This year, we welcomed voice assistants into our lives. For the 25 million Americans using Alexa-powered devices, everyday tasks are now just a voice command away. But how might these tools help address our greatest healthcare needs?
It was with this question in mind that we designed the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, a competition sponsored by Merck and supported by Amazon Web Services. The Challenge launched in April and offers $250K for voice-enabled solutions that improve life for type 2 diabetes patients.
The Challenge received 96 concepts from across the health landscape, with visitors from 82 countries around the world. Earlier this month, the judges selected five finalists to move to the next stage. The finalists imagine a future in which voice assistants provide lifestyle coaching, log glucose levels, and even scan limbs for abnormalities. They seek to make everyday health services simpler, smarter, and on demand.
The five finalists are:
- DiaBetty, University of Illinois at Chicago: A virtual diabetes educator and at-home coach that is sensitive and responsive to a patient’s mood. It provides patients with context-dependent, mood sensitive, and emotionally aware education and guidance, enhancing patient skills for self-management.
- My GluCoach, HCL America, Inc.: A holistic management solution, developed in partnership with Ayogo, that blends the roles of voice-based diabetes teacher, lifestyle coach, and personal assistant to serve the individual and specific needs of the patient. It leverages health pattern intelligence from sources such as patient conversations and wearable and medical devices.
- PIA: Personal intelligent agents for type 2 diabetes, Ejenta: A connected care intelligent agent that uses NASA-licensed AI technology integrated with IoT device data to encourage healthy habits, detect at-risk behaviors and abnormalities, and alert care teams.
- Sugarpod, Wellpepper: A multimodal solution that provides specialized voice, mobile, video, and web interactions to support patient adherence to comprehensive care plans. It offers education, tips, and tracking tools, including a smart foot scanner, which uses a classifier to identify potential abnormalities.
- T2D2: Taming type 2 diabetes, together, Elliot Mitchell, Biomedical Informatics PhD Student at Columbia University, and team: A virtual nutrition assistant that uses machine learning to provide in-the-moment personalized education and recommendations as well as meal planning and food and glucose logging. Its companion skill authorizes caregivers to connect with a patient’s account to easily engage from afar.
The finalists take home $25,000 and 10,000 AWS promotional credits, and have advanced to the Virtual Accelerator where they’ll receive expert mentorship as they continue to develop their solutions. This week, they convene at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for the Innovators’ Boot Camp.
On September 25th, the finalists will present their solutions in-person to the judges at Demo Day at the AWS Pop-up loft in NYC. The judging panel, which hails from Boston Children’s Hospital, Amazon Web Services, Inc., and Harvard University, will select a winner to receive the $125,000 grand prize.
Stay tuned for more details, we hope you’ll join us there.