Alexa Diabetes Challenge awards Wellpepper $125k for interactive diabetes care plan

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge named Wellpepper the winner of its $125,000 grand prize Oct. 16.

Merck and Luminary Labs, with support from Amazon Web Services, launched the Alexa Diabetes Challenge in April to explore how voice-command technology can support chronic disease management. For the challenge, the two companies asked developers to create Amazon Alexa voice-enabled solutions to help newly-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes patients self-manage their care.

Wellpepper was awarded the grand prize for Sugarpod, a multimodal diabetes care plan solution. Sugarpod, one of 96 submissions, is an educational and tracking solution that supports patient adherence to care plans. It delivers notifications via text, email and mobile app. The Wellpepper team's goal is to deliver this information via voice interface, as well.

The team also developed a prototype for an Alexa-enabled scale and foot scanner to alert patients about potential foot problems, which are a common type of diabetes complication.

"Sugarpod helps newly diagnosed people with Type 2 diabetes integrate new information and routines into the fabric of their daily lives to self-manage, connect to care and avoid complications," said Anne Weiler, co-founder and CEO of Wellpepper. "The challenge showed us the appeal of voice solutions for patients and clinical value of early detection with home-based solutions."

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