The Federal government has been getting behind the Challenges craze in a big way but this one from the Vice President’s Office and HHS is a doozy. Called Apps Against Abuse it asked developers to create an application that would help young people deal with abuse and violence, primarily in the world of dating and relationships. (FD my company Health 2.0 has a contract with HHS to run challenges, and Apps Against Abuse was featured in the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge and we worked on publicizing the project).
Today two winners were announced on the White House Blog by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and in a conference call hosted by Aneesh Chopra (Federal CTO) and Todd Park (CTO, HHS) and some fellow called Joe Biden was there too!
OnWatch is a phone based app that has a series of alarms and prompts built in. For example, it can be set with a message sent to friends saying “I went to a party at XYZ dorm, if I don’t come back by midnight come find me” or it has a panic button that calls 911 or the campus police.
The other winner is called Circle of 6 and it comes from the team at ISIS. (FD I’m on the board of ISIS but I didn’t even know they’d entered the contest!). Circle of 6 puts you in touch with 6 of your closest friends and asks them to come help you if you’re in trouble. It even plugs in the coordinates for them. The ISIS team intends to build out Circle of 6 which is currently an iPhone only prototype.
There were more than 33 entries for Apps Against Abuse, even though there was no prize money at stake. It’s good to see that such commonsense use of these new technologies is finding so many spirited innovators willing to help.