Laying the tracks for a more connected future

September 18-20, 2020

Laying the tracks for a more connected future

September 18-20, 2020


Health Tech

The Health Tech track aims to improve the quality of life for individuals through health and assistance. This includes a wide range of projects, such as tracking sleep for better sleep schedule maintenance, using machine learning on medical imaging to diagnose illnesses more accurately, utilizing speech-to-text to make resources more accessible to deaf patients, and much more.

  • How can we make health services more accessible and more affordable?
  • How can we encourage people to maintain healthy sleeping, activity, eating, etc habits?
  • How can we stay aware of the ongoing health situation in our local communities and states?
  • How can we make diagnosing illnesses more accurate and easier?
  • Assistive Tech: Although technology has greatly improved to aid individuals with disabilities, the world is still inaccessible to them. How can we engineer various solutions to make the world more disability accessible?
  • Addictions: How can we help individuals recovering from addictions stay clean at home and without breaking the bank?
  • Mental Health: Is there a way we can spread more mental health awareness as well as information, treatments, and solutions?
  • Remote Healthcare: How do we make obtaining subscriptions and receiving non-surgical care easier for individuals in the face of a pandemic?
  • Staying Fit with Social Distancing: How can we stay fit and be motivated to stay fit during situations like COVID-19? How can we workout with friends while practicing social distancing?
  • Patient Tracking: Hospitals have a hard time keeping tracks of patients’ records outside of their walls. How can we implement a way to track patients and reduce this problem?
  • LeanOnMe: An app to support people with cognitive differences
  • Breast Cancer Detection: Use of machine learning to break down images of breast cancer cells to aid in breast cancer diagnosis
  • Core: An app connecting individuals looking to overcome drug addictions to a strong support network of volunteer mentors
  • DispenseRX: An end-to-end prescription pipeline in the form of an app
  • Pilot: A motivational AI mood tracker that encourages users to break patterns of negative thinking by introducing new cultures and places
  • Verifast: Fast, secure log-in for healthcare professionals


Education technology, or EdTech, is designed to empower students of all ages and encourage lifelong learning. These projects include any sort of technology that augments and enhances the learning experiences of students, whether it be studying traditional curriculum in a classroom or trying to pick up a new hobby or skill. This track also aims to increase the accessibility of information and accommodate various learning styles and strengths.

  • How can we use EdTech to enhance learning in a traditional classroom setting?
  • How can technology improve students’ retention of information?
  • Can education technology be used to make homework more useful and improve students’ experiences with their at-home assignments?
  • How can education technology make learning more engaging for students of all ages?
  • How can technology be used to introduce young students to STEM fields?
  • Writing, Grammar, and Literature: How can technology be used to improve students’ reading and writing skills?
  • Languages: What can be built to help people of all ages pick up a new language?
  • Early STEM Education: Introducing young students to STEM fields like computer science, math, and biology is critical to developing a lifelong love of learning. How can EdTech best be used to facilitate that passion?
  • Pre-K Education: How can education technology be used to positively shape children’s formative years?
  • Organization and Stress Management: With tasks on to-do lists piling up for students and professionals alike, how can EdTech help people stay on top of their workload and prevent them from becoming anxious or overwhelmed?
  • Cutting-edge Technologies: Can you incorporate advances in fields like machine learning and augmented reality to improve learning experiences? How can these fields be introduced and taught to students of all ages?
  • StudyDate: An education platform for personalized and social learning: assess your current knowledge, identify your weaknesses, and find friends/mentors to help you learn!
  • Text2Test: A website that creates customized tests based on students’ notes
  • AFAR: A learning platform that helps people with learning disabilities focus in distracting, noisy environments
  • VocabViz: An application that promotes learning new language vocabulary through an interactive AR experience
  • OnPause: A tool designed to streamline language learning when watching/listening to online streaming, YouTube videos, or podcasts
  • Google Classroom API: Tools for teachers to facilitate digital learning
  • Conjuguemos: Interactive tool to learn verb conjugations in a variety of languages
  • Khan Academy: Videos and lessons on a variety of topics, including math, science, and grammar
  • Duolingo: Online resource for learning new languages
  • Typeracer: Fun game to improve typing speed and accuracy
  • Coursera: Online courses on a myriad of topics
  • Quizlet: Interactive flashcards
  • EdX: Online courses, including lessons from colleges and universities
  • Scratch: Block-based coding for computer science education

Communication/ Connectivity

The Connectivity track brings people together, connecting them regardless of their physical locations. These projects provide a platform for individuals to become part of a larger community, opening communication channels (both real-time and asynchronous) to help people connect with long-lost friends, meet new acquaintances with similar interests, challenge existing viewpoints, and more.

