Nesta Inclusive Technology Prize


In early 2015, Leonard Cheshire Disability partnered with Nesta to support the delivery of their Inclusive Technology Prize, a challenge prize that aims to foster and champion innovations in Assistive Technology that will positively impact on the lives of disabled people.

Inclusive Technology Prize

Inclusive Tech is seeking innovations in products, technologies and systems that enable disabled people, their families, friends and carers equal access to life’s opportunities. Innovations must involve co-creation with disabled people and can relate to any aspect of life including, but not limited to, education, home, leisure, transport and work.

From 203 entrants, 25 semi-finalists were selected. The 25 semi-finalists received £2,000 and had access to a range of non-financial support to develop their idea further in preparation for the next stage of the competition. We ran the first induction workshop for the 25 semi-finalists in March 2015, and since then have provided each entrant with bespoke support to develop their business plans, including support with understanding impact, marketing, and user testing.

Working with Nesta and an expert judging panel, these 25 have now been whittled down to 10 finalists. Each finalist will receive £10,000 as well as tailored expert support. All of which will enable them to build and user test a working prototype of their product as well as create business plans. They will then present these to the judging panel in February 2016. The winner will receive £50,000 to help bring their product to market.

Read more about the finalists below:

A gripping device to enable those with limb difference to hold many objects or small items — Active Hands

active hands

In response to customer feedback we plan to develop and bring to market two new products for the Active Hands range. The first is a gripping aid specific to those with limb difference either from birth or from amputation. This device would enable users to firmly hold large or heavy objects or use gym equipment. The second aid would enable users to hold small objects such as pens, paint brushes, make up items and other small objects giving independence in many day to day tasks which would otherwise be impossible or very difficult.

Affordable Bionic Hands — Open Bionics

open bionics

We plan to make bionic hands more affordable, comfortable to wear, and enjoyable to look at. A bionic hand is a truly life-changing technology. It has a huge impact in a hand amputee’s everyday life. It offers a far greater degree of freedom, quality of life, and independence. An amputee with a bionic hand can pick up a fork with ease to feed themselves, help them get dressed easier, even go to the bathroom by themselves. This tech can help amputees get back into work, hold their child’s hand to cross the road, and to do up their shoe laces. The problem is bionic hands are unaffordable, so we plan to 3D print them for £1,000 and sell them directly to the amputee.

AzuleJoe: the first open source communication aid — eQuality Time

Communication is a human right but there are 23,000 people in the UK who are literally silenced by lack of access to assistive technology. AzuleJoe is an open source assistive communication technology that can run on any platform, from iPad to laptop to Kindle, without installation or complex setup. Our USP is our free-at-the-point-of-delivery model and ease of transfer between devices. There are a range of expensive solutions for people who need assistive technology to communicate. However, AzuleJoe is the first open-source option that is free at the point of delivery.

Evolvable Walking Aid; the modular range can be assembled to form different walking aids — Cara O'Sullivan

The Evolvable Walking Aid Kit is a modular range of components which can be assembled to form different types of walking aid to provide users with the specific type of support they require. Having control over their support increases the user’s confidence and reduces their risk of injury or falls, which are only due to rise with the increasing use of walking aids resulting from a growing and aging population. This improves both physical and psychological aspects of rehabilitation at the same time as offering independence and reducing the financial impact of transitioning between different types of walking aid.

HandyClix — A one handed lap belt — National Star

Many wheelchair users are impaired in the use of one hand. Because current wheelchair lap belts require two hands to connect them, assistance is always required creating dependency and promoting a loss of independence and dignity. HandyClix is a one handed lap belt designed to allow the user to attach and tighten the belt using only one hand. The universal design allows for right or left handed users and can be fitted to different styles of wheelchair. A choice of buckle designs allows users to select the most appropriate and a retractable belt option allows accessible storage. HandyClix retails from £27.

Hearing Loop Listening App — Action on Hearing Loss (RNID

Action on Hearing Loss

The Hearing Loop Listening App would allow people without hearing aids, who have mild to moderate hearing loss, hear speech and music more clearly at locations and venues where a hearing loop is installed. The app would allow users to listen to the loop via headphones connected to a smartphone or tablet. Service providers will also benefit from this app, using it as a quick and easy way to check that their hearing loop is working.

How do I? Use of Near Field Communication to Teach Independent Living — Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research CentreSkills

Swiss Cottage School

Use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to teach life skills to people with learning disabilities. An application links instructional videos to NFC stickers attached to household objects. When you hold your tablet or smartphone over a sticker, the app will launch a video for that object, e.g. A sticker on the kettle would launch the video ‘How do I make a cup of tea?’ and a sticker on a wardrobe would launch the video ‘How do I get dressed?’. In this way, we make consumer goods smarter and more accessible; we facilitate transitions to independent living; reduce dependence on care and support workers; and make measurable improvements to life at home.

Nimble — Version 22 Design

Nimble is the one-finger package opener that gives disabled people their independence back in the kitchen and on the go. With one swipe of their finger they can go from having to ask for help opening plastic food packaging to opening it themselves with ease. Nimble’s safe blade profile means you can’t cut yourself when using it and its patent pending one-finger operation makes it accessible for people with limited hand mobility, joint pain, little-to-no hand strength, hand tremors, reduced hand-eye co-ordination, deformed or swollen hands and for people with only one usable hand — such as stroke victims or amputees.

PlanHub — Votre Chemin

Votre Chemin

There are 11 million disabled people, 433 local authorities and countless support services in the UK. This fragmented approach makes enabling a disabled person to live independently harder than it needs to be. PlanHub is a new, customisable platform designed to enable a disabled person to have a voice. By linking emergency information, plans, administration and services into a single, online location, opened using a Near Field Communication Chip accessed via a reader or mobile with NFC, users can decide what information the system holds about them, and who they want to be able to see it.

Supportspace — Futurecoders


Supportspace is a multi-platform application that connects Personal Care Budget recipients with support workers and the Social Services agency that administers funding. Future Coders believes that this will be a great empowering tool for disabled persons and a time and money saving device for statutory authorities.

On Nesta's website you can find out more information, and recent news, about the Inclusive Technology Prize.