Aiming to help those with lower-limb paralysis, the Mobility Unlimited Challenge has announced a crowdsourcing initiative, aimed at helping inspire entrants in their quest to develop life-changing technology for people affected by this disease. The #mymobilityunlimited campaign will invite people around the world to share their life experiences with lower-limb paralysis and the solutions they would like to see to the challenges they face every day.
The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, launched the $4 million dollar global challenge in November 2017, aiming to change the lives of people with lower-limb paralysis. The Mobility Unlimited Challenge is seeking teams around the world to create game-changing technology that will help radically improve the mobility and independence of people with paralysis. This Challenge will culminate in the unveiling of the winners in Tokyo in 2020.
The Challenge will invite people with lower-limb paralysis to take part in a global conversation about the types of mobility technology innovations they would like to see, using the hashtag #mymobilityunlimited. These suggestions will then be used to inspire entrants to create genuinely life-changing technologies which directly address the issues faced by users on a day-to-day basis.
The Challenge is supported by a number of public figures from around the world, including Mallory Weggemann, NBC reporter for the Winter Paralympics in South Korea; Ade Adepitan, British wheelchair basketball player and television presenter; Sama Bullock, Brazilian wheelchair tennis player and model; and Martyn Sibley, journalist and broadcaster; all of whom have lower-limb paralysis and star in this video. Many have created their own personal videos and tweets, in which they share their hopes and ideas for the Challenge, and they are asking others to follow suit.
The Challenge will drive and reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems. The mobility solutions of the future could include anything from exoskeletons, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, from cloud computing to batteries. More information can be found by viewing the video below or be clicking here.
In order to open the challenge up to as many people as possible, ten Discovery Award prizes of $50,000 will be presented to support small, early stage innovators. A panel of expert judges will then 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. Interested innovators can apply online by 15 August at mobilityunlimited.org.
Lower-limb paralysis is estimated to affect hundreds of thousands of people around the world, with the most common causes being strokes, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. The World Health Organization estimates there are 250,000-500,000 new cases of spinal cord injury globally every year.