Are you familiar with Challenge.gov? If not, let's take a second and catch you up on one of the most awesome things our government has decided to do. For the uninitiated, Challenge.gov is U.S. General Services Administration's effort to crowdsource some of our modern problems through contests and competitions. Think of it as a nation-wide science fair for developers. Pretty cool right?
Recently, the first lady declared that she would take on child obesity. A noble, yet challenging cause. How exactly do you go about making kids more aware of what they're putting in and doing to their bodies and help young people learn some lasting healthy habits?
Well, when you don't know the answer, ask for help.
Challenge.gov launched the Apps for Healthy Kids contest in March with the goal of getting developers to create some great ways for kids to get engaged and learn healthy habits. Apps for Healthy Kids even went as far as to get some high-profile judges like Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, ESA president Mike Gallager, and even Zynga's Mark Pincus.
In first place is ZisBoomBah's "Pick Chow!" tool where kids and families can assemble meals on a virtual plate and get a star rating of their meal's healthiness. Also in first place (for the Games category) is David Villatoro's "Trainer" a very clever combination of Pokemon and your computer's webcam. Trainer starts by matching you up with a creature which you train and level up by doing actual exercises that are tracked using your webcam. As your creature levels up, it can explore more areas of the virtual world.
These games and tools are only the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at the apps and winners to check out all of the cool apps that were made for this contest, most of which use public data-sets, such as nutritional information of foods. It's rather impressive and I can't wait to see the next Challenge.gov crowd-sourced solutions for future problems.