Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, has launched the $4 million Mobility Unlimited Challenge to develop mobility options for people with lower-limb paralysis.

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.

Examples of such solutions could range from exoskeletons, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, from cloud computing to batteries, notes a media release from Toyota Canada Inc.

A panel of expert judges will pick five finalists who will each receive USD $500,000 to take their concepts from an intelligent insight to a prototype. The Challenge winner will receive USD $1 million to help get their product to market—with the winning concept unveiled in Tokyo in 2020.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge Prize is supported by global ambassadors from around the world, all of whom have experience with living with lower-limb paralysis. These 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. We know we don’t have solutions yet: this Challenge is about working with the people who can help develop them,” says Ryan Klem, director of programs for Toyota Mobility Foundation, in the release.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge aims to attract and support smaller innovators who might otherwise struggle to break into the assistive technology market. The Discovery Awards will provide seed funding of $50,000 for 10 groups with promising concepts, but who might otherwise lack the resources to enter the Challenge, the release continues.

[Source(s): Toyota Canada Inc, PR Newswire]