Amazon Alexa is a digital personal assistant that has become a well recognized household item in Amazon’s hardware like the Echo. It’s easy to see why: Alexa plays music via voice command, gives the time and temp, or does hands-free conversion when you’re cooking in the kitchen. And thanks to a partnership between Amazon, Luminary Labs, and Merck, Alexa might soon be able to help those with diabetes self-manage the condition.
That trio is offering developers a total of $250,000 worth of prizes and a grand prize of $150,000 in a multi-stage competition focused on diabetes management. Participants will, according to a press release, “submit concepts that utilize the capabilities of Amazon Alexa and the ecosystem of supporting cloud technologies to improve the experience of those newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.”
Diabetes requires active, daily management on the part of patients including things like thoughtful meal planning, remembering to take medications, and figuring out how to integrate exercise into their day. With the growing capabilities of digital personal assistants in helping users manage different aspects of their lives, it’s not hard to imagine that supporting chronic disease management could be a useful application. Amazon has already shown some interest in applying Alexa to health management, like its recent collaboration with HealthTap to turn Alexa into a virtual medical triage service. Others in this space including Google are surely not far behind.
The contest, called the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, will evaluate the submissions based on their impact, experience, innovation, vision, and team potential.
The Alexa Diabetes Challenge is accepting submissions from now until Monday, May 22, 2017, at 5 p.m. ET. Up to five finalists, all who receive $25,000, will be announced in July and placed into a “virtual accelerator” for prototype development, and in September, a winner will be announced.