Novartis Innovation Prize:

Assistive Tech for Multiple Sclerosis

$250,000 for innovators*

See Winners

Novartis awarded a $250,000 prize to the 1st place winner and a $50,000 prize to the runner up in order to fund development of pioneering innovation that could advance Assistive Tech for Multiple Sclerosis.

*Subject to Terms & Conditions

Prize Mission

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord through inflammation and tissue loss.

Loss of mobility is among the most disabling effects of MS, adversely affecting independence, employment and quality of life.1

The Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for Multiple Sclerosis is intended to address this issue and showcase pioneering solutions at SXSW.

1. Jeffrey Dunn (2010) Impact of mobility impairment on the burden of caregiving in individuals with multiple sclerosis, Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 10:4, 433-440, DOI: 10.1586/erp.10.34

In light of the extraordinary cancellation of SXSW, the announcement of the Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for Multiple Sclerosis winners took place virtually.

See winners below

Key Supporters

Novartis is proud to work with a wide variety of experts including accessibility leaders, representatives from the MS patient community, investors and consumer technology professionals within the mobility and healthcare space to bring this prize to life.

Selma Blair

Selma Blair

Advocate and Actor

Srin Madipalli

Srin Madipalli

Head of Accessibility, Airbnb

Tim Coetzee

Tim Coetzee

Judging Chair
Chief Advocacy, Services, and Research Officer, National MS Society

Prize Details

This prize awards $250,000 to the first-place winner and $50,000 to the second-place winner.

Who should apply:

  • Startups
  • Innovators
  • Students & Academics
  • Disability Experts & Patient Advocacy Groups
  • Design Experts
  • And anyone interested in making life better for those living with disabilities

Winners announced on June 25th, 2020

See below for more detail on the winners and runners up.

Prize applications and winners are subject to the Terms & Conditions.

Judges

Josephine Chen

Josephine Chen

Partner, Seed & Venture Investing, Sequoia Capital

Tim Coetzee

Tim Coetzee

Judging Chair
Chief Advocacy, Services, and Research Officer, National MS Society

Srin Madipalli

Srin Madipalli

Head of Accessibility, Airbnb

Satoshi Sugie

Satoshi Sugie

CEO, Whill

With Expert Input From

Sam Billington

Sam Billington

Head of Digital, Shift.MS

Mitch Sturgeon

Mitch Sturgeon

Patient and Advocate

Ambassadors

Selma Blair

Selma Blair

Advocate and Actor

George Pepper

George Pepper

Co-Founder, Shift.MS

Kate Milliken

Kate Miliken

MS Advocate and Founder of MyCounterpane

Winners

Winner – $250,000 award

Maayan Ziv

Maayan Ziv

Canada

AccessNow

AccessNow

www.accessnow.com

AccessNow is a mobile app and website that focuses on sharing information about the accessibility status of places around the world. Designed to empower people with disabilities, the platform crowdsources reviews on businesses with features like accessible parking and washrooms, elevators, ramps, scent-free and quiet spaces, and much more.

Runner Up – $50,000 award

David Hojah

David Hojah

USA

Parrots is a socially assistive robot that empowers people with mobility and communication challenges with the ability to control, communicate and connect with the world. Parrots is a plug-and-play intelligent device, controlled by all kinds of abilities switches such as eye-tracking, with an inclusive user-friendly app. Parrots is designed to provide users with safe navigation, 360 computer vision, AI/ML smart communication with intuitive prediction and smart home connectivity.

NOTE: Parrots is the new brand name for Loro

Finalists

Peter Grande

Canada

MUVE

www.gomuve.com

MUVE, or My Universal Vision for Everyone, is a universally designed Ride Share/Ride Hail and community building software platform for people of all abilities. It tackles accessible transportation by aggregating and coordinating specialized vehicles and drivers to efficiently support a wide range of user and community stakeholder needs. MUVE helps to remove barriers by providing efficient transportation services while also increasing community engagement through curated local events and crowd sourced information on the built environment for all to use and share. Together, we are stronger! 

Lucy Jones

USA

FFORA

www.liveffora.com

FFORA is one of the first lifestyle brands to offer an array of stylish accessories that interact effortlessly with mobility devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes, and are equally desired by able-bodied people.

Claudiu Leverenz

Germany

Munevo Drive

www.munevo.com

Munevo has developed a head control system for people who cannot conventionally control an electric wheelchair. In contrast to established, mostly mechanical controls, Munevo Drive is the first to detect head movements with the help of a Smartglass. The user can calibrate the system themselves, which allows Munevo Drive to be precisely tailored to different capabilities. The adapter developed by Munevo is a plug-and-play solution and can be connected to all current models of electric wheelchairs.

Camilo Navarro

USA

Wheel the World

www.gowheeltheworld.com

Wheel the World is a web platform where users can find and book accessible travel products, such as hotels, tours or packages, with the accessibility characteristics the user requires. Users’ profiles detail their accessibility needs, search for destinations and look for travel products with all their specific accessibility information.

Lise Pape & Nuala Burke

Denmark

Path Feel

www.walkwithpath.com

Path Feel is a voice-activated, discreet and smart insole innovated to return mobility to people with MS. Path Feel provides specifically selected frequencies to the soles of the feet, allowing the user to ‘feel’ the ground again. Through a connected app, a multitude of inbuilt sensors and gait algorithms powered by machine learning allow Path Feel to learn how you walk through AI algorithms and provide personalised care and education for a person with MS and their chosen support network. Path Feel is designed for people with MS who have a reduced ability to engage in the purposeful and meaningful activities they hope to.

Isabel Van De Keere

United Kingdom

Immersive Rehab

www.immersiverehab.com

Immersive Rehab's Neurorehab Platform provides a personalized, engaging and clinically validated solution to the current limitations of neurorehabilitation, particularly for people with significant upper limb mobility limitations as a result of MS, stroke spinal injury and ALS. By combining physical and cognitive rehab, it is possible to obtain important gains in mobility and function.

Bernhard Winter

Switzerland

Scewo Bro

www.scewo.ch

Scewo Bro is a mobility device with two large wheels on the side on which it balances. In this balancing mode, one can drive over small obstacles with agility. When approaching a stair, two rubber tracks underneath are retracted. The seat of the chair is kept level all the time. The transitions on and off the stairs are completely automated.

Hsin Hua Yu

United Kingdom

Aergo

www.aergo.co.uk

Posture is vital to healthy respiration, digestion and upper motor function to perform daily activities. For people living with MS, maintaining an optimal sitting position can become a daily challenge due to muscle weakness, fatigue and pain. To address this, the Aergo seating system provides automated postural management using a network of pressure sensitive air cells. As the user becomes fatigued and loses alignment, the air cells proactively hug them into a healthy sitting position. By actively managing posture, Aergo can optimise mobility and improve comfort for people living with MS.

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