The Sunshine Coast’s sports science, medtech and innovation leaders have been granted an exclusive insight into a game-changing bionics challenge aimed at making the improbable possible for millions of people living with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

Bionics Queensland Challenge 2020 sponsored by Advance Queensland will see three teams share $150,000 in prize money and participate in a program of expert mentoring to help fast-track their ground-breaking innovations and research across bionic mobility, bionic senses and neural and AI-enabled bionics.

The Challenge, which will open on November 29, is the first major initiative of Bionics Queensland, a not-for-profit that aims to accelerate bionic healthcare solutions for people living with complex disabilities, chronic disease and previously untreatable conditions.

Speaking at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, Bionics Queensland founder and chair Dr Dimity Dornan AO said the Challenge would be open to innovators and researchers from all walks of life.

 

“Bionics Queensland Challenge 2020 is a game-changer for our community, with Queensland’s best and brightest minds being given the chance to showcase human bionics research and innovations that will change the face of healthcare,” she said.

“Along with identifying, celebrating and fast-tracking stand-out innovations, we want to upskill and reward the amazing individuals and teams who are committed to developing bionics solutions. While the funding on offer is attractive, so too is the chance to connect with and be mentored by leading researchers and businesses.

“If someone has a burning idea to assist people living with disability or chronic disease, there has never been a better time to share it and work with others to make it happen.”

Entrants will be invited to nominate bionic innovations that provide a therapeutic intervention, sensory feedback and use of technologies or services that lead to full or partial restoration or replacement of a human function.

This might be achieved via a neural-linked prosthesis or device, a brain-computer or brain-machine interface, artificial intelligence (AI) that is internally implanted or electrical stimulation of nerves or muscles.

Quadruple amputee and Bionics Queensland board member Matthew Ames said he was thrilled the organisation was being proactive in its search for the next breakthrough in bionic healthcare.

“As the first recipient of bilateral mind-controlled bionic arms in the world, I have a huge appreciation for the power of health innovation to change the world,” said Mr Ames, who lost all four limbs in 2012 as a result of toxic shock from Streptococcus A.

“It is essential medical researchers and innovators have the support they need to reach for the stars and the Bionics Queensland Challenge 2020 is a huge step in the right direction.”
Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO Mark Paddenburg said the Challenge was a great example of visionary organisations working together to find solutions that would benefit millions of people.
“We are very keen to collaborate with Bionics Queensland, USC and the business community to showcase and promote the Challenge across the cream of the Sunshine Coast’s health, medical and sporting research community and our wider innovation ecosystem,” he said.

“With the opening of Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Sunshine Coast Health Institute and a suite of advanced healthcare facilities across the region, the Sunshine Coast is well-placed to succeed with bionic healthcare innovations.”

USC’s Professor of Sport Science (Biomechanics) Brendan Burkett said the Challenge event was an ideal opportunity for USC researchers and graduates to further explore collaboration in Bionics to make a difference in people’s lives.

“For bionics to be successful we need to ensure that the adaptive technology is matching and simulating human performance,” he said.

“By creating a better understanding of this process we will also enable advances in people who need and use bionics, but also the entire population.

“With USC’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes there are several opportunities to test and assess these advances in bionics.”

For more on Bionics Queensland Challenge 2020, visit www.bionicsqueensland.com.au/challenge