Awards worth $50,000 each will be given to 10 teams in April to develop their applications, and judges will select five finalists from among those 10 on Jan. 14, 2019. Each team of finalists will receive $500,000 to advance their ideas into a prototype. The challenge winner, to be announced in Tokyo in September 2020, will be awarded $1 million to bring its device to the market.
“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” Ryan Klem, director of programs for Toyota Mobility Foundation, said in a press release. “We know we don’t have solutions yet: this Challenge is about working with the people who can help develop them.”
The technology for innovative devices that improve mobility exists, but fragmented markets, regulator restrictions and other challenges can hamper its development. The award program was created to overcome these obstacles, and to promote the work of smaller research groups who that otherwise struggle to break into the assistive technology market.