Prizes for winner and runner-up total $75k in cash and in-kind services
WINNIPEG, Oct. 19, 2017 /CNW/ - A new technology being developed to decrease hand tremors has won a national ideathon competition hosted by the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence and HACKING HEALTH.
The device, which is patent pending, is a lightweight, compact and battery-free stabilizing glove. Steadiglove uses a "smart" fluid designed to provide resistance to hand tremors from Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.
"Essential tremor and Parkinson's disease can cause debilitating hand tremors that make the simplest of activities, such as eating, drinking and writing, a real challenge," said Mark Elias, CEO and co-founder of Steadiwear Inc., who created Steadiglove with Emile Maamary.
The new glove uses the same vibration-damping technology that stabilizes buildings against earthquakes and wind vibration—technology that Elias first encountered as a student of civil engineering.
The team has seen promising results in beta tests with several volunteers, and a formal clinical trial is now being planned, Elias told a panel of expert judges at the AGE-WELL‒HACKING HEALTH National Ideathon Competition, held yesterday in Winnipeg, MB.
He said the inspiration for Steadiglove was his own grandmother, who lives with hand tremor. "This condition mainly affects the senior population, and has an impact on their independence and quality of life," he said. It's a problem that affects over 200 million people worldwide.
Elias said there is a clear need for new solutions for hand tremor. Medications for the condition often produce side effects that outweigh the benefits, while weighted options can cause wrist strain and surgery is invasive and can be risky, he said.
"We think the potential for Steadiglove is great. We're ecstatic about winning the ideathon, and the funds will be injected towards manufacturing a certain number of units and conducting a formal clinical trial."
The transdisciplinary team, which has advisors who are experts in tremors, chemistry and technology for seniors, plans to bring Steadiglove to market in 2018.
The startup is incubated at the University of Toronto's Impact Centre and receives funding from the Ontario Brain Institute, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and AGE-WELL.
Seven finalists took part in yesterday's competition, which was the culmination of a Canada-wide competition to identify and invest in great new technologies and services to support healthy aging. Local ideathons were held in recent months in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver.
MyMem was the runner-up yesterday for a technology that will help older people and those with dementia to recall information easily and independently using artificial intelligence.
The winner's prize is valued at $50,000 (cash and in-kind services), and the runner-up prize is valued at $25,000 (cash and in-kind).
AGE-WELL (Canada's Technology and Aging Network) teamed up with the global initiative HACKING HEALTH in 2016 to launch the healthy-aging ideathon competition. More than 300 people took part in the four local ideathons which brought together entrepreneurs, researchers, post-secondary students, older adults, caregivers and others to work towards solutions that will produce social and economic benefits. Seven projects were selected to proceed to the final round.
An ideathon is a collaborative, workshop-like event where diverse stakeholders harness their collective knowledge and creativity to brainstorm innovative solutions to pressing challenges. Participants use user-centric design techniques and methodologies (such as ideation, journey mapping and prototyping), and the creation of an initial business case, to propose a novel solution.
The national competition was sponsored by Bereskin & Parr and the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto. Local sponsors included: Aging 2.0 Local l Toronto; the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA); Desjardins; MaRS; MedStack; and MEDTEQ.
Yesterday's grand finale was held before an audience of over 200 attendees at AGE-WELL's 3rd Annual Conference.
For more information about the finalists and competition, visit: http://agewell-nce.ca/archives/5624
For more about Steadiwear, visit: https://steadiwear.com/
AGE-WELL NCE Inc. (@AGEWELL_NCE) is a pan-Canadian network of industry, non-profit organizations, government, care providers, end users, and academic partners working together using high-quality research to drive innovation and create technologies and services that benefit older adults and caregivers. Its vision is to harness and build upon the potential of emerging and advanced technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), e-health, information communication technologies (ICTs), and mobile technologies to stimulate technological, social, and policy innovation. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program.
About HACKING HEALTH
HACKING HEALTH (http://hackinghealth.ca, @hackinghealthca) is a Canadian-based international non-for-profit organization. With over 40 cities across 5 continents, HACKING HEALTH's goal is to promote more innovation in healthcare through collaboration by putting healthcare professionals and patients at the centre of the innovation process, allowing participants to build realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line healthcare problems. HACKING HEALTH partners with renowned organizations and institutions such as AGE-WELL to develop a worldwide patient centered movement.
SOURCE AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE)