Bionics Challenge 2022, a unique Queensland-led competition sponsored by MAIC and designed to fast-track bionic healthcare solutions, has awarded seven of Australia’s most exciting medical bionic discoveries a share in $300,000 of prizes and mentorship to implement initiatives to help change the lives of those impacted by road trauma, related disabilities and chronic disease.
Hosted by Bionics Queensland, the Challenge has awarded $200,000 in major category prizes and a total of $40,000 to a suite of promising, early-stage bionic innovation teams. In addition, a $30,000 National Bionics Innovation Prize plus expert advice on funds attraction has also been awarded.
Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton said that the Bionics Challenge gives renewed hope and insights to current and future solutions to Australians living with road trauma, including serious injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injury or loss of vital functions as a result of road crashes.
“As the regulator of the Queensland CTP scheme, which provides compensation to those injured in road crashes through no fault of their own, we are proud supporters of breakthrough medical devices, treatments and technological discoveries that have the potential to reduce the mental and physical toll of road trauma and assist Queenslanders impacted by an array of related health conditions,” he said.
Among the outstanding line-up of winners are life-changing devices and innovations that improve bionic mobility and rehabilitation technologies, diagnostic devices and neurobionic treatments for traumatic brain injury and stress-induced epilepsy, plus bionic implants that accelerate healing and regeneration of damaged nerves.
The Major Category Prize Winners of the Bionics Challenge 2022 are:
Project Title: Intelligent closed-loop neuromodulation system
Concept: A system that will enable adjustable, situation-specific brain stimulation for individuals impacted by traumatic brain injury with stimulation expected to reduce related risks of depression, PTSD, suicide, and dementia.
Project Leader: Professor Susannah Tye, Queensland Brain Institute
Team: Prof. Michael Berk, Prof. Abbas Kouzani, Prof. Pankaj Sah and Prof. Peter Silburn
Project Title: Pairing smart garments and AI for personalised rehabilitation
Concept: ‘Smarty Pants’ – New sensor-embedded smart garments that remove the guesswork for clinical practitioners, giving them real-time biofeedback on biomarkers to inform personalised rehabilitation exercises.
Project Leader: Bradley Cornish, Griffith University Gold Coast
Team: Bradley Cornish, Dr Claudio Pizzolato, Matthew Worsey, and Nathan Lyons
Project Title: Smart watch enhancements to monitor stress-induced neurobiological and physiological changes that trigger epilepsy
Concept: The use of smartwatch devices to record stress-induced physiological and brain rhythm changes in people living with epilepsy to help reduce the incidence of epilepsy, including seizures aligned to road accident trauma.
Project Leader: Professor Aileen McGonigal, Mater Hospital Brisbane
Team: Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri, Dr Stephane Dufau, Dr Chris Dougherty
Project Title: Minimising the effects of apathy on rehabilitation of road accident survivors: A novel home-based rehabilitation system for traumatic brain injury patients
Concept: A new-to-the-world device to provide an objective and comprehensive measure of apathy to complement physical rehabilitation exercise and VR/AR therapy during rehabilitation. This device is expected to dramatically improve the take-up and sustained use of rehabilitation technologies by road accident survivors.
Project Leader: Dr Shou-Han Zhou, James Cook University Townsville
Team: Dr Liza van Eijk, Dr Jonathon Connor, Dr Sara Brice, Dr Kenji Doma, Dr Omer Shareef
Project Title: NuroMat – a game-changer in wound repair and nerve regeneration for motor accident injuries
Concept: A liquid scaffold that forms an adhesive matrix that matches the geometry of skin defects, providing a bridge to enable wound closure, reduce scar formation and promote nerve regeneration
Project Leader: Dr Babak Bagheri, Gold Coast
Team: Pouyan Bagheri, Yeu Chun Kim, Sachin Subhash Surwase
The Early-Stage Bionic Innovation Winners of the Bionics Challenge 2022 are:
Project Title: Accelerating access to innovative E-stim Treatments for spinal cord injury (SCI) and paralysis
Concept: A new and improved E-stimulation therapy for people impacted by neurological trauma and spinal cord injuries and a suite of innovative e-stimulation training and technology modules
Project Leader: Dr Vanesa Bochkezanian, Central Queensland University
Team: Dr Antonio Padilha Lanari Bo, Dr Camila Quel de Oliveira, Leanne O’ Neill, Lana Popovic Maneski
Project Title: Robotics, AI and co-design with patients to enhance neurorehabilitation and functional recovery from brain and spinal cord injury (SCI)
Concept: Leveraging robotics, artificial intelligence, neuromechanical modelling and a co-design/co-creation framework to deliver a highly personalised approach to exoskeleton assistance and related gait training for SCI patients.
Project Leader: Dr Alejandro Melendez-Calderon, University of Queensland
Team: Dr Camila Shirota, Dr Denny Giguere
The National Bionics Innovation Prize Winner in the Bionics Challenge 2022 is:
Project Title: Life-Changing Injectable Micro-Implants set to Control Spasticity and Pain
Concept: Micro-implants that do not require invasive surgery will deliver real-time controllable relief from muscle spasticity and return functional muscle control to people with traumatic brain and spinal injuries – reducing pain, increasing limb mobility and independence, removing the need for repeated Botox injections or permanent nerve severing surgery.
Project Leader: Dr Joe Dusseldorp
Team: John Paul McKeown, Alistair McEwan, James Fallon
Prize: $30,000 plus mentoring on finance and capital attraction to the value of the prize by Morgans
Bionics Queensland CEO and Challenge Founder, Dr Robyn Stokes said the 2022 Challenge has attracted some of the nation’s brightest minds and innovators who are committed to redefining the future of medical technology and human bionics for those living with road trauma.
“Our Bionics Challenge sees start-ups, R&D leaders and everyday innovators work ‘head-to-head’ with patients and end-users of bionic devices to jump-start new discoveries and improve on existing solutions to transform lives,” said Dr Stokes.
“Our Challenge prizes provide ambitious medtech innovators with a healthy ‘kickstart’ to fund their innovations and help propel them to market, accelerating the development of a new array of life-changing innovations for accident survivors and so many others awaiting new discoveries,” she said.
To find out more visit: www.bionicsqueensland.com.au/bionics-challenge-2022-finalists/