Hackathon: understand atypical brain

The challenge of the hackathon is to design a new EEG headset for children (the details of the challenge are provided below). It has not changed. Yet, the entire context of the hackathon, its title and, importantly, the date have changed. 


This is how we define specifically the challenge of the hackathon:

The direct challenge of the hackathon is to design a better EEG headset for children. The project has to meet the requirements of the researchers and provide comfort for the children who are being diagnosed. It needs to be: cheap, mobile, light, easy to handle, aseptic (single use?). It needs to be put on quickly. The headset needs to be made of a material that is gentle for the head skin. 

The indirect challenge is to “give a pace leader that group of researchers has to follow;” i.e. to influence the pace of research in this area by providing a better tool to diagnose atypical brain development. For example, such a headset might allow to conduct diagnosis at home, what might show a trajectory of the brain development. Examinations conducted frequently even in the non-ideal environment provide more valuable data than a single examination conducted in the laboratory. 

Why do we introduce such a change?

Our hackathon is an ever-improving project. Since we launched an event on Facebook, a series of intense preparations are conducted on the backstage. Paweł Szczęsny (initiator) and Mateusz Pawełczuk (CNK’s coordinator) meet with many experts that conduct research on the development of child and infant brain and exchange e-mails and FB messages with people who have approached us: parents, ASD adults, representatives of institutions promoting knowledge about autism, therapists. As a result of this open discussion, we decided to shift the focus of the communication about the main challenge of the hackathon. 

It has occurred that not only ASD specialists wait for the new helmet, but also all the researchers that examine atypical brain development. If we manage to design a better tool, there is a chance that the research in this area will accelerate. 

Hackathon’s backstage: hacking the communication

Why do we show the backstage of our work? We think that this is the real value: the better the challenge is designed, the more work we do during the preparations for the hackathon, the better the results of the work of the teams that will show up. 

Teams that participate in hackathons know the dynamics of these processes: iteration, quick tests that use a prototype, quick introduction of the improvements. The final effect is attained quickly and it is a result of repeating a few of these cycles. Our hackathon follows the same rhythm.  On the backstage of the event there are the on-going meetings with experts, the organizers confront their knowledge with the knowledge of the representatives of different groups and the experience of practitioners. In one word: tempestuous. 

As a result: “Hackathon: autism – redesigned” has been redesigned to make its challenge perfectly correspond to the contemporary needs of the researchers. 



EEG is a powerful diagnostic technique. However it is lacking in terms of usability. Traditional EEG caps, required to position electrodes precisely, are painfully slow to put on. Some new designs are not single use therefore not aseptic – an important requirement concerning devices for newborns and infants. As a result, availability of EEG as a screening tool (for example for early detection of epilepsy or autism spectrum disorder) is limited.

We are looking for designers, hackers or medical doctors to join us on 22nd of July 2017 for the hackaton concerning design of the new EEG cap for infants. The hackaton will take place in the buildings of Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw.

Preliminary info: mateusz.pawelczuk@kopernik.org.pl

When and where?

5-6 August 2017,
24 h
(start: 5/08 at 10 a.m., end: 6/08 at 10 a.m.

Copernicus Science Centre