- Innovations created by the 24 semi-finalists include an app that helps people living with dementia communicate, high-tech facial recognition glasses to identify familiar faces, and an augmented reality map to help people safely find their way around their area.
- Semi-finalists – including three Canadian teams – will each receive $130k grants as part of the overall $6.7m Longitude Prize on Dementia driving the co-creation of personalised technologies to help people living with dementia enjoy independent and fulfilled lives.
- The Longitude Prize on Dementia is funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK and delivered by Challenge Works.
26 June 2023 (Toronto, Canada/London, UK) – An intuitive music therapy platform, a digital-health system that prevents injuries, and a “Yellow Brick Road” map to help people navigate their community are just three of the solutions that have made it to the semi-finals of the £4m Longitude Prize on Dementia.
A total of CA$3m (£1.9m) has today been awarded to 24 pioneering teams of developers, researchers and innovators from across the globe in the international challenge competition funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, and designed and delivered by Challenge Works. The prize is supported by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), powered by Baycrest, and AGE-WELL in Canada.
Discovery Awards of $130k (£80k) have been awarded to teams around the world, including three in Canada, to develop new technologies to improve the lives of people living with dementia. The teams will now work alongside people living with dementia and their carers to ensure technologies are intuitive, easy-to-use and able to adapt to their changing needs.
- LUC101 from LUCID Inc (Toronto). LUC101 is a system that offers personalised music sessions designed to ease anxiety and agitation for people living with dementia.
- AI-based digital health system from KITE – Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. A preventative AI-based digital health system that can detect and respond to risky behaviour, limiting the chance of injuries for those living with dementia.
- CUE-D, Northumbria University (UK) and University of Toronto. A machine learning and artificial intelligence device that flags when someone has lost track of a task through behavioural and physiological indicators, then provides the relevant cues to get them back on track.
- An augmented reality map to prevent people getting lost or confused – The Dorothy Community from Care City (London, UK). A digital “Yellow Brick Road” map that uses augmented reality to provide visualised pathways for people living with dementia to independently navigate.
Dr. Allison Sekuler, President & Chief Scientist, CABHI said: “The diversity of solutions generated by the Longitude Prize on Dementia is truly impressive. We’re excited to support the three Canadian teams named today, working with them to advance their innovations and to enhance the lives of people with dementia.”
Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO, AGE-WELL said: “The Longitude Prize on Dementia semi-finalists are co-creating technologies with people living with dementia – a crucial component to ensure that innovations meet the needs of older adults and their care partners. We look forward to supporting these teams to deliver much-needed solutions for people living with dementia.”
Kate Lee, CEO, Alzheimer’s Society, UK, said: “It’s vital people with dementia are able to live independently, doing things that bring them fulfilment, for as long as possible. And that’s exactly what tech innovation can provide. Today’s Discovery Award winners all have the capacity to develop cutting-edge tools that bring hope to the here and now, making a tangible difference to people’s lives.”
Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK said: “By addressing dementia the Longitude Prize tackles a global health crisis. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. Innovate UK is pleased to support this initiative along with the other vital work we are doing in this area. The UK is a global leader in innovation for healthy ageing and this prize will incentivise new technologies. This will help people with dementia, their families and their carers, to make living with the condition easier.”
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is driving the development 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 enable them to do the things they enjoy.
The competition itself has also been co-designed with people living with dementia. Judges were advised in their decision making by the prizes Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP).
Trevor Salomon, whose wife Yvonne was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, is Chair of the Longitude Prize on Dementia’s Lived Experience Advisory Panel. The group – which includes people living with dementia, carers and former carers – has steered the design of the prize, as well as the judging and assessment processes.
Trevor said: “Before her diagnosis, my wife astonished everyone with her ability to do anything she set her mind to. She was an amazing cook, gardener, and there was nothing she couldn’t make or repair on her sewing machine.
“If we could access technologies that help extend her independence and her enjoyment of those pastimes, it would be so worthwhile. So I’m really impressed by the innovative thinking and creativity of the Discovery Award winners. Advances in AI could lead to new technologies that would be transformative for people like my wife – but they need to be easy to use, intuitive and adapt to the unique needs of each person. Technologies shouldn’t be developed in a bubble; they need to be designed and tested by the people who will ultimately benefit from them.”
In 2024, five finalists will progress with additional $2.5m (£1.5m) in funding to build real-world prototypes. In total, more than $5m (£3m) will be awarded in seed funding and development grants with a $1.7m (£1m) first prize to be awarded in 2026.
In addition, wider expert non-financial support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise in the next three years, such as access to data, specialist facilities, collaborations with people living with dementia and expert advice on technical and business aspects of the innovation and to facilitate knowledge sharing between participants.
One of the Discovery Awards awarded today, the ‘Paul and Nick Harvey Discovery Award’, is sponsored by the Hunter Foundation, with further support coming from Heather Corrie and the Caretech Foundation.
To find out more about the Longitude Prize on Dementia and the 24 Discovery Award winners progressing to the semi-finals of the prize, visit dementia.longitudeprize.org.