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Hacking Healthcamp 2018 in Strasbourg

Groupe_887Apr. 10, 2018

Currently, I’m part of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in the Network Business Division, CTO Office. Having played various roles in the past 19 years – yep, time is flying by – (development, project management, product management, innovation) one of my current missions is to promote ALE products: Our Cloud Unified Communication Rainbow and its APIs and also the new Stellar LBS solution that delivers indoor positioning services based on BLE beacons (integrated or not in ALE Stellar WLAN Access Points).

Although this is my job, I had more in mind: To have fun and enjoy every moment at the event.

19 years in the same company sounds strange to many people in the hackathon and in 19 years, this was my first participation to a hackathon!

And…guess what? It was a great experience in Strasbourg. Despite the flu that accompanied me on the flight back (which is quite fun returning from a healthcare event), it was a great opportunity to meet with healthcare professionals, designers, developers (mostly younger people but we even saw one Product Managers enjoying coding).

It was also a great opportunity to meet with ALE colleagues from other parts of the world – mainly Strasbourg but also Dubai – and shared a lot of things and even team-building.

2 days and nights of intensive work and some fun

For the hackathon, I presented a project that helps visually impaired people in the context of the hospital (well, this is a healthcare event). The idea was to use the Stellar LBS solution (APIs and beacons that were deployed in the buildings of the hackathon) to deliver a solution based on a mobile app and vocalization of the navigation path.

We decided quickly after the first pitch session to merge this project with another one whose purpose was to help blind people in detecting obstacles using a 360 BT headset from Sony.

The combined idea resulted in using Stellar LBS to guide the visually impaired based on their current position given by Stellar LBS SDK. The paths were defined in the map and used with ultrasound sensors to detect obstacles that were not defined in floor plans – such as a wall, or a table in the middle of the corridor – and play a sound in a Bluetooth headset. The sound would come from the right if the obstacle was on the right and vice versa.

The end result was a headset for the visually impaired: A mix of clear and simple vocalized instructions (turn 3 hours then walk 25 steps – you arrived at destination, be careful of the door) and white noise to correct the path.

The architecture?

Noooo, not this time, guys. But roughly, it is based on a single device handling the complete solution (Raspberry PI3). It was not possible to fully implement the solution in two days, but this is technically doable. So, OK, a MAC was running on the table during the demo pitch – a mobile in the pocket – but it’s a hackathon 🙂

By the way, I think the full implementation on Raspberry is now in progress, because the hackathon does not really end at the end of the hackathon and some people in the team were really motivated to move forward.

After discussions with the daughter of a blind person, we decided to finally use the ultrasound sensors on a hat (the one at the Hacking Healthcamp) rather than on a belt because blind people, today, tend to use a stick or a dog to detect obstacles near the ground but not the ones that are at face level (see pictures).

Fun also to see the various profiles that comprise a team. From the ultra-geek developer to the designer that can fake a prototype with super powerful tools (this was not our case), to people working on the business impact. Others who coached the team members in charge of the pitch (in the team, we had a guy with seven years of theater behind him. For him, pitching is super easy). Other people in charge of raising disruptive questions, organizing the planning of the team (yes ! you cannot just code) , and more. All together, you get a very complementary team. I think this was our case.

Our project Hear Through was awarded two times:

  • ASIP Santé
  • Alsace Business Angels

As a coach, I was also pleased to help the project team SurVite – winner of the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise award – to implement Stellar LBS stuff. They used it to help locate victims of an incident in an enterprise context (man-down). For those who know, the use case is similar to what is delivered today by ALE’s OpenTouch (OTNS).

To finish: A BIG thank you to the team (Guillaume, Florence, Mouhamadou, Manu, Raphael, Benoit, Cenk, Michel), our coach Frédéric and the HHC team (Sebastien, Lionel & Anna) for these three super nice days.