• Lin Zhu

First Place - Assistive Technology Hackathon

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO LORO! This past Tuesday, Loro won first place at the final round of Prize4Life’s Assistive Technology Hackathon. This was no typical hackathon.

First, a little on Loro's journey. Loro, previously known as OWL Assistive Technologies, was founded at Prize4Life’s Assistive Technology Hackathon Round I in October 2017. Our current board members all met at the hackathon and were all eager to work on creating a product to help broaden a user’s field of vision and increase independence. Upon receiving funding in Round I, we and 9 other teams proceeded to Round II in December 2017 to compete for additional funding. In December, the three winning teams then received additional funding to continue developing: Loro (then OWL), SmartAir (an orthopedic cushion for relieving stress), A Respiratory Monitoring Device.

Through the mentorship and wonderful support from Prize4life, MIT Hacking Medicine, and Microsoft, we now have “Loro,” a smart companion for wheelchair users to improve their independence and connection.

Round III took place on May 29, 2018 in Boston, in which a panel of expert judges and investors awarded first place to Loro. Loro was awarded 10k to continue developing and bringing our product to life.

“I believe this hackathon was a life changing experience for all of us. We met here and now we are creating something together. I have to thank all our mentors and users. They have been supporting us since the first day by providing meaningful feedback - and that is the key of Loro project. Thank you Prize4Life, thank you team!” Vanessa Cunha, Finance Coordinator.

“The judges from the competition helped us refocus our product design to address what we set out to do at the very beginning, providing a convenient and effective 360 camera. We found ourselves a bit carried away with other features and functionality, and while those will find their way into our product, we must perfect our camera so that it is easy and intuitive to use.” William Yao, Software Engineer.

“Assistive Tech Hackathon 2017-2018, it was an awesome journey since our journey with three stages. October 2017, December 2017, May 2018. We are passionately working to make it a reality as soon possible with all your help and partnerships with different companies and NGOs to make our technology more accessible for everyone. Much appreciated .. to be continued,” David Hojah, Healthcare Innovator.

First and foremost, we are incredibly grateful for our incredible Loro Team that has worked ceaselessly to bring our ideas to life to help improve the lives of wheelchair users. However, the constant support from our mentors and users, Steve, Diane, Rich, Mike, Jack, Alice, Dexter, was what really took Loro this far. Finally, thank you Prize4Life, MIT Hacking Medicine, and Microsoft for providing this opportunity for us. We owe our deepest gratitude to everyone who has helped Loro get to where we are today.

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