Wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan and journalist and broadcaster Martyn Sibley announce a global crowdsourcing campaign to find solutions to the challenges faced by people with lower-limb paralysis. The crowdsourcing, entitled #mymobilityunlimited, will hopefully inspire innovators taking part in the Mobility Unlimited Challenge.
The Challenge is a partnership between the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Nesta, the global innovation foundation which works to tackle equality and empower people to drive change. Setting aside $4million for innovators, it was launched in November 2017 with the aim of changing the lives of people with lower-limb paralysis. Now people around the world are being invited to share their life experiences with lower-limb paralysis and the solutions they would like to see to the challenges they face every day, using the hashtag #mymobilityunlimited. Watch the Mobility Unlimited launch film here
The 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 and will culminate in the unveiling of the winners in Tokyo in 2020. It 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 and make #mymobilityunlimited trend.
Post using #mymobilityunlimited to share your experiences of lower-limb paralysis
The Challenge is also backed by a number of global ambassadors including: Aki Taguchi, director of the Paralympian Association of Japan; August de los Reyes, head of design at Pinterest; Preethi Srinivasan, Indian athlete and campaigner; Dr Rory A Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh; Sandra Khumalo, South African rower; Sophie Morgan, British TV presenter; Tatyana McFadden, US track and field athlete and Yinka Shonibare MBE, Turner-Prize nominated British/Nigerian artist.
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.
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.
Around the world, millions of people have lower-limb paralysis (the most common causes being strokes, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis). While there are no statistics on paralysis worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates there are 250,000 to 500,000 new cases of spinal cord injury globally every year. For more information please visit mobilityunlimited.org and don't forget to use #mymobilityunlimited in posts related to lower-limb paralysis.
About Toyota Mobility Foundation
• The Toyota Mobility Foundation was formed by Toyota in 2014 with the aim of creating a truly mobile society that will help people live better lives no matter where they are.
• The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility.
• The Toyota Mobility Foundation works to provide innovative mobility solutions across the globe, from traffic calming in the world’s busiest cities to hydrogen energy solutions.
• The mission of the Toyota Mobility Foundation is to enable more people to go more places by sharing knowledge, partnering with others and using their innovative spirit to build a more joyful mobile society.
• It utilizes Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, government, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world.
About Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre
Nesta is a global innovation foundation, and its Challenge Prize Centre is an internationally renowned center of expertise in the design and development of challenge prizes for societal impact. The Challenge Prize Centre uses prizes to stimulate innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face, including:
• The Longitude Prize, created to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance and reduce the use of antibiotics.
• The Inclusive Technology Prize, a challenge prize to encourage innovations that gives disabled people equal access to life's opportunities.
• The UNDP’s Renewable Energy Challenge Prize, to find a renewable energy solution capable of providing off-grid power to cover the needs of war-returnee families in rural Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• The Dynamic Demand Challenge Prize, created to reduce carbon emissions by shifting energy demand to off peak times or through excess renewable generation.