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Sugarpod wins the Amazon Alexa Diabetes Challenge

Sugarpod wins the Alexa Challenge

Luminary Labs has announced that the winner of the $125,000 grand prize is Sugarpod by Wellpepper, chosen from among five finalists who presented their prototypes on demo-day in New York.

The challenge called on innovators to create Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of patients with type 2 diabetes.

"Technology advances are creating digital health opportunities to improve support for people managing life with a chronic disease," said Tony Alvarez, president, primary care business line and customer strategy at Merck, which sponsored the challenge.

"A purpose of the Alexa Diabetes Challenge was to identify new ways to use the technology already present in a patient's daily routine. The winner of the Challenge [Sugarpod] did just that," Mr Alvarez said.

Sugarpod is an interactive diabetes care plan solution that provides tailored tasks based on patient preferences. The solution is a "comprehensive end-to-end plan. The team is very excited about this win," Anne Weiler, cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Wellpepper, told Medscape Medical News.

Remarking on the other four finalists, Ms Weiler noted that they were also of a very high quality and highlighted the benefits of going deeper into specific aspects of care.

Alexa is Amazon's voice-activated digital assistant that provides real-time information through devices including Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. Alexa is one of several new digital assistants, such as Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana.

Life with Type 2 Diabetes

An estimated 27.5 million people live with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Thanks to greater awareness and better treatments, many who have been diagnosed with the disease are living longer, healthier lives. But diabetes requires changes and considerations that permeate throughout every aspect of life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated on the path to self-management, especially for people who are newly diagnosed.

The Opportunity

What if help managing type 2 diabetes was only a voice command away? Amazon Alexa is becoming a familiar presence in homes. More than a device, Alexa is a partner to make navigating daily life a little bit easier.

But voice is just the entry point that connects people to the information they need by leveraging a larger world of supporting technology, from applications to databases and cloud services. By tapping into this digital ecosystem, the universe of possibilities expands, and with it the potential to transform diabetes self-management and improve the lives of millions of people.

How You Can Participate

April 10th 2017,The Alexa Diabetes Challenge is looking for comprehensive solutions that use Amazon’s voice technology to improve the experience of those who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The Challenge seeks patient-centric solutions that reduce the friction of self management, while also considering the needs of stakeholders (e.g., caregivers, healthcare providers, payers, etc.) and the broader healthcare system.

Glossary of Alexa

  • Alexa. The voice service that powers Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice.

  • Voice-enabled technology. Any technology that leverages the unique capabilities created by a voice interface.

  • Alexa’s supporting technology. The software, databases, web services, hardware, or additional cloud and non-cloud based tools with which Alexa interfaces to perform her various tasks.

  • Skills. Capabilities that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Examples of Alexa skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer, and more.

Meet the five finalists

July 13th 2017, Amazon are proud to announce the five finalists whose concepts utilize artificial intelligence-powered technology, virtual coaching, personalized nutrition assistance, and even a smart foot scanner to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. Each will receive $25,000 and 10,000 AWS promotional credits and advance to the Virtual Accelerator.

  • 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, Columbia University: 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 will advance to the Virtual Accelerator and receive expert mentorship as they continue to develop their proposals. To kick off this phase of the Challenge, Luminary Labs will host an Innovators’ Boot Camp for the finalists at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

Virtual Accelerator

The Virtual Accelerator will commence with an in-person Boot Camp at Amazon in Seattle, Washington* where experts will provide teams with guidance as they develop prototypes. At the conclusion of the Virtual Accelerator, finalists will present their iterated solution to the judges and a live audience of influencers, investors, and media on Demo Day at AWS Pop-up Loft in NYC*. After Demo Day, judges will select one winner from the pool of finalists to receive the $125,000 grand prize.

What is Alexa? - An Introduction to Amazon's Voice Assistant

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