Empowering Women's Health: Insights and Innovations from the REDESIGN Hackathon


Women's hackathon at dyson school of design engineering

Students and early-career professionals have joined forces to address women's health challenges and reimagine a more inclusive future healthcare.

Last week, nearly 100 participants came together for the 2-day ‘REDESIGN Women’s Health Hackathon’ focused on the design of solutions for women’s health challenges. Representing diverse fields such as Engineering, Design, Medicine, Public Health, and Business, teams tackled specific challenge areas: gynaecological health, maternal health, cardiometabolic health, and brain and mental health.

Hosted by the Dyson School of Design Engineering and organised by the Women's Health Network of Excellence, the event aimed to spotlight gender health disparities, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovate with a human-centred approach.  

Established in 2023, the Imperial Women’s Health Network is a multi-faculty initiative set up to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research and innovation in women’s health and gender-based health equity. Network lead, Dr Carinna Hockham, says “This event is a prime example of why we set up the network - to create opportunities for students and staff from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to come together and brainstorm ideas to improve the health of women and girls.”. 

While historically healthcare has been predominantly shaped by male perspectives, Dr. Céline Mougenot - member of the network leadership team, and lead of the Collective Innovation Lab at the Dyson School of Design Engineering - stresses the crucial and long-needed shift towards designing healthcare innovations tailored for and co-created with women. This means putting women at the forefront of the design process to ensure that healthcare solutions genuinely meet their needs. 

Keynote speaker, Sarah Graham – award-winning health journalist and author of Rebel Bodies: A guide to the gender health gap revolution– set the scene for the hackathon, providing a whistle-stop tour of the many different ways that women’s health has been under-served. She also emphasised the necessity for a multidisciplinary approach to women's health. 

Students at women's hackathon dyson May 2024

Several workshops were organised to support participants, focusing on Needs Finding and Problem Framing (Tahira Resalat), Ideation and No-Code Prototyping (Jasper Jia), and Business Canvas and Pitch (Linh Nguyen). Shefali Bohra, who co-founded award-winning startup dotplot during her MSc in Innovation Design Engineering, shared her experience creating a FemTech startup. 

Seventeen teams presented their solutions to a panel of healthcare experts, including Dr. Shikta Das (AstraZeneca), Dr. Karim Sandid (Kuma Health), Rebecca Leppard (Upgrading Women), Sarah Fox, and David Robson (TPXimpact), competing for a cash prize and an annual membership to the FemHealth Insights platform, gifted by founder Dr Brittany Barretto. Winners were chosen based on user-centered innovation, development, viability, and communication. 

Panel at women's hackathon

The winning team, MenoBand, designed a smart bracelet for menopausal women, providing relief during hot flushes. It alerts users to hot flushes with colour-changing thermochromic technology and applies pressure to induce cooling. Thermoelectric generators power the device with body heat. Paired with a mobile app, users can track symptoms and access medical insights for comfort. The team will use their cash prize to start developing prototypes for their idea. 

MenoBand winners of Women's Hackathon

Reflecting on their experience, MenoBand team members Amelia Gustave, Hannah Gheel, and Rishi Viswanath, undergraduate students in Design Engineering, shared: 

The insights gained through the various talks were invaluable. And we enjoyed applying what we learnt about user research from our Human Centred Design course to Woman’s Health, an overlooked area within medicine. 

Among other remarkable ideas were an AI-powered monitor for assessing stroke risk factors in women, an IoT device aimed at fostering empathy between peri-menopausal women and their partners, an app empowering new mothers to maintain health goals, an app designed to assist with managing vaginal thrush, and an information system dedicated to recruiting female participants for clinical trials.  

The diversity of creative women-centred solutions truly reflected the success and collaborative spirit of the event.  

Led by Echo Wan, a PhD student in Design Engineering, and supported by student volunteers from various societies, including the Imperial College London FemTech Society and Design Engineering Society, and the Royal College of Art FemTech Society, the organising team was impressed by the enthusiastic engagement of participants, and the caliber of solutions produced. They aim to establish the event as an annual tradition on campus, fostering continued innovation in women’s health. 

Video placeholder image

Photography and videography credit: Hong Liu


Celine Mougenot

Celine Mougenot
Dyson School of Design Engineering

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8166
Email: c.mougenot@imperial.ac.uk

Show all stories by this author


Women-at-Imperial, Mental-health, Events, Engineering-Design-Eng, Healthcare, Public-health
See more tags