By Lina Younes
As I was sending my youngest daughter off to day camp on a very hot and sunny day, I advised her to apply sun block often. In response, she said her own words of wisdom that have motivated me to write this blog. “Mom, they should have an app for that!”
Well, many smart phones, in fact, have mobile applications that can remind you of action items and many other activities. Although we don’t have a mobile app addressing the sun block issue specifically, we do have an app that promotes sun safety. We have the UV Index app that provides the forecast for UV radiation in your area. Equipped with this information, people can make the right choices to protect themselves from the sun.
Are you interested in learning about the environmental conditions where you live? To learn about the air quality in your city, you can visit www.airnow.gov to download a free AirNow Enviro Flash app for smart phones. This information is invaluable especially for sensitive groups like asthmatics, the elderly and children.
So, this brings me to another issue where innovative technologies can be developed to apply environmental data for the benefit of human health. Would you be interested in developing mobile technology such as a portable sensor that would measure the conditions of the air around you and detect in real time their physiological effect on your body? Well, we are very interested in this technology as well and have issued a challenge so innovators and software developers may develop such prototypes. During Phase 1 of this challenge, up to four finalists will get up to $15,000 each and they will move on to Phase 2. The ultimate winner of this challenge will be awarded $100,000.
The goal is to empower people with information about their own health and the air around them. By having a portable device such as a sensor, health measurements can be taken in real time to provide invaluable data to the individual and their doctor. It will be a win-win situation all around.
Visit the challenge.gov website for more information on this challenge, timeline, review criteria, and eligibility rules. The submission period ends on October 6, 2012.
What type of innovative technology would you like to see to better protect your health and the environment?
About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.