We would like to announce that Active Hands have got through to the final stage of the Inclusive Technology Prize competition. Getting this far means that we get guidance and advice, along with financial support, towards developing two new products: a gripping aid for those with limb differences and a fine motor skills aid.
The Inclusive Technology Prize is run by Nesta, in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability, and with support from the Department for Work and Pensions, Innovate UK, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Irwin Mitchell. It is a competition intended to inspire new innovations or improvements to assistive products, technologies and systems for people living with a long term illness or disability in the UK.
Active Hands currently have a range of products that help those with hand function weakness to gain access to a wide range of activities; from getting a grip on equipment in the gym to gardening. Our customers have requested that we create some new models to meet their needs, in particular when it comes to fine motor skills. We have had requests for an aid that allows those with hand function weakness to apply make-up, use drum-sticks, hold a pen or paint brush and other skills that involve a fine grip.
Alongside the fine motor skills aid, we are also developing an aid designed especially for those with limb differences affecting fingers or hands. Those with limb difference have used our current General Purpose gripping aid but they find that there is an excess of neoprene and Velcro if you don’t have fingers to fill the aid. Therefore, we feel the time has come to create an aid to meet this need.
Developing a new product is a costly and time-consuming process. In addition to this, the fine motor skills aid in particular, requires skills in materials that are unfamiliar to us. The ITP not only gives financial help but also gives access to a team of experts who can help you with various parts of the project from helping you to plan your development process to giving you access to relevant test groups.
Active Hands will use the Prize’s support to develop our products further. We attended a day workshop with the Inclusive Technology Prize team on Tuesday that helped us with the next step of the development process. The next submission date is February 2016 when a prototype and a final report will be assessed by the panel. The winner will be declared in March 2016.
A list of the ten finalists and their projects can be found on the Inclusive Technology Prize website.