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My Air, My Health Challenge

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Imagine how our health could improve if we had access to current air pollution data and timely information about how our body responds to that pollution. NIEHS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology are proud to issue the My Air, My Health Challenge to tap into the ingenuity of American problem solvers to develop innovative solutions that connect timely, location-specific air pollution data and human health measurements to provide a more detailed picture of air quality’s impact on our health.


In phase one of the competition, competitors proposed designs for sensors that can be easily worn or carried, and take into account a known or plausible link between airborne pollutants and health measurements, such as, heart rate and breathing. This first phase of the challenge attracted more than 500 participants and dozens of solution submissions.


The following four finalists will receive $15,000 each:


FinalistsLocationProject Description
Guy Shechter, Ph.D.
Mark Aloia, Ph.D.
Johan Marra, Ph.D.
Arpana Sali
Ronald Wolf, Ph.D.
from Philips Healthcare
Andover, Mass.Linking exposure to ultrafine particulates with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease through measurement of vital signs and respiratory function.
Michael Heimbinder, HabitatMap
Michael Taylor, Carnegie Mellon University
Carlos Restrepo, Ph.D., New York University
George Thurston, Sc.D., New York University
Brooklyn, N.Y.Using an integrated system to link exposure to carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter with heart rate variability and blood oxygen levels.
Gabrielle Savage Dockterman, Angel Devil Productions
Dot Kelly, Shearwater Design
David Kuller, AUX
Carlisle, Mass.Integrating sensors for multiple airborne pollutants with sensors for heart rate, breathing rate, and physical activity into fitness clothing for athletes.
Aaron HechmerEl Cerrito, CaliforniaIntegrating modular air quality sensors, audio based spirometry, health assessment games, and biomarkers via an infrastructure that promotes sharing of health information.


In addition, Rajiv Totlani of Frisco, Texas, and Peter Sotory of Raleigh, N.C., were selected as honorable mentions.


In phase two of the competition, the finalists will develop their proposals into working prototypes, to demonstrate how their systems can be integrated for practical use by health and environmental agencies and by individual citizens. One overall winner will receive a cash award of $100,000 to be announced in June 2013


Visit the Challenge website  to obtain all the details about the competition, including requirements, deadlines, and how to submit a proposal.


Related Information:

  • On June 19 2012, Challenge organizers held a webinar for interested parties to learn more about the competition, including prize information, evaluation, proposal submission process, and next steps. To view the webinar slides, visit the Challenge registration website 
  • For NIEHS news releases of the challenge launch and the announcement of the phase 1 finalists, visit our news page
  • Seeker Spotlight Blog 


For additional information about the challenge, contact:

Allen Dearry, Ph.D.
Allen Dearry, Ph.D. (
Senior Advisor

Tel (919) 541-3068
Fax (919) 541-3647
David M. Balshaw. Ph.D.
David M. Balshaw, Ph.D. (
Program Administrator

Tel (919) 541-2448
Fax (919) 316-4606

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