GENOME LINK API Challenge @ SD Hacks 2017

Students hard at work. 30 minutes before Hack Submission…!

Awakens is back in the Hackathon scene, this time at SD Hacks in San Diego!

A shout out to our awesome second-time sponsor, Illumina, for contributing an event ticket to the prize package, and staffing genetic counselors to help students with the ideation process. SD Hacks is an annual student Hackathon hosted by the Triton Engineering Student Council of UCSD. More than 1000 students flocked to the event hosted at the UCSD RIMAC Arena from all over California, over 60% of whom are Computer Science majors.

$3000 cash prize for the best hack using GENOME LINK API!

$3000 cash prize challenge

Awakens joined as an event sponsor to introduce a first-ever Genomics Track, at the request of a former participant and current UCSD student. (Engineering-heavy fields, such as IoT and VR, have traditionally had a strong presence at SD Hacks).

The challenge? “Best Use of GENOME LINK API”. From Friday 10pm to Sunday 10am, students in teams of up to 4 had 36 hours to build an app personalized based on the user’s genomic information by integrating Awakens’ GENOME LINK API.

The prize? $3000 prize money and a “Watch and Learn” ticket to Illumina Understand Your Genome Symposium.

Winning Hack: GenoConnect

A team of two UCLA students took home the grand prize. The winning app, GenoConnect, matches people by phenotypes of interest and degree of similarity / dissimilarity. For example, if you are interested in mental health because you suffer from anxiety, you can select genetic personality traits and choose “similar”, to match with people who similarly suffer from anxiety or other mental health issues.

Once matched, you will enter a chat room with the other party. Neither your genomic data nor your phenotype information is revealed, so users can enjoy full anonymity and privacy. You can use the chatroom to discuss concerns and share ways to deal with your common condition, or simply chat with the comfort of knowing that you share common ground.

Whereas apps with a “match” function tend to serve a specific purpose, such as for dating or for carpooling, GenoConnect offers a lot of flexibility in its use. It maintains the social aspect while allowing users to purpose the chat room to fit their needs.

Current and future GENOME LINK users, keep an eye out for GenoConnect, to be released on the platform in the upcoming months!

Team GenoConnect from UCLA poses with the Awakens Team

Student teams’ amazingly creative DNA-personalized apps

The Awakens Team was very happy to mentor and work with students to build out ideas and realize their full creative and technical potential as software developers this weekend! We had heard snippets of ideas throughout the weekend and we were all excited to see what kind of DNA-personalized apps the students had built in a mere 36 hours. There were 20 out of 97 total submissions to the “Best Use of GENOME LINK API” challenge. Here are a few of the other awesome ideas submitted:

Gene and Drive User Interface. Gene and Drive helps the user keep track of intoxication level and promotes responsible drinking.

Gene and Drive: The app keeps track of the user’s state of intoxication based on the user’s genetic alcohol tolerance, physical characteristics, and the number of drinks they have taken. It also estimates the amount of time until the user can drive safely. It is a fun social app while also promoting responsible drinking.

Uplift: A chatbot that pulls information using the GENOME LINK API to inform the user on his or her genetics traits, such as food allergies and personality traits. Besides the informational value, Uplift also sends uplifting messages to encourage healthy lifestyle changes and improve mental health.

GeneRec UI: Discover music, movies, and books tailored to your genetics

GeneRec: A personalized recommendation app for movies, music, books, and more, optimized with individual genetic information. It is a substantial upgrade from current recommendation systems which are based on age, gender, location, and other physical parameters.

Orenda: A menstrual cycle tracking app that incorporates individual genetic information. The app includes all aspects of a conventional period tracking app, such as the calendar, while also visualizing the interactive network of phenotypes that influence how women feel at different phases of the menstrual cycle. This app will help women manage their periods more effectively.

Suibirth: Suibirth is an app that helps discourage suicide attempts and seek real-time help from passersby through text message and mobile communication. The stream of communication is triggered when a potential suicide is detected, based on the user’s genetic suicidal tendency (pulled from user’s genetic personality traits) and location (whether they are in a suicide hotspot or not).

SuiBirth’s demo video

Tastebud: Yelp meets genomics in this app where Yelp listings are re-ranked based on the user’s genetic taste preferences and shown in a Google Maps view. Users can more effectively weed through the myriad dining options by narrowing it down based on their intrinsic preferences.

36 hours of caffeine overdose, sore eyes, and an abundance of SD Hacks-sponsored food (yay!) later, the students and the Awakens Team alike were very happy to see the light of day outside again!

DNA-personalized apps: the future of personalized services

Sequencing your entire genome costs $1000 today — slightly out of the average person’s ballpark on casual spending. But Illumina, the giant in DNA sequencing hardware, says this price will drop to $100 in just a few years’ time. In parallel with the rapid advancement of DNA sequencing technologies, the digital genome market is projected to expand to $45 billion within the next decade. With our genetic information more accessible than ever, how will we use this wealth of personal genetic insight day to day?

Awakens’ mission to empower individuals with knowledge on their DNA information is realized through GENOME LINK API. GENOME LINK API provides the tools for anyone who can manipulate code to build their own DNA-personalized app. We work with software developers, students, designers, and entrepreneurs at Hackathons and workshops to ideate and build these apps. We envision a near future where an abundance of DNA-personalized apps at everyone’s disposal is the norm, for every individual to gain actionable insight from their DNA at any place, at any time.

The solution: GENOME LINK API

Awakens’ GENOME LINK API enables software developers to incorporate genomic insights into their projects by allowing access to the interpretation of relevant genomic information from Awakens’ annotation database. (Don’t worry — you do not need to know anything about genomics! Let us handle the science.) Get the genomic information using the OAuth authorization flow. A highly personalized user experience is easily implementable in your app based on the user’s genomic information. Tutorials and code samples are available online, and more comprehensive SDK implementation and documentation are coming soon!
GENOME LINK API is currently available free of charge for developers interested in creating genomic applications. Contact us at for more info!

A developer and want in? Join our Meetup community to stay tuned for future GENOME LINK API Hackathons and workshops in San Francisco. Or follow our Medium blog, Facebook page, or Twitter for updates and online events!

Have your genome data already? Visualize your entire genome and get access to a 30+ genetic traits report with GENOME LINK. Sign up for free now!

SD Hacks Photo Gallery