The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, has launched a $4 million global challenge to change the lives of people with lower-limb paralysis, culminating in the unveiling of the winners in Tokyo in 2020. 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 paralysed people.
The Mobility Unlimited Challenge aims to harness creative thinking from across the world to accelerate innovation and encourage collaboration with users to find winning devices to transform the world for people with lower-limb paralysis. The Challenge will reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems.
While there are no statistics on paralysis worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates there are 250,000-500,000 new cases of spinal cord injury globally every year.
The Mobility Unlimited Challenge Prize is supported by a number of ambassadors from around the world, all of whom have experience of living with lower-limb paralysis. Global ambassadors include: August de los Reyes, Head of Design at Pinterest; Yinka Shonibare MBE, Turner-Prize nominated British/Nigerian artist; Sandra Khumalo, South African Paralympic rower; Indian athlete and campaigner Preethi Srinivasan; Sophie Morgan, British TV presenter; US Paralympian Tatyana McFadden; and Rory A Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh.
“This is the beginning of our challenge, a three-year journey concluding in Tokyo in 2020. 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,” said Ryan Klem, Director of Programs for Toyota Mobility Foundation.