April 12, 2018 4:56 pm
Updated: April 16, 2018 7:23 pm

Contest seeks ideas to make Edmonton healthier in many ways

WATCH ABOVE: The city is holding a contest, searching for ideas that would make Edmonton healthier. As Emily Mertz explains, the contest considers physical, mental and financial health.


*UPDATE: On April 16, the city announced that Martin Ferguson-Pell won the HealthHack competition with his idea for a wheelchair accessibility tracker.

The top five prototypes to make Edmonton a healthier city have been selected as part of the HealthHack Smart Cities Challenge.

The city asked people to submit prototypes that would improve mental health, physical health, social health and economic health.

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“In just two weeks, we received 38 proposals,” Soumya Ghosh, the director of digital enablement for the City of Edmonton, said.

“Those were not one-liners; they were 500 or more words … Out of those 38, we picked the top five based on how innovative they are, what impact that make.”

READ MORE: Online marketplace aims to reduce amount of food wasted in Edmonton 

Finalists have the chance to win up to $5,000 for top prize. A panel will judge the prototypes on April 16 and the winner will be chosen on April 20.

“We’re offering $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 to the top three, but the real prize of HealthHack goes to Edmontonians,” Ghosh said.

“Even if we don’t end up using these ideas for our Smart Cities Challenge proposal, we will still have them for possible implementation down the road.”

READ MORE: Weird and wonderful ways Open Data is unearthing Edmonton information 

Anyone with an idea should submit it on the city’s Health Hack website. More than 130 proposals had been sent in online as of Tuesday.

The finalists are:

Redliner Goes to Town

Sensors that will enable wheelchair users and their families to route-plan excursions and ensure they are physically able to navigate them.

Bravely Bringing Buddy Benches Beyond: Brainy Boys Broach Big Idea Based on Urban Betterment

Near-field communication tags placed at public locations, such as libraries and buddy benches, that can be tapped or scanned, allowing the user to see a virtual message board of people who have been there in the past.

READ MORE: Buddy benches help connect Edmonton students with new friends 

Trailblazing Twitter: Urban Design for Better Mental Health

An interactive web application that will collect geo-coded Twitter data, analyze the text and link it with socio-economic data. The insight will help planners and policy makers achieve mental health outcomes by improving urban design.

Blockchain-based Ecosystem for Informed Cannabis Consumption and Open Research

Blockchain technology used to shape a new national ecosystem surrounding healthy cannabis consumption and regulation, while simultaneously generating open and transparent data that can be used to inform policy.

Becoming Active? Supporting the Non-Athlete in All of Us

A solution designed to specifically target the less active 85 per cent of the population by providing solid evidence-based strategies to support the pursuit of a healthier active lifestyle.

READ MORE: Edmonton-made app rewards you for being physically active 

The city chose the theme of “Healthy City” after asking the public what issues were important to them when it came to innovation and city building.

“What we heard back is that it’s the quality of life which is really important to them and everything that revolves around it — be it mental health, physical health, social health, economic health — it’s kind of what they’re really interested in,” Ghosh said.

“Even when they’re thinking of transit, they’re thinking of transit as to how it’s improving their quality of life.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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