Toyota launch $4M challenge to transform lives of people with lower-limb paralysis

Published 20 November 2017

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: engineering, design, competition, toyota, wheelchair, exoskeleton, wheelchair design

The Toyota Mobility Foundation has joined with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre to launch a multi-million dollar challenge to expand mobility across the globe for people with lower-limb paralysis.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge will reward development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems, with judges readying to assess solutions from across the technological and design spectrum, from artificial intelligence to exoskeletons.

Supported by international ambassadors from worlds of sport, media, design, art and technology, the finalists will be revealed on 14 January 2019, with the winners announced in Tokyo in 2020 as it aims to radically improve the mobility and independence of people with paralysis.

Ryan Klem, director of programs for Toyota Mobility Foundation, said: “This is the beginning of our challenge, a three-year journey concluding in Tokyo in 2020.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge will award five Finalist Development Grants of $500,000 each to support teams to develop their devices.

Additionally, the challenge wants to attract and support smaller innovators who might otherwise struggle to break into the assistive technology market, so will be awarding $50,000 of seed funding to 10 teams with promising ideas who require funding to develop and submit their entry into the Challenge.

“A journey where the greatest minds in technology, design and engineering, from every corner of the world, will compete to make the environment and society more accessible for people with lower-limb paralysis.

“We know we don’t have solutions yet: this Challenge is about working with the people who can help develop them.”

“Challenge Prizes are a way to make innovation happen,” added Charlotte Macken of Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre.

“The Mobility Unlimited Challenge is about the freedom to move. It will support innovators, creating cutting-edge personal mobility devices incorporating smart technology and intelligent systems that will transform people’s lives.”

The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in 2014 to support the development of a more mobile society, aiming to use Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment and works with universities, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world.

For more information, including on how to enter, click here.

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