AI-based firefighter safety startup Prometeo wins IBM Call for Code Challenge

During an event at the United Nations Delegates Dining Room in New York City, IBM unveiled the winners of its annual Call for Code Global Challenge. The competition, which is targeted at computing solutions for global problems, crowned five winners, ranging from first responders to healthcare info.

Prometeo took the top prize for its Watson-based AI solution targeted at firefighters. The team, which is led by a 33-year firefighting veteran, has developed a tool designed to monitor health and safety in the industry, both long term and in real time. The Spanish startup developed a smartphone-sized device that straps onto the wearer’s arm to gauge things like temperature, smoke and humidity.

“If the color signal is green, the health of the firefighter is okay,” co-founder Salomé Valero explains on IBM’s site. “But if the color signal is yellow or red, the command center must do something. They must take immediate action in order to rescue or remove the firefighter from the fire.”

The team is working to roll out the device for testing in Spain, but is currently seeking funding for the project. The $200,000 prize from IBM ought to help out a bit.

The second place prize went to India/China/U.S.-based Sparrow, which has developed a platform for addressing physical and psychological health during natural disasters. UCLA’s team, Rove, scored third place with a similar concept.

Call for Code is a five-year program that aims to hand out $30 million for teams addressing widespread societal issues.