  • How can technology help us overcome the technological, physical, and psychological barriers that prevent humans from forming meaningful connections with others?
  • Which existing technologies are there to improve connectivity, and which ones are missing?
  • How might different age groups use these technologies differently? How can we use technology to bridge generational divides?
  • What can be built to mitigate feelings of isolation and loneliness (especially during an extended period of social distancing)?
  • Virtual Connection: In light of COVID-19, how can we find ways to meet up virtually to maintain social connection?
  • Fostering Conversation: Now, more than ever, communication is key to improving society. How can technology help people with different opinions have civil discussions that promote understanding of different views?
  • Blogging/Vlogging: What can be created to better learn about or share the lives of individuals in different locations with varying backgrounds?
  • Online Communities: How can we create virtual communities ranging from book clubs to research conferences that connect people based on similar interests or help people find new hobbies?
  • Gaming: What are games that build communities of people who enjoy playing and encourage collaboration and teamwork?
  • Social Media: Can you create the next Zoom or maybe even the next Facebook?
  • Civvi: A project that connects individuals to volunteering organizations
  • CounterPoint: A website that accepts one article and outputs articles with different views on the topic
  • StudyDate: A personalized learning platform that connects people for study dates
  • Rap-Scorer: A multiplayer game using speech-to-text technology to score raps!
  • Eye in the Sky: An application where users can post info about natural disasters to help notify others

Urban Innovation

Urban Innovation strives to tackle the emerging social, environmental, economic, cultural, and technological problems facing cities today. This track welcomes any idea that is meant for the betterment of our community, whether it is on a scale as small as a single street or something as large as helping curb climate change.

  • How can we address the tradeoff between sustainability and affordability?
  • What are ways we can improve the rebuilding and opening up of cities?
  • How can we address safety issues surrounding transportation?
  • How can we improve upon the average person’s carbon footprint?
  • Energy & Environment: How can we build technology that helps more people consume energy in a sustainable and affordable way?
  • Transportation: What are ways we can use technology to encourage public transportation, or usage of private vehicles that are battery-powered?
  • Community & Housing: In the face of COVID-19, paying rent has almost been impossible for the majority of Americans that do not own their own houses. How can we use technology to help millions of people find and pay for their shelter?
  • Civic Engagement: During the past few months, forms of civic engagement, including voting by mail and protesting during the time of social distancing, have become vastly debated topics. What are ways to innovate technology that help citizens address public concerns while staying safe?
  • Immigration: The flight industry has been one of the most impacted during the COVID-19 crisis, and many have had their immigrations processes disrupted. What are possible technological solutions to combat issues around immigration and ensure safe international travel?
  • Villager: A webapp that provides live updates of emergencies in your area
  • SaveMe: A project that uses speech-to-text to determine whether you are too drunk
  • MPGreen: A system to track past driving history to advise drivers on ways they can save energy
  • HomeUp: A web application that shows the timeline of prices of a house to help inform your decision


Linda Avey

Co-Founder and CEO of Precisely, 23andMe

Linda Avey is co-founder and CEO of Precisely, a San Francisco-based precision health company utilizing an intelligent agent technology that automates preventive health. They are initially focusing on the health system of India, where population growth is out-pacing clinical capacity. In 2006 Linda envisioned and co-founded 23andMe, which has become the world's largest consumer interactive genetics research platform. The idea stemmed from her work at Affymetrix and Perlegen Sciences, early tech providers in the genetics industry. Her involvement with patient communities cemented the idea that people would be willing to share their data in order to make progress in understanding their diseases. Today, millions of individuals are participating in 23andMe research studies, providing statistical power needed to make significant progress not feasible through academic models.

