Creating the Future of Health

Merck Hackathon

13-14 November, Darmstadt, Germany

The first-ever Merck Hackathon, which focused on solving current problems in the health sector, was organized by the Merck Innovation Center in cooperation with Information Services on November 13-14, 2015 in Darmstadt, Germany. The event brought together 42 attendees, mostly students of the TU Darmstadt and the Darmstadt University of Applied Science. After a warm welcome by the Merck Chief Information Officer Jim Stewart emphasizing the potential of connecting IT and medical science, the ambitious hackers began their assignments.


The Hackers were allowed to choose to focus on one of six possible challenges, all representing real problems that Merck employees are facing in their different departments:

  1. Develop a configurator for individualized pill distribution and packaging.
  2. Reinvent the daily lunch break – solve common issues like overcrowded restaurants, mistimed meetings with friends, and not knowing what is on the menu. Bring this process to the future and make it a truly collaborative and fun experience.
  3. Raspberry Pi for business use: Proactively identify issues with temperature conditions within the logistic process.
    Raspberry Pi technical challenge: Connect a Raspberry Pi, which collects sensor data, to Hadoop, an open-source software framework, running in AWS. Create a report based on the data and use the information to pursue a study.
  4. Create a game that oncology patients could use while they are receiving the therapy. This game will be a learning and entertaining experience designed to comfort and patients.
  5. Utilize the data that wearables collect from customers and use it to supplements can be given individually. Combined with individualized production, a concept for ideal supplementation should be developed.

And the Winner is…

After 24 hours, the teams presented their ideas to the jury, which consisted of Merck professionals and scientists from partner universities.

The winning team worked on Challenge No. 1. They developed a concept for personalizing medication to avoid confusion between the different daily prescriptions that patients take. In the concept, patients would be involved in designing the color and shape of the pills and their packaging. By having different shapes and colors to identify different medications, the pills are easier to recognize and patients can become more familiar with the drugs they are taking.
The team consisted of Laura Schillke (Hochschule Darmstadt), Max Sommer (Hochschule Darmstadt) and Daniel Stehlik (Hochschule Darmstadt). Congratulations!


Our Partners

Technische Universität Darmstadt
Hochschule Darmstadt