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Could Amazon’s virtual assistant help diabetes patients?

schedule 15th July 2015 by Ben Piper in Virtual College

diabetes patient checking blood levels

It is hoped that Amazon’s artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant, Alexa, could help people suffering from chronic health conditions like diabetes.

Earlier this month, the e-commerce company launched the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, a competition calling on innovators to develop Alexa-powered solutions for those with Type 2 diabetes.

If a solution to this is found, the winner will receive $125,000 (£100,000) to continue developing their product.

The aim of the competition is to help those who have just been diagnosed with the disease. The deadline for submissions is in May and later this month the organisers of the competition will host a webinar for those interested.

Once all pitches have been submitted, up to five finalists will be selected to move on to the next stage. In order to develop their ideas, they will be given $25,000 each and 10,000 credits for Amazon Web Services (the company’s cloud computing operation).

Finalists of the challenge will also attend the Innovator’s Boot Camp at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle and will be mentored in a virtual accelerator, according to

Later this year in September, the final will take place in New York City, where the candidates will demonstrate their solutions to the judges.

While the competition is supported by Amazon Web Services, Luminary Labs will be running it.

It is believed that in the US, roughly 27.5 million people live with Type 2 diabetes. Managing this disease on a day-to-day basis means that patients have to make inconvenient and radical changes to their lifestyle, which can be overwhelming.

However, thanks to greater awareness and the improvement of treatments, those diagnosed with diabetes are now living longer and healthier lives.


Ben Piper - Virtual College

Author: Ben Piper

Ben is a member of the Virtual College marketing team. He has a degree in economics and writes about business and education issues. In his spare time he loves food, drink and films.

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