AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Announcing the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, Powered by Luminary Labs

By Aaron Friedman and Dario Rivera. Aaron is a Healthcare and Life Sciences Partner Solutions Architect with AWS. Dario is a Healthcare and Life Sciences Solutions Architect with AWS. 

Changing lives for the better through technology is one of the most compelling reasons why both of us decided to focus our careers on merging software with healthcare and life sciences at AWS. Being able to work with AWS Partner Network (APN) partners and customers who build healthcare solutions that will affect the everyday lives of people is a task that is both equal parts challenging and rewarding. And today, we want to tell you about a new challenge that lets you to take the next step toward positively impacting human health as well: The Alexa Diabetes Challenge, sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, U.S.A., an APN Advanced Technology Partner.

If you’re reading this post, then there is a high probability that you know someone who has been affected by type 2 diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, an estimated 415 million people around the world live with diabetes; in America alone, approximately 29.1 million Americans live with this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.4 million are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year in the US. Learning to manage this complex disease can be an overwhelming and isolating experience, especially for those newly diagnosed.

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge, sponsored by Merck & Co., calls on innovators to experiment with creating holistic voice-enabled solutions that are designed to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. This pioneering challenge presents innovators with a unique opportunity to help navigate uncharted territory: experimenting with and developing new solutions for those managing a chronic condition.

Why voice?

Voice-powered experiences, such as those developers build for Amazon Alexa or Amazon Lex, can dramatically improve user experience by giving you the ability to interact with people at a more personal level. Communicating through voice, rather than just on a screen, has the potential to make it easier to empower patients to change habits and improve their overall well-being. We encourage entrants to explore a variety of voice experiences, ranging from Alexa skills to solutions built using the ecosystem of supporting AWS services, such as Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and AWS IoT, and other third-party technologies to develop patient-centric solutions that consider the possible impact on the entire healthcare experience.

The Challenge

This challenge will allow innovators like yourself to draw on both Merck’s expertise in drug development, epidemiology, medication adherence, observational research, and patient education programs and Amazon’s expertise in connected devices and voice interfaces.

Five finalists will be chosen to receive $25,000 each and advance to the Virtual Accelerator. At this stage, the finalists will receive expert mentorship as they develop their concepts into working prototypes. In addition, Luminary Labs will also host an in-person boot camp for the finalists at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. At the end of the Virtual Accelerator, finalists will present their prototypes in-person to the judges during a Demo Day at the AWS Pop-up Loft in NYC. Following Demo Day the judges will select a grand prize winner to receive $125,000.

How you can take part

Technology is changing the landscape of healthcare, and we’re very excited to work with Merck to advance the care of those with diabetes. We hope you enter the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, sponsored by Merck & Co., and use your creativity and expertise to bring ideas forward that stand to have a great impact on diabetes care for years to come.

Visit the Alexa Diabetes Challenge website to learn more and submit a concept. All submissions for this pioneering work in voice technology are due by May 22, 2017. We’re looking forward to seeing who gets chosen as a finalist and introduces a new voice in diabetes management!

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge is powered by Luminary Labs.