Determined to help people with leg disabilities realize their desire to stand and walk on their own, the Global Innovation Challenge Executive Committee has launched the “Global Innovation Challenge 2021 — Living Assistance Robot Award” under the theme of ensuring living assistance for disabled people with the aim of achieving a society where people will not have to be conscious about disabilities.
Global Innovation Challenge’s initiative helping people with leg disabilities realize their desire to stand and walk on their own There are growing numbers of people in the world who need living assistance because of advanced age, illnesses, and injuries they suffered in accidents, among other factors.
While both assistance providers and recipients are required to shoulder certain mental, physical, and financial burdens, investors are not necessarily enthusiastic about investing in the development of robots for health and welfare because the market for this field is relatively small.
The social structure that makes it difficult to achieve demand-supply balance for new options to help disabled people broaden the scope of their living.
The improvement of public infrastructure and the promotion of barrier-free access now allows people with leg disabilities to lead their daily lives on their own to a greater extent if they have wheelchairs.
Still, their activities are restricted in areas where such an environment has not been sufficiently developed. For example, if people with leg disabilities visit their friends’ homes that have not been made barrier-free like their own homes, their activities will be restrained.
They can travel by using wheelchairs, receiving assistance from others, and using support equipment to walk, but many of them desire to stand and walk on their own.
Regardless of whether sufficient public infrastructure is in place and barrier-free access is available, the organizer of the initiative believes that robots that help people walk on their own will allow those with leg disabilities to enjoy freer daily lives in their own ways to a greater extent.
Establishment of Living Assistance Robot Award The Living Assistance Robot Award has been established to ensure that innovative robots that help people in wheelchair fully use their residual functions to walk on their own will be broadly in use all over the world. The award will support those engaged in research and development of such robots worldwide.
Message from Tatsufumi Kamimura, chairman of the Global Innovation Challenge Executive Committee “Science and technology have been advancing constantly. Smartphones have realized many things that were previously regarded just like dreams.
Our daily lives and business activities are moving at an increasingly rapid pace and we live in a world where we can try new things. However, once people become physically disabled because of accidents or illnesses, they find it difficult to lead ordinary lives.
“We have established this award because we believe that we can create a world where people won’t have to be conscious about disabilities by applying evolving science and technology to the field of health and welfare and supporting engineers in this field.
“We would be glad if this award helps those engaged in research and development all over the world.” – Overview of Global Innovation Challenge – Living Assistance Robot Award This award is given to organizations developing robots that help people with leg disabilities walk on their own.
Specifically, the committee will commend organizations that have developed robots allowing people with leg disabilities to walk on their own and support their motions in various aspects of daily lives. Moreover, prize money will be awarded to such organizations to support their research and development.
Qualifications: Organizations developing robots that help people whose lower limbs are paralyzed to walk on their own.
Criteria for selection The organizer will set up seven assumed scenes of daily life and judge whether robots entered in the contest can allow physically disabled people to walk on their own in each scene.
Some of the prize money: Achieving one of the given tasks / achieving some of the given tasks / achieving all the given tasks1 million U.S. dollars (approximately 100 million yen) in total sum Schedule.
Period of entries: from September 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021Announcement of screening results: July 1, 2021Award ceremony & demonstrations of prize-winning robots: September 5, 2021 (not fixed yet) at GIC Tsukuba Innovation Center *All schedules in this press release are based on Japan Standard Time (JST, UTC+9).