The Global Innovation Challenge Executive Committee has announced a new Global Innovation Challenge 2023 Living Assistance Robot Contest with a prize fund of $1 million. Unlike last year, when participants were hindered from traveling and could submit a recorded contest submission, the intent is for the 2023 GIC Contest to be held in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan (less than an hour away from the center of Tokyo).
The competitors for the Global Innovation Challenge 2023 Living Assistance Robot Contest will be people living in wheelchairs. The goal is to test technologies, including powered exoskeletons, that are designed to enable walking without direct assistance or supervision.
The competition will bring together roboticists, researchers, and developers from all over the world to test their devices and ideas. It is an opportunity to involve the target demographic, people with a mobility impairment that require them to use a wheelchair, sooner into the development process.
The Global Innovation Challenge 2023 is structured to simulate tasks of everyday living in a defined “apartment.” Tasks will include sitting on the toilet, preparing for the day, making a meal, running laundry, receiving a package, cleaning and bathing. The best way to explain the competition is to view the entries from the last iteration of the event: Global Innovation Challenge 2021: Living Assistance Robot Award
The challenge is not meant to give people who are paralyzed or rely on a wheelchair due to other causes a sense of false hope that the technology readiness level is here. Assistive robotics technology has some ways to go before it can be safely deployed for home use without supervision. The challenge has some lofty tasks for robotic exoskeletons, which the users are expected to perform completely independently. Another requirement will be the ability to perform tasks with the hands, while presumably, the wearable robot balances by itself.
The Global Innovation Challenge 2023 is an opportunity to integrate the users sooner into the development process. The challenge also provides a structured environment against which the developers can compare their progress. For more on these topics, see Survey Results and Analysis of Usability Evaluation Practices of Use in Wearable Robotics. Powered exoskeletons and wearable robotics will be forced to leave the labs and engineering rooms and face the challenges of everyday living together with their users.
Important Dates for the Global Innovation Challenge 2023 Living Assistance Robot Contest:
- June 1, 2022: Release entry form
- September 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023: Declaration of entry period
- March 31, 2023: Notification of document screening results
- Demonstration: May – June 2023 (tentative)
For more information, including the full rules and requirements, please visit the challenge website: https://global-innovation-challenge.com/en/