Qualcomm Institute 'Bliss Buzzer' Team to Compete in Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

By Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353, tfox@ucsd.edu

San Diego, Calif., April 30, 2013 — A team based at the University of California, San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute has announced its intent to compete in the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition sponsored by Nokia and the X PRIZE Foundation that is aimed at drastically improving personalized, digital health.

Ramesh Rao, John Zhu, Arindam Ganguly, Anthony Nwokafor, Dheeraj Navani, Nafi Rashid, Tiffany Fox and Giorgio Quer
The Bliss Buzzer team (L-R): Ramesh Rao, John Zhu, Arindam Ganguly, Anthony Nwokafor, Dheeraj Navani, Nafi Rashid, Tiffany Fox and Giorgio Quer.

The UC San Diego entry, a digital health app dubbed “Bliss Buzzer,” alerts the user when he or she has reached a particularly healthful state, or moment of "bliss." Qualcomm Institute Director Ramesh Rao, who leads the team along with postdoctoral researcher Giorgio Quer, said the app’s device-driven feedback loop can be a potentially powerful tool for wellness and stress management. 

“The Bliss Buzzer helps individuals unobtrusively record, annotate and recognize their most restful moments in the context of their daily lives,” added Rao. “It generates tactile feedback to assist individuals identify and nurture better habits.”

Quer noted that Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE "is a unique opportunity for competing worldwide with the most advanced ideas and technology to revolutionize the world of digital healthcare."

The Bliss Buzzer is worn on the wrist and is connected via Bluetooth to a tablet. The user also simultaneously wears a heart rate monitor or other sensors, which wirelessly transmit data in real-time to the tablet. When a certain optimal value is reached (say, for heart rate variation), the tablet triggers the device’s operating system to alert the user via an audible tone or haptic vibration. This feedback loop can ‘train’ the user to become aware of thoughts or behaviors that lead to healthful or detrimental bodily states.

The team from the Qualcomm Institute is a diverse bunch, hailing from Italy, India, China, Bangladesh, Nigeria and the United States. Joining Rao and Quer are Programmer Analysts Arindam Ganguly and Anthony Nwokafor, Senior Engineer John Zhu, Public Information Officer Tiffany Fox, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) graduate student Nafi Rashid and CSE undergraduate Dheeraj Navani.

The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE will be a series of three competition events, held over the next three years. So far, more than 140 teams from around the world have filed Intent to Compete forms in the first challenge, which began April 5 and concludes Oct. 2 with an awards ceremony. Judges for the first challenge include representatives from government agencies, industry and academia. 

The competition was announced at the Wireless Health Convergence Summit last May. During his keynote address, X PRIZE Foundation Chairman and CEO Dr. Peter H. Diamandis said that health sensing technologies enabled by artificial intelligence, lab-on-a-chip, and digital imaging “are advancing exponentially and will ultimately integrate with your phone,.

“The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE will bring about radical innovation in health sensors and sensing technologies, which paves the way for better choices in when, where, and how individuals receive care,” he added. “Ultimately, healthcare will be more convenient, affordable, and accessible to consumers worldwide through these integrated digital health solutions.”

Media Contacts

Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353, tfox@ucsd.edu

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