Skullcandy Partners with USC On Innovation Contest That Blends Music With Biometrics


The University of Southern California announces a partnership between its Center for Body Computing department and headphone manufacturer Skullcandy. Each year, USC hosts an annual innovation contest called the CBC SLAM that attracts digital health developers and focuses them on a specific problem or theme. This year, USC and Skullcandy will work together to host an innovation contest aimed at generating development efforts at the intersection of biometrics, fitness tracking, and music. In a press release, USC describes it as a way of challenging creative minds to use music in a way that helps consumers better understand their personal health.

The intersection of music and fitness tracking is a less frequently travelled path than one might think. Several fitness apps integrate with smartphone music libraries and allow users to create workout playlists, but few are exploring the relationships between music choice and exertion or physical stamina, or music’s ability to help adjust mood, or otherwise support behavioral changes. Leslie Saxon, cardiologist and founder of USC’s Center for Body Computing explains, “Through the birth of on-demand mobile music platforms and small wireless body-worn sensors, we now have the technology to build innovative products that incorporate and tailor music to the signals our bodies generate."

This year marks USC’s 8th annual CBS SLAM. The contest typically attracts digital health and life sciences developers, mobile developers, sensor developers, and investors. The contest will be taking submissions until September 22, after which four finalists will be selected to travel to Los Angeles and pitch their ideas to key industry figures, including Leslie Saxon from USC and Hoby Darling, CEO of Skullcandy. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize and will be given a chance to present their concept on the main stage at the CBS SLAM.

Beyond the contest, Skullcandy has committed to extending the partnership to include mutual development work pioneering research on music and biometrics. The organizations will work together to develop a deeper understanding of music’s role in health and wellness, both in support of fitness and in support of traditional health care efforts.

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