Results from the Health 2.0 and AT&T’s Official SXSW Hackathon

Last week, Health 2.0 and AT&T wrapped up SXSW Interactive’s Official Mobile App Hackathon. To compete with the marketing glitz and UX glam of the other SXSWi events, we altered our traditional code-a-thon model. In addition to our normal health data criteria, we also encouraged teams to build apps around the NFL brand of celebrity guest Lance Brigg’s, linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Although the theme was a slight departure from Health 2.0’s focus on the creative and meaningful application of health data, the involvement of a celebrity NFL player was not without reason.

For many Americans, celebrity athletes like Lance Briggs represent a primary source of health and wellness information. Beyond some of the most well funded public health initiatives, celebrity athletes and their respective brands have the power to influence the healthy decisions of millions simply due to their existing media penetration. This is why Michelle Obama worked with Beyonce on the Let’s Move! Campaign and Harvard’s Berkman Center recently teamed up with Lady Gaga to launch the Born this Way Foundation.  Improving our nation’s health will depend on developers’ ability to leverage culture as much as it will depend on their ability to leveraging data.

The resulting apps reflected a strong mix of health data, NFL media tie-ins and the slick UI one might expect from the SXSWi community. Despite the many SXSW events competing for our developers’ attention, the Hackathon room was packed and a buzzing with energy as judging began. Built in just 24 hours, the winning teams included:

Team Full Fit Pet: Created a virtual pet to inspire people get out and exercise. Real step data would be used to effect the relative health of a cartoon dog. Depending on your activity, the digital puppy on your mobile phone could appear happy, sad, distracted or even dead. [Both the AWS 1st Place Winner and AT&T mHealth 1st Place Winner]

Team Moves.US: Built a twitter game using step-count data and establishing social connections around shared health goals. Players earned points by connecting their twitter accounts via mobile phones and QR codes and collecting steps with their phone’s accelerometer. Similar to IDEO’s Maker Fair project, the more steps and social connections made, the higher a player’s score. [AT&T mHealth 2nd Place Winner]

Team Boogie Up: Built a mobile app that would incentivise positive behavior change and build Lance’s brand beyond the market of football. The app helped fanatics design a healthy life “just like Lance” by gamifying small activities endorsed by the football star himself. Users could replicate Lance’s breakfast to bicep work out. The team used the AT&T mHealth API and has plans to integrate the fitbit as well as other Lance Briggs products [1st Place as the Lance Briggs Winner]

Briggs for Kids: Developed an app that allowed existing Briggs 4 Kidz community members (as well as Lance Briggs himself) to share and up-vote small acts of health and community involvement. [2nd Place Lance Briggs Winner]

Team Lance Briggs Recipes:  Leveraged Lance’s love of cooking and allowed him to share recipes with his fans via mobile devices. The app also allowed fans to share their own recipes and provide feedback for the community. [Both AWS 2st Place Winner and 3rd Place Lance Briggs Winner]

Team Real Heroes:  Developed an iPad app that allowed fans to capture inspiring stories that they could share with Lance Briggs and other Lance Briggs fans. Using the idea of the internet’s “infinite screen,” the app let fans build a collaborative comic-book-style collection of photos and videos of small heroic acts. [4st Place as the Lance Briggs Winner]

Team Everyday Heroes: Wanted to catalyze community involvement around emerging community events. The app allowed community members to vote on and geolocate upcoming events as well as awarded active community members with badges and points.

Team Guardian Trace: Built a personal security app that allowed users to automatically send a text message of their last known location if they fail to check-in after a set period of time. Similar to a house alarm or a dead-man’s pedal, the absence of user involvement generates an alarm to a select social network. The app was designed to empower users to get out and exercise in their local neighborhoods by helping them feel safe.

Team TheraBit: Used the profiling data from smartphone sensors to determine if a user was correctly performing an exercise. Interesting features included the ability for popular athletes or clinicians to upload exercise or rehabilitation techniques that could be remotely validated. The method used to validate motion did not require a user to hold the phone at a particular point on their body.

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