App to detect counterfeit drugs wins hackathon

Abu Dhabi: An app designed to tackle counterfeit drugs in the region using blockchain-based pharmaceutical distribution won the first place at New York University Abu Dhabi’s international hackathon.

The app named DAWA was developed by Priya Aswani and her team of students from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).

The annual International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World is a three-day programming marathon that brought together aspiring hackers from universities from over 16 countries.

Renowned international computer science professors, founders of successful start-ups, technology professionals and venture capitalists leading teams of talented computer science students from all over the world gathered to create mobile and web applications.

This year, the teams developed innovative applications relevant to diverse fields such as health, education, film, music, business and science for the benefit of social good in the Arab World.

“The hackathon was not only something to learn from on the technical front, but also a rich cultural engagement with individuals from every corner of the world,” said Priya Aswani, leader of the winning UOWD team.

“The 72-hour tech-drive gave us a taste of all the buzzwords one could possibly think of, from AI, to NLP, machine learning, robotics, data science and blockchain. As Team Dawa, we developed a transparent platform to prevent counterfeit medicines from entering the pharmaceutical supply chain, with blockchain helping us steal the show.”

The third place was awarded to Fares Al Ghazy and his team from UOWD for creating a platform that assists refugees and asylum seekers in communicating with health care professionals, using machine learning and natural language processing.

Lokesh Bhatia and his team also from UOWD showcased a solution for collecting in-class live metrics of student participation using Emotion AI and affordable interactive technology to provide better feedback for decentralised refugee camp teachers and schools. Their project ‘Insahny’ was among the Top 10 best ideas.

“Besides being exposed to the creative process of designing and implementing innovative solutions, the students got the chance to network with like-minded individuals from around the world,” said Dr May El Barachi, Associate Professor at UOWD.


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