Tuesday 14 November
We are thrilled to announce that Social Tech Trust is partnering with Challenge Works – a Nesta enterprise – to support teams competing in the Longitude Prize on Dementia to develop working prototypes of new assistive technologies to help people living with dementia remain independent for longer.
24 international teams are developing solutions that use AI to learn about their users and adapt to help ‘fill the gaps’ as their cognitive function is progressively reduced by the disease. The solutions will help people to live independently for longer while maintaining fulfilling lives. Five finalists will be selected from these 24 teams in summer 2024.
At Social Tech Trust, we challenge organisations to think differently about technology’s role in society, and we will be helping each innovator assess where their product might benefit from support and provide appropriate technology and data advice. We will also leverage our network of experts to introduce innovators to big tech companies, including Microsoft, AWS and NVIDIA.
The semi-finalists include a range of innovations, from AI gamified software that promotes positive social experiences to help delay decline in brain function (from Memory Lane Games) to biodynamic lighting and sensor systems that can ease symptoms of sundowning – irritability and confusion that can worsen as daylight fades (from Chroma Lighting).
Chris Blues, Director, Social Tech Trust said: “Around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, including 900,000 in the UK. Tech has enormous power to help with many social challenges – including dementia, which can devastate lives, causing people to lose their memory, identity and, sadly, relationships. Supporting innovators with technical and data support to help refine their prototypes is the first step in using technology to ease the lives of those living with dementia.”
Wider capacity-building support and co-creation
The partnership will form just one element of the non-financial support offered to teams participating in the Longitude Prize on Dementia. Alongside the technical support, wider support is being provided through opportunities to ensure all technologies are co-created with people living with dementia or caring for people with dementia.
The innovators will attend two co-creation workshops this month, one focusing on social connectedness and technology features from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (a Canadian partner of the prize) and another on user-centred AI design and personalisation hosted by Innovate UK and National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). Co-creation is essential to ensure that new technologies developed through the prize are designed to meet the needs of their intended beneficiaries and their lifestyles.
Alzheimer’s Society has also established 38 local focus groups involving people living with dementia and their carers. These groups will assist innovators in ensuring their product is co-designed and has considered some of the most important elements of living with dementia. International co-creation and access to user opportunities have also been set up with international partners. This will help to ensure that every innovation learns from people living with dementia and can adapt and support changing needs over time.
Challenge Works is also offering advice and guidance from 15 dementia experts, ranging from frontline dementia healthcare professionals to leading dementia academics, as well as design and customer experience experts. The innovators will be able to book one-on-one sessions with each expert.
Ruth Neale, Programme Manager for the Longitude Prize on Dementia at Challenge Works said: “We’re excited to join forces with Social Tech Trust to provide semi-finalists in the Longitude Prize on Dementia with tailored technical and data support to develop their ideas into prototypes. The team at Social Tech Trust will provide a bespoke technology support package for our international cohort to drive high-quality tech products for the next stage of the competition. This is one element in the programme of capacity-building support that is being provided to teams in the next 12 months.”
About the Longitude Prize on Dementia
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is a £4.42 million prize to drive the creation of personalised, technology-based tools that are co-created with people living with the early stages of dementia, helping them live independent, more fulfilled lives and enabling them to do the things they enjoy.
Dementia is a progressive condition and there is no cure, but people can live well for years. As hospitalisations can increase the rate of decline, the hope is that assistive technology can help people stay safe and independent in their home for longer. The winning solution will use the latest advances in technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning combined with user data and testing to provide personalised support for people living with dementia.
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK and delivered by Challenge Works. More information about the Longitude Prize on Dementia can be found at dementia.longitudeprize.org
About our partners:
Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity. It is a vital source of support and a powerful force for change for everyone affected by dementia. Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer. One in three people born in the UK will develop dementia in their lifetime. For more information or to make a donation, visit alzheimers.org.uk
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency, helping UK businesses to grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.
One of the Discovery Awards awarded, the ‘Paul and Nick Harvey Discovery Award’ is sponsored by the Hunter Foundation, with further support coming from Heather Corrie and the Caretech Foundation.
The prize has also received funding from the Medical Research Council. The MRC funds research at the forefront of science to prevent illness, develop therapies and improve human health.
Challenge Works is a global leader in the design and delivery of challenge prizes mobilising innovation for social good.