Originally excavated in London,
England in 1954, the ancient
Roman ruins of the Temple of
Mithras were hastily moved
and haphazardly reconstructed.
Interest in the project was so
great that the excavation team
created a two-week window in
which the public could watch
archeologists at work.
Now, a project run by the
Museum of London Archaeology aims to reconstruct
the temple once again on
its original foundations. The
temple will be one part of a
new Bloomberg building, to be
completed by 2017.
To ensure the temple’s rebuild
is as accurate as possible, the
project team put out a call for
public stakeholders who witnessed the original excavation
to share their stories—and any
photos or memorabilia they may
have—from the event.
“It was quite phenomenal,”
project manager and archeologist Sophie Jackson told the
BBC of the original project plan.
“They expected a few hundred
people to turn up, and on the
first day 35,000 queued up for
an hour-and-a-half slot.”
Healthcare innovations are no longer confined to research labs. Following the IT sector’s
lead, hospitals and other healthcare organizations have begun executing a new kind of project
to develop life-saving solutions: hackathons. The competitive around-the-clock events have
traditionally brought together software developers and entrepreneurs to rapidly build applications from scratch.
Healthcare hackathons add medical experts and engineers into the mix to identify the
sector’s pressing needs and help devise solutions. The stakeholder
landscape—including corporate funders looking for certain types of
breakthroughs—is complex, but strong project leadership can keep
everyone moving in the same direction.
“We want people to focus on a problem, rather than jumping to
the technology,” Allison Yost, co-director, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology’s Hacking Medicine, told Slate.
At one hackathon put on by Ms. Yost’s organization, a team tackled the costly patient scheduling problems that bedevil U.S. doctor
offices. The solution: an algorithm that optimizes schedules and
minimizes patient wait times by mining patient data to predict who is
likely to miss or cancel an appointment.
Along with Hacking Medicine, organizations such as New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) have planned
and executed hackathons.
Launched in 2012, CAMTech events aim to generate healthcare
innovations for low- and middle-income countries in just 48 hours.
The organization has executed seven hackathons in India, Uganda
and the United States. The planning phase typically lasts three months, and budgets range
from about US$50,000 to US$300,000.
At each hackathon’s start, participants (known as “hackers”) have 60 seconds to present
a healthcare challenge and pitch an idea to solve it. Everyone then self-assembles into small
teams, gravitating to the pitch that most interests them. At the event’s conclusion, each
team presents its rapidly prototyped solution to a judging panel—with prizes, potential development opportunities and winners’ bragging rights at stake.
“The core idea is to bring people together across disciplines, across sectors and across
geographies,” says Elizabeth Bailey, director, CAMTech, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The CAMTech team works to ensure that participants at every hackathon represent
three disciplines: medicine, engineering and business. “The most exciting innovation
happens at the intersection of those three fields,” says Smitha Gudapakkam, business
development manager, CAMTech.
Clinicians, who represent the innovations’ end users, might point out that a nifty-sounding technology wouldn’t work in practice. Meanwhile, an engineer might
observe that an innovation is just not technologically possible, or a businessperson
might note that it couldn’t be manufactured at a price that would drive mass adoption.
The different sets of expertise inform and correct one another.
“So you have this rapid iteration process where people are free to throw out anything,
idea is to
—Elizabeth Bailey, CAMTech,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Temple of Mithras ruins in