Tuesday, 29 May 2018 10:23

Bad posture takes a belting with new 4G LTE belt from Telstra's Innovation Challenge


Telstra's annual Innovation Challenge took place on the weekend, with Australian teams building IoT solutions for very interesting health and wellness challenges, with one winner a true belter.

In conjunction with its industry partner, Bupa, Telstra's impressive and must-visit Innovation Challenge 2018 website, complete with tons of information and video, sees the invitation of "current and future leaders in innovation and technology to create brilliant connected solutions for real-life problems".

Telstra and Bupa "challenged the Australian innovation community — universities and the general public — to form teams (into two streams) and develop IoT solutions that could improve our lives".

Given the nature of the challenge, in the health and wellness industries, it should come as no surprise to see wearable devices and diagnostic systems dominating the field at this year’s Challenge as teams "showed how IoT technologies could be used to improve the lives of patients and assist those who work in the healthcare industry in providing the best care".

Telstra tells us that "both streams competed separately, and the top three teams from each stream were invited to pitch at our final Pitch and Awards Day in Melbourne on 26 May.

"Teams chose the specific areas they wanted to focus on, which ranged from preventative healthcare devices, to developing on-the-job tech improvements for healthcare workers."

The 800-gigaton Aussie telcorilla stated that "the teams across both streams worked hard designing, building and coding hardware devices that leveraged our Cat M1 IoT network capability and Bupa’s insights as a leader in the health and wellness industry".

It's also great to hear that the Challenge "generated vast interest this year, with around 150 teams registering across both streams, including over 20 different universities across Australia in the respective stream".

Telstra’s chief technology officer Håkan Eriksson said: “I was very impressed with all of the innovative IoT technology solutions pitched throughout the judging rounds, both online and here in Telstra Labs, covering a broad range of challenges faced by the health and wellness industry.

"It is amazing what is able to be achieved in such a short period of time with hard work, a diverse range of skills, collaboration, support and the right tools available.”

Telstra said its Innovation Challenge partner, Bupa, "knows there are many inefficiencies in the health system which can hold the care team back".

"Examples include the manual transfer of information about a patient between paramedics in an ambulance, and the hospital, or nurses and doctors handing over cases to each other, availability and location of response teams, and equipment in a hospital."

"The winning team from each stream of the Challenge was awarded A$10,000 as well as an Intel NUC Home Mini PC per team member.

"All finalists from the university and public streams were also eligible to win the special Innovation Award with a prize of $2000 in addition to an Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick per team member."

The final judging panel consisted of senior leaders from Telstra and its partners. 

This year’s Telstra Innovation Challenge winners:

Public Stream Winner ($10,000) – Lynxx

"Sitting is the new smoking – Ergorithm is a wearable device that strives to promote a desirable posture for its users. The team produced a belt using the Cat M1 board and a sensor, which can be calibrated based on the specific user, to monitor the user’s lower back posture and give real-time feedback (i.e. alert if bad posture). In the future the design could be extended to also cover neck posture."

University Stream Winner ($10,000) – Team Laika (RMIT)

"The Me-MG, a wearable EMG biofeedback unit, empowers users to exercise during home-based rehabilitation by giving them real time feedback on their level of muscle activation and movement extension through a number of on-body lights and a display screen. One light will indicate the degree of flex in the knee and the other the muscle activation; together they will be an accurate measure of how well the patient is performing the exercise.

"The device must be calibrated to the individual by their physio based on custom thresholds that can be updated remotely over our dashboard. The dashboard is accessible to both the patients and the physios, and is a platform where they can access the muscle activity and flex data directly, review analytics, data tends, and set themselves or their patient’s goal for their rehabilitation overall."

Innovation Winner ($2,000) – Health is Wealth

"A point-of-care diagnostic system to detect presence and severity of Xerostomia (dry mouth condition). One of the sensors measures the salivary flow rate implanted or by the way of removable prosthetics inserted in the mouth by a dentist. The other custom-built sensor measures volatile organic compounds (gases) coming out of the mouth.

"These sensors are connected to the IoT development board and the data from these sensors will be analysed using machine learning to improve the quality of condition detection."

More information at Telstra's 2018 Innovation Challenge website here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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