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Public Health IT Team Win Hack Arizona 2018

 Center, from left, Teresa Portela, Peter Siqueiros and Michael Lewelling with Google sponsors of Hack Arizona 2018.

Center, from left, Teresa Portela, Peter Siqueiros and Michael Lewelling with Google sponsors of Hack Arizona 2018.

Congratulations to Teresa Portela and Peter Siqueiros in the Information Technology Department at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health for winning the Grand Prize in two categories at Hack Arizona 2018.

Over 900 participants gathered at the UA January 12-14 to build software and hardware projects from start to finish in under 36 hours among their peers, mentors and company sponsors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Teresa and the team are a mix of UA students and alumni. Teresa is an information technology support analyst, senior and a computer science major working on her bachelors. Peter is an applications systems analyst and developer who graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s in computer science. Their friend and teammate Michael Lewelling is a computer science major. 

Their winning idea is Guardian, a stand-alone, mobile and GPS enabled smart watch that allows caregivers to locate, track and monitor a loved one in real time including vital signs such as heart rate and pedometer.

The concept for Guardian was developed out of necessity. Teresa’s father-in-law has early onset Alzheimer's. 

“We wanted a way to maximize his freedom without sacrificing his autonomy. I did a lot of research trying to find a product to help us. The options on the market are too costly and they don’t include all the features we would need to keep him safe,” said Teresa.

Guardian has the capabilities to work independently from a smartphone. With cellular embedded in select Android watches, Guardian can work without WiFi Internet or a cellular phone. The application on the watch also works without interaction -- the wearer doesn’t have to touch a single button. It leverages cellular connection on the watch itself to send updates to the selected family member or caregiver.

Working together, the team coded for over 20 hours straight and ended up winning Microsoft’s Social Impact Award and Google’s Best Use of Google Cloud Platform. They each went home with a VR headset from Microsoft, Google Home Minis, and Google Cardboard.

Fresh off their win at Hack Arizona, the team is now preparing to compete in the UA’s 4th Annual IdeaLaunch, a student venture accelerator from InnovateUA, for the $25,000 prize. To prepare, they will spend the next 6 weekends perfecting their product.

Both Teresa and Peter will be leaving the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health after this week. Teresa has accepted a position as Information Security Analyst in the UA Information Security Office. Peter is heading to Phoenix and a new job as Software Developer for the United Services Automobile Association. 

Nice work hackers! Although we will miss you when you’re gone, we hope to see you soon pitching Guardian on Shark Tank!

The University of Arizona red triangle graphic