The Toyota Mobility Foundation and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre have just launched a technology challenge “to support radical improvements in the mobility and independence of individuals with lower-limb paralysis through the creation of smart personal assistive mobility devices that incorporate intelligent systems.”
Devices should use user-centered design and be capable of delivering measurable improvements in the everyday mobility and independence of a person with lower-limb paralysis. This could be accomplished through improved dynamic response to one or more of the following: user intention, surrounding environment, user’s body or the functional parameters of the device. The device should enable increased participation in the activities of daily living, work or leisure, while minimizing the cognitive load on the user; be comfortable and easy to use.
Small awards are available to develop prototypes needed to compete for the larger awards.
A panel of expert judges will pick five finalists who will each receive $500,000 to take their concepts from an intelligent insight to a prototype. The Challenge winner will receive $1,000,000 to make the device available to users- with the winning concept unveiled in Tokyo in 2020.
The Mobility Unlimited Challenge aims to attract and support smaller innovators who might otherwise struggle to break into the assistive technology market. The Discovery Awards will provide seed funding of $50,000 for 10 groups with promising concepts, but who might otherwise lack the resources to enter the Challenge. Interested innovators can apply online at mobilityunlimited.org.
At the end of the Mobility Unlimited Challenge, the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre will have supported teams of innovators in creating leading edge technological solutions, opening a new chapter in personal mobility for people with lower-limb paralysis.