TORONTO, APRIL 21, 2017 - Five groundbreaking companies from across Ontario that focus on accessibility and assistive technology will compete in Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) $20,000 Accessibility Tech Pitch Competition.
Held at Discovery 2017 on May 15, the competition is part of the third Accessibility Innovation Showcase at the annual Discovery conference and trade show and hosted by OCE in partnership with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS).
The Accessibility Innovation Showcase will bring together 24 Ontario-based companies that focus on improving accessibility, providing them with the opportunity to display their innovation and to network with industry experts, investors, government funders, and the accessibility community. Available throughout the two-day conference, the showcase will build broader awareness of the companies in this sector and enable them to engage with the broader innovation ecosystem.
“The Accessibility Innovation Showcase underscores the importance of inclusion in Ontario, using technology to promote opportunities for people of all abilities,” says Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Accessibility. “Each concept today highlights both the great potential to positively impact daily lives of Ontarians while also further developing our innovation-based economy.”
The five finalists will participate in a Finalist Pitch Workshop before the Tech Pitch Competition on May 15. Each company will have a maximum of 10 minutes to pitch their innovative product or service to the accessibility community and panel of judges, followed by a 10-minute question and answer period.
The winner will receive a $20,000 award to assist with further development of their accessibility solution.
“These finalists are making a real difference by putting accessibility-focused innovation in their products,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “Through our support for the Accessibility Innovation Showcase, we want to unleash the power of our best innovators, industry leaders and entrepreneurs to deploy breakthroughs in a market with unlimited potential.”
The judging panel for the competition, soon to be announced, will include members of the investment community, leaders in the accessibility community and OCE representatives.
The competition finalists are:
Heuristext is a for-profit innovative technology that leverages accessibility by making content easier for everyone to understand, regardless of reading ability. Imagine Google Translate, except that instead of changing information into different languages, Heuristext adapts information to different reading levels.
Heuristext's long-term mission is to improve information equity, with a vision of improving literacy rates. Its current product offering is human-in-the-loop AI service that helps B2B clients adapt their information for multiple audiences across a range of reading levels. Eventually, Heuristext intends to offer a consumer-facing tool to adjust any information.
Komodo OpenLab Inc.
Komodo OpenLab’s goal is to make the world a more accessible place by providing individuals with tools that bridge the gap between themselves and their environment. The company created Tecla, an assistive device that enables access to touch-based and smart home devices for people with limited upper-body mobility as a result of a disability or illness. In addition to controlling multiple smartphones and tablets, Tecla integrates with smart-home and Internet of Things devices, allowing the user to control connected devices with simpler assistive devices like buttons or joysticks. Tecla-e also provides tools for caregivers to monitor Tecla users.
MyndTec Inc. is a medical technology company that researches, develops and distributes innovative therapies designed to improve function, maximize independence and enhance quality of life for people with paralysis due to stroke or spinal cord injury. MyndMove, MyndTec’s first product to market, is a non-invasive rehabilitation therapy that combines patient participation, therapist expertise, and a proprietary eight-channel functional electrical stimulation (FES) device to treat patients suffering from upper-limb paralysis following stroke or spinal cord injury (SCI). MyndMove is the first complete system to provide FES therapy for the full arm with the ability to execute reaching and grasping.
TranQool's mission is to provide clients with high-quality therapy from anywhere at any time. Believing that finances and busy schedules should not stand in the way of mental health, TranQool is providing users with access to affordable therapy via secure video calls to help overcome barriers to access. Prices are half or less than the price of in-person therapy with the same therapists, and by using under-utilized hours from qualified therapists, more people can get the help they need.
TruReach helps people get better, faster by providing them with mental wellness on-the-go, and also solves the problem of costly and inaccessible mental health services for organizations like health insurers and employee assistance programs (EAPs). TruReach gives people instant access to mental health support and decreases costs for the insurer or EAP. The platform provides users with a customized mental health treatment program based on evidence-based content and analytics.
“OCE is proud to once again host the Accessibility Innovation Showcase and Accessibility Tech Pitch Competition, both very popular features of our annual Discovery conference,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO. “When it comes to innovation in the accessibility space, we have seen the positive results of supporting the development of cutting-edge technologies as they improve the everyday lives of people in Ontario and beyond.”
Named Canada's Best Trade Show in 2010, 2011, and 2016, and celebrating 12 years of bold, new ideas, OCE's Discovery is Canada's premier innovation showcase. It brings together the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, investment and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in the areas of energy, fintech, cleantech, the environment, advanced health, digital media, information and communication technologies and advanced manufacturing. The annual conference and showcase attracts more than 3,500 attendees and 500 exhibitors.
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