Social Distancing ‘Bubble’ Wins First at COVID Hackathon

Top Projects Also Include Face Mask That Monitors Temperature, Contact Tracing Device

MELBOURNE, FLA. — A virtual bubble and related app that alert users when someone breeches the 6-foot social distancing barrier for COVID-19 protection won the top prize at a hackathon for high school students centered on novel concepts related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The November event, hosted by Florida Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design and sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), featured students from public and private high schools across the Space Coast.  

The winners, who each made videos explaining their projects, were:

  • First place: Charlie Collins, a senior from Satellite High, for his virtual bubble and app. Using an ultrasonic signal, the wearable device lights up if someone is closer than 6 feet. Additionally, the phone-based app can track and display a warning when the 6-foot distance is compromised. Here’s his video.
  • Second place: Mikhail Kryuchkov, a sophomore from Trinity Preparatory School, for a face mask for students that would monitor their temperature, distance and coughing and send the information to a server via the student’s mobile phone. Here’s his video.
  • Third place: Matthew Krininger, a sophomore at West Shore Jr./Sr. High, for a wearable device that helps with contact tracing by sending out and recording unique signals from other, similar devices that can then alert those devices when a person tests positive. Here’s his video.

Each of the three winners will receive a VIP tour of the Florida Tech campus and the university’s L3Harris Student Design Center, a $250 Florida Tech Bookstore shopping spree and lunch at Panther Dining Hall. The first-place winner also receives a 3 Pro 3D printer, and the second-place winner gets a 3D printer pen.

“We were impressed by all of the entries but particularly struck by the ingenuity and near-immediate impact the three winning projects could have,” said Dan Kirk, dean of the College of Engineering and Science. “They zeroed in on several of the biggest pandemic challenges and developed creative and intelligent solutions.”

Ken W. Tobin, vice president of research and university partnerships at ORAU, said: “I want to congratulate Charlie, Mikhail and Matthew for being recognized in this year’s COVID-19 Hackathon, and to thank the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design at Florida Tech for hosting this competition. It is our hope that all of you are considering a career in science and technology and I wish you all the best as you move forward with your education. As you move into your college careers, ORAU is here to help you identify important internships that will provide you with experience that will help you achieve your career goals.”

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