Luis von Ahn

Co-founder and CEO of Duolingo

Luis von Ahn is an entrepreneur and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who is considered one of the pioneers of crowdsourcing. He is known for co-inventing CAPTCHAs, being a MacArthur Fellow and selling two companies to Google in his 20s.
He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, a language-learning platform created to bring free language education to the world. With over 300 million users, it is now the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app in the world.
Luis has been named one of the 10 Most Brilliant Scientists by Popular Science Magazine, one of the 50 Best Brains in Science by Discover, one of the Top Young Innovators Under 35 by MIT Technology Review, and one of the 100 Most Innovative People in Business by Fast Company Magazine.

Tom Preston-Werner

Co-founder of Github and Chatterbug

Tom Preston-Werner is a software developer, inventor, and entrepreneur living and working in San Francisco. He is currently the cofounder and Chief Product Officer of Chatterbug, the best way to learn a foreign language online. He’s also building RedwoodJS, a full-stack JavaScript web framework for the Jamstack. Prior to these, Tom cofounded GitHub in 2008, where he served as CEO and helped grow it into the world’s most popular code collaboration tool. On the side, Tom is an angel investor and philanthropist, with an investment thesis focused on fighting climate change. In his spare time, Tom enjoys flying helicopters, snowboarding, and chasing his three young children around the house while making dinosaur noises.

Pooja Sankar

Founder and CEO of Piazza

Pooja Sankar’s life story begins in a village in India. She became a computer scientist and started Piazza to solve the problems she had as one of only three women in her classes. She holds an undergraduate Computer Science degree from IIT, India, a Masters Computer Science degree from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from Stanford Business School.
Piazza Q&A is now the premier social learning platform, helping more than 5 million students learn beyond the traditional classroom in more than 2,000 universities spanning 90 countries. Students use Piazza to work together collaboratively despite differences in learning levels, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, and instructors address their questions as they arise. While Piazza Q&A enables inclusive learning, the Piazza Network opens up career opportunities.

Qasar Younis

CEO of Applied Intuition

Qasar Younis is CEO at Applied Intuition and most recently was the COO at Y Combinator. Prior to YC, Qasar's second startup was funded by YC and acquired by Google Maps. Before startups, Qasar was an automotive engineer at GM and Bosch. He has a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute and an MBA from Harvard Business School. As the foremost enabler of autonomous vehicle development, Applied Intuition equips engineering and product development teams with software that makes it faster, safer, and easier to bring autonomy to market. Applied’s suite of products, focused on simulation and analytics, delivers sophisticated infrastructure built for scale. Industry leading companies of all sizes use Applied to comprehensively test and rapidly accelerate their autonomous vehicle development.

Aileen Lee

Founder & Managing Partner, Cowboy Ventures

Aileen is founding Partner at Cowboy Ventures, a team that backs seed-stage technology companies re-imagining work and life through technology, what they call “life 2.0”. Cowboy Ventures works with a wide range of startups from modern enterprise oriented companies like Guild Education and Lightstep to new consumer digital native brands like Dollar Shave Club and Tally. Prior to Cowboy, Aileen was a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for over a decade, was founding CEO of digital media company RMG Networks and worked at Gap Inc in operating roles. She has degrees from MIT and HBS, is mom of 3 and wife to a startup founder, and is an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow and co-founder of the non-profit All Raise, aiming to accelerate success for women in the technology ecosystem.



What is a hackathon?
HackMIT is a weekend-long event where thousands of students from around the world 🌎 come together to work on cool new software 🕹 and/or hardware 🛠 projects. Websites 🖥 and mobile apps 📱 are common types of hacks, but you can build anything! Think outside of the box! 📦
When is HackMIT?
This year, we will be extending HackMIT to 3️⃣6️⃣ hours! It will start on Friday evening in the east coast, and end Sunday morning on the weekend of September 1️⃣8️⃣-2️⃣0️⃣ :)
What's the cost 💰?
Admission is free and includes mentors, workshops, $wag, resources, and a memorable experience!
Where’s the schedule?
We'll release a more detailed 🗓 schedule in August. For now, know that we’re planning for opening ceremony to start Friday at 9pm EDT and for closing ceremony to end Sunday mid-afternoon.
But I’ve never hacked!
That's totally okay! This year at HackMIT we'll be hosting a series of beginner workshops where you can start getting your hands 🤝 dirty with all things hackathon-y. Those who attend the beginner workshops are also eligible for the beginner prize! 🏅
I have more questions⁉️
Please email us at [email protected] if you've got any questions or concerns! We’d love to help you out :)
A question for you:
Is a hotdog 🌭 a sandwich 🥪? Is cereal 🥣 a soup 🍲? Help our team decide on these cRiTIcAL questions by sending your answers to [email protected] (and any other memes you want to share). Our favorite response may win a prize! Bonus points for sending us a floppy disk!


