Margaret Roth By Margaret Roth • April 14, 2015

Montgomery County's Thingstitute Hosting "Internet of Things" Hackathon


Contact: Dr. Brenda Bannan <> 703-901-2177

Montgomery County’s Thingstitute Hosting “Internet of Things” Hackathon

ROCKVILLE, MD — The Thingstitute, Montgomery County’s new lab space for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, is welcoming programmers and IoT researchers to a hackathon supporting the work of a volunteer Global City Teams Challenge action cluster. The focus will be on building prototype IoT and data analytics tools for emergency and medical training. The Global City Teams Challenge is a national project supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and US Ignite.

From Friday April 17 at 6:00pm to Saturday April 18 at 9:00pm, participants will build new technologies that combine the power of proximity beacons, sensors, micro-computers, and wearables with the Experience API (xAPI) interoperability specification. This collaborative effort of local programmers and researchers, hardware and software companies, and emergency response and medical professionals will work to develop an open ecosystem of prototype IoT technologies to be tested and deployed in emergency and medical simulation training exercises.

The hackathon, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by INOVA Fairfax Hospital’s Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center (ASTEC) and Arnouse Digital Devices Corporation (ADDC) with the support of the Learning Analysis Research Corporation. “We are very pleased to sponsor an innovative hackathon to connect Internet of Things technologies and the xAPI specification,” said Paula Graling, DrNP, Education and Clinical Director at ASTEC, “This is an opportunity for programmers, designers and digital enthusiasts to brainstorm hardware solutions for emergency response, medical and surgical training.”

Hackathon participants will work with state-of-the-art IoT computer hardware such as Arnouse Digital Devices Corporation’s BiodigitalPC I-Cards which provide a powerful computing experience and support a distributed IoT ecosystem around fully functional x86 PCs the size of a credit card. “We’re proud to sponsor the hackathon,” said Michael Arnouse, CEO of Arnouse Digital Devices Corporation. “Our Mobyl Cloud portable server and our ultra small BioDigitalPC will provide part of the hardware infrastructure and smart hub for the IoT approach to emergency response, medical and surgical training in this challenge.”

Radius Networks, a DC-based hardware company, is supporting this challenge with Bluetooth Proximity Beacons that will work in conjunction with the computing hardware to continuously provide information on location and proximity to other devices such as mobile phones and micro-computers. “As the industry's first multi-beacon technology provider, Radius Networks is thrilled to contribute,” said David Helms, Chief Product Officer at Radius Networks. “Our proximity beacons will instrument the emergency response, medical and surgical environments in this challenge to better understand how the professionals involved interact in three dimensional space and with their environment during training simulations. We are happy to provide our technology and expertise to support this valuable endeavor.”

All of the hardware and software solutions developed at the hackathon will be connected through the xAPI interoperability specification. Developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative at the U.S. Department of Defense, xAPI provides new levels of interoperability to data projects involving learning and training. The technology specification shows considerable promise in supporting the development of IoT technologies for smart cities initiatives and can be used to gather data about immersive live-action and high-stakes training situations.

“While this event focuses on applications to emergency and medical training, the outcomes will also provide an opportunity to show how xAPI and IoT can work together to support the broader scope of cyber-physical systems which will be crucial to the development and growth of smart cities,” said Shelly Blake-Plock, CEO of Yet Analytics. “We are happy to bring our expertise in xAPI to the hackathon and we think that the outcomes of this event will be of interest both to the emergency and medical communities as well as to mayors and innovation leaders from local, state, and federal governments working on smart city deployments.”

The action cluster is a volunteer network comprised of teams from INOVA Fairfax Hospital, Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department, and technologists and researchers from Maryland and Virginia, including from George Mason University whose partnership with the surgical simulation program at INOVA Fairfax Hospital helped to launch the project. “Our partnership with the Division of Learning Technologies in George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development brings state-of-the-art learning technologies to the new ASTEC simulation lab,” said Dr. Graling. “It fosters innovative ideas like this hackathon and new approaches for medical and surgical training that may ultimately improve patient care.”

The group is taking part in the Internet of Things Global City Team Challenge sponsored by NIST and US Ignite and will be presenting along with action clusters from across the country on June 1, 2015 at the Global City Teams Challenge Festival.

To attend the weekend  hackathon at The Montgomery County Thingstitute, register at for free tickets.



The Thingstitute at the Montgomery County Innovation Lab

The Thingstitute is pop-up co-working and lab space for the Innovation Program and its Internet of Things (IoT) projects. It will be a temporary home for our partners and Montgomery County startups exploring IoT technology. For more information, see:

Global City Teams Challenge

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) is a collaborative network of project teams, or “action clusters,” working on innovative applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within a smart city / smart community environment. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and US Ignite have teamed-up with the Department of Transportation (DoT), National Science Foundation (NSF), International Trade Administration (ITA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Energy (DoE) to create the Global City Teams Challenge to advance practical applications of the latest research in cyberphysical systems. The Global City Teams Festival will be held in Washington, DC on June 1st at the National Building Museum; see details at  and contact or for further information. For more information on Global City, see:

INOVA Fairfax Hospital Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center

The new Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center (ASTEC) on the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus is the most technologically advanced surgery simulation facility in the region. The center provides surgeons, surgical residents and surgical teams unsurpassed real-time surgical training and education to improve skills, allow for observation and evaluation, and provide team-building opportunities to benefit patient care and safety. For more information, see:

Arnouse Digital Devices Corporation

Arnouse Digital Devices, Corp., (ADDC) is a high technology firm, concentrating on the miniaturization, and small factor, of high-performance computers, servers and high security devices. ADDC was founded in 2002 by Michael Arnouse, the CEO and President of the Corporation. Currently, offices are operated on both the East and West Coasts. ADDC owns fourteen patents in the areas of computer hardware and security devices. For more information, see:

Yet Analytics

Yet helps organizations leverage big data to improve human capital and to understand the outcomes of their training programs. Leveraging new database technologies and the power of the xAPI specification, Yet helps to provide a meaningful way to work with data — making it both interoperable and accessible to deep analysis. For more information, see:

Radius Networks

Radius Networks works in proximity technology, building the industry’s first multi-beacons and providing concurrent support for both iBeacon™ and AltBeacon™ proximity technologies. Radius’ technologies provide seamless proximity services across iOS, Android, and other emerging mobile environments and are available with the widest range of power and packaging options, including AC-power, USB-power, long-life battery, indoor and outdoor, weatherproof ruggedized enclosures. For more information, see:

Experience API (xAPI)

People learn, explore, and interact with the world in many different ways. Likewise, learning content and activities come in many forms, not just web based lessons delivered through a web browser. The Experience API (xAPI) is one piece of ADL’s effort to leverage these emerging solutions and provide a rich platform on which to build dynamic, diverse and engaging content without the constraints previously imposed by earlier learning specifications. xAPI is an ongoing, community-driven specification with contributors participating from around the world. For more information, see:

George Mason University College of Education and Human Development

The Division of Learning Technologies (LT) of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University promotes innovative academic programs and research-based practices related to the design, development and integration of learning technologies in schools and communities and in corporate, government, and higher education settings. For more information, see:

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