Mendota students attend premier technology event

A team of Mendota youth, left to right, Iris Espinoza, Kevin Cuevas, Ted Landgraf and Andrew Stamberger, enriched their path toward careers in science, technology, engineering or math during a recent technology event held at Northern Illinois University. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA - A team of four Mendota students participated in a 24-hour, internationally-recognized technology event at Northern Illinois University over the Nov. 4 weekend. “Huskie Hack 2017,” a regional technology and invention competition, included opportunities for technical skill acquisition, as well as career development provided by industry and university level experts.

The local team consisted of MHS senior and part-time IVCC student Iris Espinoza, daughter of Dr. Ricardo and Rosa Espinoza; MHS senior Kevin Cuevas, son of Felipe and Elba Cuevas; Northbrook 8th grade student Ted Landgraf, son of Mitch and Tammy Landgraf; and Northbrook 8th grade student Andrew Stamberger, son of Jason and Rebeccah Stamberger.

The Huskie Hack is an official event of Major League Hacking. This year’s challenge themes related to health care, public health, neurobehavioral health and aging. Teams collaborated on the “hack floor” to address one of these challenge issues during a 24-hour period to create and develop a working prototype of a device, application, or system.

The Mendota team coded a website and app and produced live video as part of a comprehensive care system to support elderly persons living at home. Their invention focused on addressing loneliness - the most widespread and most easily-solved issue facing this population, by including regular interaction with a caring, professional case manager called a “Grampion.” In addition to the personal touch, the “Grampion App” served as a comprehensive, technology-based system that addressed age-in-place needs such as:

* communication with loved ones, care providers, pharmacies, and transportation;

* service provider scheduling,

* automated medication dispensing/monitoring, vital sign/health monitoring with EMS and loved one alert capabilities,

* trend data reports to health care providers,

* voice control of smart home devices, and much more.

The team’s project did not win one of eight prizes awarded from among over 110 schools represented but it did receive the judge’s commendation for the quality of their website, coding, demonstration videos, and their recognition that technology without the human component would not successfully serve the specific needs presented in the challenge.

Major League Hacking (MLH) is the official student hackathon league. Each year, over 200 weekend-long invention competitions inspire innovation, cultivate communities and teach computer science skills to more than 65,000 young people around the world. MLH is an engaged and passionate “maker” community, consisting of the next generation of technological leaders. The students from this team intend to pursue careers in medicine, coding or engineering in the software, electrical, agricultural, or computer science fields.

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