Thinking and innovating for the future of health and wellness

Improving Australia's health system through innovation saw some outstanding entries to this year's Telstra Innovation Challenge. Have a look at the winners. 

The 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners were announced over the weekend, after teams from across Australia were tasked to build Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions focused on health and care problems.

Bupa was the industry partner of this year’s challenge that was split into two streams, one open to the public, and another for university students.

Finalists pitched their ideas to an expert judging panel to be in the running for a range of prizes, and contribute to the future of Australia's health and wellness industry.

Telstra and its sponsors provided qualifying teams with everything they needed to get their ideas up and running, including a development kit designed specifically for Australian innovators and developers.

The teams across both Challenge streams worked to design, build and code hardware devices including wearable devices and diagnostic systems.

Teams showed how IoT technologies could be used to improve the lives of patients and their carers, and in assisting those who work in the healthcare industry in providing the best care.

Cindy Shay, Bupa’s Director Health Partnerships and Innovation was on the judging panel for the challenge and witnessed the incredible creations teams came up with.

The public stream teams get approximately one week, and the university teams get a bit longer. They go away with equipment from the lab and work on developing their solution.

I’m always amazed at the innovation and thinking that people put in
Cindy Shay, Bupa Director of Health Partnerships and Innovation

“To get the most out of our health system, identifying opportunities to empower both the individual as well as health professionals is important. We have seen teams apply their thinking and problem-solving to both groups across a range of real-world scenarios,” says Bupa’s Innovation lead, Gemma Cosgriff.

“I have been impressed with the effort that teams have put in to solve for problems which exist in health and care today. I’ve seen some great teamwork, creativity and passion across both the university and public teams. It’s been a great opportunity for everyone involved.” she adds.

Find out more about the 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners and their innovative projects.


Public Stream Winner – 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 – 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 over all.

Innovation Winner – Health is Wealth

A Point of Care (PoC) diagnostic system to detect presence and severity of Xerostomia (a.k.a 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.

Congratulations to all the winners.

The 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge finalist pitching awards event was held at Telstra Labs in Melbourne on 26 May.

Find out more about the 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge.

Photo and video credits to Telstra.


Australia’s brightest tech minds compete to solve major health challenges