Amazon Alexa Diabetes Challenge Announced Finalists


The Alexa Diabetes Challenge harnesses voice-activated technology to improve diabetes outcomes.

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge recently announced 5 finalists who stand to win $125,000 for voice-enabled solutions to improve outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a press release.

The challenge is sponsored by Merck & Co, powered by Luminary Labs, and supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), according to the release.

The challenge was launched in April and invited inventors to develop novel approaches to harness Alexa and cloud-based technology to improve the lives of patients with diabetes. The companies were seeking solutions that would improve disease management for patients, while considering the needs of stakeholders.

Luminary Labs reports that 96 submissions from research institutions, software companies, startups, and healthcare providers were considered.

An independent panel of judges selected the 5 finalists, whose ideas included artificial intelligence (AI) technology and virtual coaches, according to the release.

"We are extremely impressed with the novel thinking brought forth in the finalist submissions. These 5 concepts help us envision how voice technology can help improve health and quality of life for patients with chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes,” said Kimberly Park, Vice President, Customer Strategy & Innovation, Global Human Health, Merck.

The 5 finalists include:

  • DiaBetty from the University of Illinois: A virtual diabetes educator and athome coach that can detect and respond to a patient’s mood. The technology is expected to increase diabetes self-management, according to the release.
  • MyGluCoach from HCLAmerica, Inc: A management solution that incorporates voicebased diabetes educator, lifestyle coach, and personal assistant to individualize the experience.
  • PIA: Personal intelligent agents for type 2 diabetes from Ejenta: A connected care intelligent agent that harnesses NASAlicensed AI technology plus IoT device data that encourage healthy behavior, detect at-risk behaviors, and provide alerts to care teams, according to the release.
  • Sugarpod from Wellpepper: The technology provides voice, mobile, video, and web interactions based on the task and patient preferences to increase adherence to medication and care plans. This solution also includes a smart foot scanner.
  • T2D2: Taming type 2 diabetes, together from Elliot Mitchell, a PhD student at Columbia University, and team: A nutritionist that uses machine learning to provide individualized education and recommendations for meal planning. It also features food and glucose logging, according to the release.

Each of the 5 finalists will receive $25,000 and $10,000 AWS promotional credits, according to Luminary Labs. The finalists will also advance to the Virtual Accelerators to continue developing their technology.

At the end of the Virtual Accelerator, the finalists will present their solution to a panel of judges. The winner will receive a grand prize of $125,000, according to the release.

“Voice technology like Amazon Alexa can dramatically improve user experience by providing the ability for people to interact with devices at a more personal level,” said Steve Halliwell, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at AWS. “These finalists showcase how one day people may use Alexa skills and fully integrated AWS services to create new healthcare scenarios. We are excited to support the finalists in helping people better manage their own health through voice-enabled technology.”

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