Amazon and Merck are putting $250,000 on the line for innovators that use Alexa voice solutions to make Type 2 diabetics’ lives better.

Artificial intelligence developer contest puts Alexa to the test

By Tom Sullivan
12:37 PM
Amazon and Merck use Alexa voice solutions

Amazon Web Services and Merck announced a developer competition on Monday to that plans to harness artificial intelligence for diabetics.

Dubbed the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, and powered by Luminary Labs, the contest aims to incent upstarts and individual developers to create apps that harness Amazon’s Alexa voice-enabled technologies particularly for patients recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Early adopters such as Penn Medicine and Commonwealth Care Alliance are already running proofs-of-concept or pilot programs with Amazon Alexa being the centerpiece of improving patient experience.

[Also: Hospitals forging patient experience of the future with voice AI technologies]

What’s more, a new Healthcare IT News and HIMSS Analytics HIT Market Indicator report found that half of hospitals intend to adopt some fashion of AI in five years and more than a third plan to do so within two years.

The Amazon and Merck contest enables innovators to use not only Alexa but also Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure.

Five entrants will be chosen in the first round. Those winners will collect $25,000 and 100,000 AWS credits apiece and move into the Virtual Accelerator to access mentors as they work to transform the initial concepts into real solutions, the companies said.

[Also: AI, machine learning will shatter Moore's Law in rapid-fire pace of innovation]

The accelerator work will culminate with the finalists presenting their apps to judges in a pop-up AWS loft in New York City, after which the winner will be awarded $125,000.

At the end of the Virtual Accelerator, finalists will present their solutions in-person to the judges at Demo Day at the AWS Pop-up loft in NYC.

Submissions take place at and close on May 22, 2017. 

Twitter: @SullyHIT