistry student. The app enables chronic pain patients to easily report their symptoms to their doctors. It also tracks medications and compiles patient data for clinicians. The judges believe there is a huge market for the product while adding “it’s a great looking mobile app!”

Other students were members of teams that worked for nearly one month on developing their solutions. They received technology and business assistance through virtual teleconferences and chats with leaders from such companies and organizations as Allegion, Appirio, Baker Hill, Cisco, Cummins, Eli Lilly and Company, Genesys, Google, Infosys, Lena Works, NEXT Solutions, Renaissance Electronic Services, Republic Airways, Salesforce, and Software Engineering Professionals. Elevate Ventures, which supports entrepreneurs with development and capital, invited the teams to apply for its pitch competition.

“We were really impressed with the work the students put into these solutions, and are really happy that each of the 90 teams we assembled entered a well-thought-out solution,” said Mike Langellier, TechPoint president and chief executive officer.

To watch a video about the competition, click here