10 outstanding projects have been shortlisted for the Horizon Prize for Social Innovation, funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
- The WiiGO Retail (Portugal), developed by Follow Inspiration S.A, is born from a personal need of its inventor who is paraplegic since the age of 14. He could not find a true solution that allows him to transport, in a simple way, his purchases while shopping. So he created the WiiGO Retail, an autonomous engine that follows him based on image recognition software, artificial intelligence and sensorization. The WiiGO Retail completely frees the users from the physical effort associated with transporting purchases while shopping.
- Sopotniki (Slovenia), developed by the Sopotniki NGO, provides car transport for the elderly in rural areas. The service is provided by volunteers in collaboration with local municipalities and is free of charge for the older people within individual areas. This solution is based on intergenerational solidarity and is community-led, thus strengthening links between stakeholders in local communities. Sopotniki organises training events and developed several IT tools supporting their solution.
- Walk With Path (Denmark) has developed the Path Finder. This is a shoe attachment to help people with an unsteady and irregular gait. It creates visual cues using lasers and is both hands-free and automated. This device is particularly helpful for people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, who commonly suffer from Freezing of Gait (FoG). FoG is when a person feels as if their feet are frozen to the ground suddenly whilst trying to take a step.
- The PlusBus Local Strong (The Netherlands) is a community transport service run by the National Foundation for the Elderly, a charity that promotes combatting loneliness for elderly people in the Netherlands. The PlusBus focuses on cultural and social activities for older people that are not mobile anymore and cannot go out by themselves. They have adapted the scheme to rural areas and developed the Toolkit Local Strong to better organise this service in collaboration with the local PlusBus communities of Limburg.
- The Freebird Club (Ireland) is a peer-to-peer social travel and homestay club for older people. As a membership club, it allows approved members to travel and stay with each other as part of a trusted community of peers, tackling at the same time issues such as loneliness and isolation, lack of travel options for older adults and financial insecurity in later life. Members with spare rooms can rent them out exclusively to fellow older adult members who wish to travel, participate and interact with like-minded people.
- The MyoSuit (Switzerland), developed by MyoSwiss AG, is a lightweight garment-like device that combines robotics with functional textiles to function as a wearable muscle. This wearable muscle uses novel algorithms and sensing technology to deliver continuous force assistance in an e-bike-like manner. With these intelligent algorithms, the MyoSuit detects the user’s movement patterns and provides optimal support to the lower limbs across activities of daily life such as walking, stair negotiation and sitting transfers.
- Mob4Seniors (France). The Municipality of Toulouse developed the MonToulouse Senior card. This aims to increase the participation of seniors in municipal activities thanks to an intelligent individual card that offers a broad and scalable range of cultural, leisure, digital and sports services for senior citizens in Toulouse and its surrounding rural areas. This card also gives access to the Allô Seniors service, which provides hand-in-hand individual physical support to older residents in Toulouse.
- The Scoozy (The Netherlands), developed by Scoozy BV, is a next generation of mobility scooter. Smarter, safer and more fun to use, this redesigned mobility scooter aims to increase the use of these engines by people with mobility issues by tackling two major problems with current mobility scooters – they are often perceived as stigmatising and highly unsafe for its users.
- The Pink Pick Up (Norway). Oslo instigated a door-to-door, on-demand mobility pilot for people over the age of 67. This bus transport service, supported by a booking app and route planning system, was developed by the Oslo city administration and the publicly owned transport company Ruter. It aims to improve mobility and social inclusion all year long, particularly during winter months when weather conditions are tougher and accentuate existing mobility challenges making it even harder to be active outside the home.
- Adopt Grand Parents (Spain) is an intergenerational companionship platform developed by Adopta un Abuelo Org. Adopt Grand Parents has grown into a comprehensive program with an app combined with a methodology that includes trainings, psychology, match-making. It can be implemented in any part of the world. The controlled and real time supervised app connects generations, gives older people reasons to leave the house, mitigates loneliness while young volunteers learn from their elders during visits.
The 10 finalist projects were selected by a jury of independent experts from the fields of social innovation, age-friendly environments, social finance, assistive technologies, mobility and transport.
All the eligible applications were assessed on the work and progress achieved during the contest based on measurable data that the contestant had to prove against 7 award criteria: measurability, social impact, economic impact, community engagement, scalability and replicability, sustainability, originality and creativity. The winners will be announced in the second half of 2019.
The European Union’s population is ageing. There will be 75 million people over the age of 65 in Europe in 2020, and 88 million in 2030. The share of people aged 65+ should increase from 17.5% of the population in 2010 to 29.5% in 2060 in the EU-27.
This requires reconsidering existing mobility systems in order to meet the needs of older people and help to combat social exclusion and support independent living especially for those with reduced mobility. Providing adequate mobility solutions for older citizens enables them to continue to fully participate in cultural, educational and health activities and services, and to remain active participants of the economy. Developing new mobility solutions or improving existing ones will also provide new opportunities for innovative small companies, transport operators, social economy start-ups and NGOs at local, regional or national level.
24 May 2019