A fourth year mechanical engineering student at the University of British Columbia planning to revolutionize wearable, ‘quantified-self health’ is the winner of Singularity University’s 2nd Annual Canadian Global Impact Competition. The pitch showdown took place April 2nd during a gala event at the Markham Civic Centre where five of Canada’s brightest minds pitched their ideas to improve the lives of Canadians. The event was hosted by ventureLAB, one of 17 regional innovation centres in Ontario.

Andrea Palmer-Boroski of Port Moody, BC, was awarded the first place prize worth $30,000 USD. The 24-year-old co-founder of Awake Labs will attend a highly competitive 10-week graduate studies program at Singularity University in California’s Silicon Valley where participants examine ways that technology can create a better world.

Andrea’s idea: A wearable stress and anxiety measurement called Reveal which could make ‘quantified-self health care’ increasingly available for millions of people who suffer anxiety related disorders.

Reveal is a wearable device that measures and tracks anxiety. Reveal was born to care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but it is not limited to autism care. 1 in 68 children born today are diagnosed with ASD, which represents over 100,000 children in Canada and over 1 million in the USA alone. Reveal is being developed to track anxiety and predict behaviour meltdowns before they happen, giving parents and caregivers enough time to intervene and reduce the anxiety. Currently, the only way meltdowns can be predicted is with the help of behaviour analysts who must carefully study and understand warning signs. Once Reveal is developed, tested, and proven, it can be used for clinical stress and anxiety, a problem that takes up 1/3 of health care costs in North America. Reveal can change millions of lives through better long-term health care, helping people become more independent, happier, and safer.

The 2nd Annual Canadian Global Impact Competition was announced in January 2015 nationally in Canada, and challenged entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and engineers to propose innovative projects that could positively impact one million people in their country in the next three to five years through technology. Submissions ranged from technologies improving living standards, medical services and food production.

The other four bright minds who pitched also received honorable mentions and standing ovations for their ideas. Hannah Bell, of Charlottetown, PEI, took the People’s Choice Award.

2015 Canadian Global Impact Competition Finalists

From left: Finalist Moufeed Kaddoura, of Waterloo, ON proposed safe, simple diagnostic tools that will help clinicians revolutionize health care delivery. Dylan Lidster, of Ucluelet, BC, tackled the idea of mobile agrology data disrupting the agriculture industry. Shaharris Beh, 31, of Toronto, O,N proposed connecting city technology ecosystems and globally changing the face of local economies. Winner Andrea Palmer-Boroski, and Hannah Bell, of Charlottetown, PEI, pitched an idea for low-cost, high-speed, high-quality wireless internet anywhere.

The overall Global Impact program was created by Singularity University. SU is headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. Educational programs, innovative partnerships and its business accelerator help individuals, businesses, institutions, investors, NGOs and governments understand cutting-edge technologies and how to utilize these technologies to positively impact billions of people.

While the competitions have been held in numerous other countries for several years, this is only the second time for Canada. Innovation Guelph hosted the inaugural Canadian competition in 2014. Now an annual event, next year’s Canadian GIC 2016 competition will be hosted by Communitech, the hub for the commercialization of innovation in Waterloo Region.

With files from ventureLAB