MassChallenge is a Boston-based independent not-for-profit initiative with the mission to fund entrepreneurs and inventors so they can turn their innovative ideas into reality.
They have raised over 400 million dollars over the past four years which they use to award investment capital to promising new businesses and product proposals. But MassChallenge winners (they call them alumni) have access to more than just start-up money: They are placed in mentorship programs and are also part of the MassChallenge promotional network, all in order to help these businesses grow and bring new products to market.
Perkins has been involved with the MassChallenge for a number of years by funding the Perkins Sidecar Prize for Assistive Technology, a $25,000 prize awarded to the best new product or service designed to help people who are blind or disabled lead more independent lives.
Perkins and Perkins Products believe that all individuals, regardless of disability, deserve access to technology that will allow them to thrive. But what if that technology hasn't been invented yet? This partnership between Perkins and MassChallenge ensures that new innovative concepts are allowed to become reality!
Innovation in the Making
This year's suite of Assistive Technology applicants is more impressive than ever! The Perkins team has narrowed down the pool to five finalists, all of which are presenting ground-breaking new ideas. Over the next week we'll introduce you to each of these applicants and their amazing ideas... but only one will win! The winner will be announced at the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony on October 29, 2014. Come back here to see who wins or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or watch the hashtag #MCAwards14.
Meet our Applicants
What is Ustrapp? Ustrapp is a wearable device that tells the user, through haptic vibrations, about what is in their environment. The wristband offers feedback in various intensity to alert the user to objects around them, how big they are, how far away and how dense. There is also an optional wireless earpiece that couples the haptic feedback of the wristband with audio alerts.
Kinems Learning Games
What is Kinems Learning Games? Kinems Learning Games has developed kinetic learning games for children with learning disabilities, such as Autism, Dyspraxia, or ADHD. These games are designed to turn therapy into play! Each game incorporates hand and body gestures as well as cognitive skills so they encourage movement as well. The games also come equipped with specialized analytics that will tell you how well your child is doing and what they are learning while they play.
What is ArtLifting? ArtLifting is a program that connects disabled, homeless or ill artists with customers interested in purchasing their art. Many people find solace through art and often produce amazing pieces through centers, hospitals, group programs or on their own. ArtLifiting provides these people an opportunity to not only create their works of art, but also sell them and build their own careers.
What is Myndlift? Myndlift is an app designed to help users increase their attentiveness and concentration. The app combines neurofeedback (collected through an EEG headset) with innovative tools and training games to increase attention and battle ADHD without drugs or side effects.
What is Talkitt? Talkitt is an app that learns the speech patterns of people with speech impediments then "translates" their speech into understandable voice output for others who they are conversing with. Using real time voice-to-voice technology, Talkitt can immediately produce understandable speech so people with speech disabilities can converse normally with others.