British ‘Culinary coach’ Whisk wins Ascensia’s global Type 2 diabetes innovation competition

Ascensia Diabetes Care has revealed that UK-based Whisk have been selected as the winner of the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge, the global innovation competition that set out to find digital solutions to support Type 2 diabetes management.

British-based Whisk’s winning innovation is a Culinary Coach that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide personalized food recommendations that will be expanded to use blood glucose data for people with diabetes.

The Whisk nutrition platform enables users to browse recipes based on factors including their personal taste preferences, time constraints, budgets, dietary restrictions or allergies and even the weather. Once a user adds a recipe to their meal plan, it can be automatically added to an online shopping trolley at leading grocery retailers, allowing them to seamlessly buy ingredients.

Learning curve

As winner of the challenge, Whisk plan to create a personalized food experience for people with Type 2 diabetes that will learn from their blood glucose readings to make food recommendations tailored to their own diabetes. Using readings from Ascensia’s blood glucose monitoring systems, the AI will learn how the user’s blood glucose readings react to specific foods and recipes, allowing them to build eating plans that can help to keep their blood glucose in range. The Culinary Coach for diabetes will start by providing personalized recipe recommendations, and will in the future develop beyong cooking at home to suggest best-choice convenience foods and restaurants.

Michael Kloss, CEO and President of Ascensia Diabetes Care, said: “Nutrition and food selection is a huge component of Type 2 diabetes management. The panel of judges and I were hugely impressed by Whisk’s current tool and how they plan to develop it to empower millions of people with Type 2 diabetes to make enjoyable but healthier food choices.”

Whisk’s solution was selected from 116 entries that were submitted to the challenge from 25 countries and they will receive a cash prize of €100,000 to build and pilot this new service and working closely with Ascensia Diabetes Care to bring it to patients.

Whisk CEO Nick Holzherr

Nick Holzherr, Whisk Founder and CEO, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the winner of the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge. Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in recent years, and at Whisk we are excited to be building a solution that we feel can help support these patients to make lasting lifestyle changes. We hope that through our work with Ascensia Diabetes Care, we can help to change the way this condition is managed.”

Runners up

The competition also awarded two runners-up prizes. US-based Qstream were awarded a runner-up prize for their mobile learning platform that combines a concept known as spaced education with engaging game mechanics. This platform is designed to encourage meaningful behaviour change and has been proven in a recent randomized trial to generate sustained and meaningful reductions in HbA1c in people with diabetes.

xBird, a Germany-based medical artificial intelligence software company was also named as a runner-up. Their software analyzes micro-movements, collected by smartphones and wearables, and cross references them with historical blood glucose data, with the aim of being able to predict and detect potential hypo- and hyperglycaemic events. Both runners-up will receive a cash prize of €30,000 to further develop their solutions.

Walk With Path were also recognized for their innovative active insole for people with peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes. It provides vibrational feedback during walking that can be tracked via an app and is designed to help people achieve better balance, thereby reducing the risk of falls. Ascensia will support Walk with Path to conduct a proof of concept study in patients with diabetes.

News items and features like this appear in the Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal (see below). We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes ‘kit’ such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring equipment) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet including a regular Making Carbs Count column. We just need your email address to subscribe you (it’s free, and you can easily unsubscribe should you wish to).

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