How does a virtual 🌐 hackathon work?
We will 🅱️e announcing more details in the coming months, 🅱️ut all of the essential parts of our event will remain the same! You'll still get to meet other hackers, talk to our sponsors 💸, listen to prominent leaders 🧑‍💼 in tech, and win amazing prizes 🎖!
What tech or tools should I 🅱️ring?
Probably a computer 💻, some cool ideas 💡, and a lot of enthusiasm 💪
Will there $till be $wag? 🤑
If you reside in the United States 🇺🇸, then we'll 🚢 ship 📬 $wag to you free of charge! Unfortunately, due to shipping restrictions we aren't able to ship $wag internationally 😢
What if I have a slow Internet connection?
You should have no issues participating in our event as long as your Internet connection can handle the bandwidth of a standard video 🎥 call or livestream. Just make sure to download large SDKs or developer tools in advance!
What about hardware hacks?
Unfortunately, we aren't able to provide supplies for hardware hacks this year 😢, but if you're really passionate, that shouldn't stop you from building them!


Can I attend?
If you are a high school 🏫 student or a college 🎓 undergraduate (MIT M.Eng included) AND you are at least 13 years old, then yes!
What if I can't attend?
If you're not currently a student and you want to help 🤝 out, sign up here to help mentor 👨‍🏫👩‍🏫 and/or judge 👩‍⚖️ our hackers! If you have any questions, let us know at [email protected]!
When is registration?
Look out for the opening of HackMIT 2020 registration in July! This year, we'll have two rounds of admissions:

Round 1️⃣ opens July 8th and closes July 24th, 🕛 11:59pm PDT.

Round 2️⃣ opens July 25th and closes August 7th, 🕛 11:59pm PDT.

Teams will be admitted by rounds, and results from Round 1️⃣ will be released before results from Round 2️⃣. Results from each round will be released two weeks after the round ends and applicants will have one week to confirm.
Can my team apply in different rounds?
Y⭕u'll need t⭕ apply in the same r⭕und as y⭕ur teammates t⭕ be c⭕nsidered as a team during admissions.
What if I go to MIT?
All MIT 🏛 students will need to submit an application. If you're an incoming MIT freshman, you will receive automatic admission, but you'll still need to fill out an application to be guaranteed a spot at HackMIT!
Is there an admissions puzzle again?
༼つ ◕_◕ ༽つ༼つ ◕_◕ ༽つ༼つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

  Tracks & Teams

What are tracks at a hackathon? 🛤
To help focus your ideation 🧠 process, we’ve developed four tracks, or impact areas, for you to hack in. The top project within each track will be awarded a prize 🏆. We can’t wait to see what problems you tackle with your project!
How will tracks and prizes 🥇 work?
You'll have the opportunity to submit your project to 1️⃣ (and only one!) of our tracks, making you eligible for that track prize! During our event, we'll also be providing each track with its own set of ideation resources.
Do I have to submit to a track?
You're not required to submit your hack to a track, but you will need to in order to be considered for our track prizes. Tracks are meant to enhance the hacker experience, but if there truly isn't a track for you, don't worry! Projects submitted without a track are still eligible for sponsor challenges and HackMIT grand prizes 🏆🏆🏆.
Do I have to submit a project if I attend?
If you don't submit a project, you can still attend our workshops and listen 👂 to our awesome speakers! However, in order to receive $wag, you must submit a project.
How do teams work?
Your team can have up to 4️⃣ people! You can select teammates 🤼 when you register, or you can register individually without specified teammates. We’ll admit by teams, so rest assured you’ll be able to hack with your friends!
What if I don’t have a team?
If you don’t have a team now, that’s okay 👌! We’ll have team formation and ideation events geared towards helping you find people to work with.