Nokia Joins X Prize in $2.25M Wireless Health “Sensing Challenge”

5/24/12Follow @bvbigelow

When the X Prize Foundation’s Peter Diamandis took the stage in San Diego this morning at the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) annual convergence summit, he said it was the perfect audience for announcing the foundation’s newest competition—the “Nokia Sensing X Challenge.”

The challenge, organized through a partnership with the Finnish wireless device manufacturer, is offering a total pool of $2.25 million in incentive prizes over the next three years to stimulate the development of health sensors and wireless sensing technologies.

“We’re living in a day and age where really small teams of individuals—people like yourselves—are empowered to do the things that only large corporations and governments could do before,” Diamandis told the audience. “We’re looking to foment, to push forward, to celebrate, to announce a new generation of healthcare biometric sensors.”

The competition that Diamandis outlined will offer $750,000 a year, beginning in 2013, to teams that have developed “the most outstanding” sensors for drastically improving the quality, accuracy, and ease of monitoring a person’s health. There will be multiple winners each year, but how many and how much prize money will be awarded to each team has not yet been determined, Diamandis later told me.

“We aim to facilitate and inspire research in an area where we are also seriously exploring,” said Nokia chief technology officer Henry Tirri, who joined Diamandis on the stage. The type of “open innovation” promoted by the X Prize competition “has proven to be a very interesting and engaging method of opening a very broad amount of innovation in a very different way,” Tirri added.

“Our goal is to create an ecosystem of the innovators and companies out there, and to give them the platform to really show your stuff to the entire planet,” Diamandis said.

“Why are we doing this? Number one, we need better sensors,” Diamandis added. “My car, my airplane, and my computer have more biometric sensing capabilities that we do as humans. We should be creating gigabytes of data per day about our bodies’ health, monitoring every single moment, every single second of what we do. The fact that it doesn’t exist right now is terrible.”

The timing is ideal, Diamandis explained, because … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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