The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technology Challenge is a challenge to mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and other designers to contribute initial designs for better prosthetic devices and assistive technology.
Prosthetic devices act as a replacement for a part of the body, such as an artificial hand or an artificial leg. Assistive technology is anything, including equipment, software, and computer hardware used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of someone with a disability.
What the VA wants to do is to accelerate the development of technology to improve care and quality of life for disabled Veterans As a disabled veteran, this challenge strikes close to home and hits a soft spot in my heart.
The Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technology Challenge has these four goals.
- Improve patient care and quality of life for our Veterans and their supporters.
- Create an open ecosystem of designs of prosthetics and assistive technologies.
- Demonstrate the value of rapid prototyping and co-creation to develop personalized technologies for Veterans and infuse practices into everyday healthcare processes.
- Spread awareness of VA’s prosthetics and assistive technologies capabilities.
The VA launched the Innovation Creation Series on May 15 at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center in California.
A list of the challenges is posted on the Innovation Creation Series website. The VA is looking for engineers and designers to submit initial prototype designs in these specific areas.
- Develop novel upper extremity devices at the end of the prosthesis for daily use.
- Create a medication pill box that allows the flexibility to hold medications that need to be taken up to 8 times a day with a reminder system for each time medication needs to be taken.
- Design a device to remotely change the speed and grip strength of a prosthetic device for our Veterans with upper extremity injuries.
- Create a way to reassign motions and buttons on gaming controllers to provide alternative access for veterans who are using them in therapy to improve eye hand coordination, fine motor control and/or range of motion.
- Create a device that can dampen tremors when someone is performing fine motor tasks.
From May through June, the Innovation Creation Series website will have:
- An online video and training tools on designing and prototyping
- Experimental engagement via lpsos Girls Lounge PopUp Box
- A link to a shared repository of design
Engineers, designers, and others can contribute initial design solutions to these challenges by using the online tools provided by Innocentive and GrabCad, both of which are online open innovation challenge sites.
The VA will continue to accept proposed solutions to these challenges through the end of June.
The VA Innovation Creation Series will culminate in a 2-day Make-a-Thon Finale on July 28-29, at the Richmond, Virginia Veterans Affairs Medical Center where each one of the submitted designs will be built and tested to discover how well each one meet the needs of disabled veterans and service members.
The Make-a-Thon Finale is sponsored by the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge Collaborators: GE, Google, Toyota, and Hino Trucks.