Emory and Georgia Tech Students Unite to Hack Mental Health and Climate Change

Emory and Georgia Tech Students Unite to Hack Mental Health and Climate Change
Kicking of the Final Round of Competition for the Spring ’23 EGHI/GT Global Health Hackathon.

Manhole covers using machine learning algorithms to harness the effects of flooding due to climate change and AI to gamify mental health therapy were the two winning entries in the EGHI/GT Global Health Hackathons held in the Spring and Fall of 2023.

The Fall 2023 event hosted by EGHI and GT’s Create-X prompted student teams to envision solutions that address one of the following threats to health, safety, and security: urban flooding or urban heat in Atlanta or global sea-level rise in densely populated, low-resource urban settings. The winning team selected by a panel of expert judges included Imran Shah from Georgia Tech and Leonardo Molinari and Jiaqi Yang from Emory’s Departments of Math & Computer Sciences. The joint Emory-GT team presented the innovative solution iManhole, an integrated system that gathers real-time data from manholes and uses machine learning algorithms to predict flooding to manage traffic and evacuation routes. 

Winning Team iManhole takes questions from the judges during final round of competition.

Winning Team iManhole takes questions from the judges during final round of competition.


The Spring 2023 Hackathon final round saw more than 40 students across 8 teams present their tech solution to mental health challenges, including maternal health, support for Black faith-based groups, and telehealth. A joint GT-Emory team of five freshmen rose above to competition to win first place with their innovative solution, SensAI.  Team SensAI developed an AI-based, socially interactable application that gamifies cognitive therapy for children with neuromotor disabilities.

The theme of the Spring 2023 competition focused on mental health challenges because they are significant causes of disability, important risk factors for premature death, and costly with respect to societal welfare globally. Many students, including Rachel Logue from Emory College of Arts and Sciences expressed a deep connection with the theme, “My eyes lit up as I read the EGHI/GT Hackathon theme - Mental Health Technologies. I entered without hesitation, excited for the journey to come.” 

Hear more from our judges and participants who connected with the mental health theme and flourished throughout the competition week. 

AI-based Application Wins Top Prize at Mental Health Technologies Hackathon

Emory Global Health Institute and Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X launched the first global health hackathon in 2019. The competition offers an experiential learning and entrepreneurial experience uniting students from Emory and Georgia Tech’s fifteen schools and colleges to address global health challenges. The top five teams win cash prizes and the first place team earns the opportunity to take their solution to market through Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X’s Startup Launch.


EGHI/GT Global Health Hackathon is a collaboration between Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI), Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X, the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory, and The Hatchery Center for Innovation. 

About Emory Global Health Institute

EGHI unites students, faculty, and partners across disciplines in research, programs, training, and discourse to empower communities and improve global health. Students participating in EGHI programs receive real-world experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to understand, innovate and solve complex global health issues.


CREATE-X is a Georgia Tech initiative to instil entrepreneurial confidence in students and empower them to launch successful start-ups. The broader goal of this initiative is to provide the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences that will give Georgia Tech graduates the confidence to create their own future and confidently pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory

The mission of the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering is twofold: to educate and prepare students to reach the forefront of leadership in the fields of biomedical engineering, and to impact health care significantly by assembling a world-class faculty who shape the cutting edge of research in key biomedical areas. Coulter BME biomedical engineering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs are consistently recognized among the best in the world.

The Hatchery Center for Innovation, Emory University

The Hatchery supports student innovators and entrepreneurs from all Emory schools, and covers all stages of innovation from inspiration and learning to projects and startups.