£100,000 boost for tech innovators seeking to improve disabled people’s lives

Vibrating footwear which warns the user of obstacles ahead and 3D printers which can produce prosthetic hands are just 2 of the ground-breaking ideas on the shortlist for the Inclusive Technology Prize, announced today (9 March 2015).

Disabled people across the UK are set to benefit from a £100,000 boost to these innovative technologies thanks to funding from the government, which is backing the award scheme.

The money has been awarded to 25 entrepreneurs and designers, who have made the semi-final of the prize. They will use the money to develop their ideas further before competing to win a £50,000 government contract in March 2016.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mark Harper said:

Innovative technology can make a real difference to the lives of disabled people and I’m delighted that the Inclusive Technology Prize has inspired all of these cutting edge ideas.

Supporting disabled people to live full lives and enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else is an absolute priority for us and I am confident that advances in technology will continue to enable us to do more.

I wish all the nominees the best of luck.

Launched in October 2014, the Inclusive Technology Prize aims to inspire technological innovation from British businesses and individuals in order to improve the lives of the UK’s 12.2 million disabled people, as well as their families, carers, and communities.

In addition to the funding, the 25 semi-finalists will receive mentoring and support to further develop their plans. The 10 finalists selected in June will then each receive a further £10,000 to build their prototypes, with the overall winner awarded the £50,000 contract in March 2016.

A panel of expert judges, including comedian Jess Thom (co-founder of Tourettes Hero) and Liz Sayce (Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK), considered entries on the basis of innovation, insight and impact to agree the shortlist.

The award also aims to highlight the issues that disabled people experience in their everyday lives, and help to build a more vibrant market for accessible technologies. By expanding in this area, businesses can also harness the combined spending power of the UK’s disabled people of more than £212 billion a year, known as the “purple pound”.

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