Toyota and Nesta launch a crowdsource for mobility ideas

News Uncategorised

8 March 2018 saw Toyota and Nesta launch a crowdsource for mobility ideas as part of a wider total prize fund of $4 million.   The Mobility Unlimited Challenge is announcing a crowdsourcing initiative, aimed at helping inspire entrants in their quest to develop life-changing technology for people with lower-limb paralysis. The #MyMobilityUnlimited campaign will invite people around the world to share their life experiences with lower-limb paralysis and the solutions they would like to see to the challenges they face every day.

Supported by disability champions including Ade Adepitan and Martyn Sibley, the global crowdsourcing campaign was launched to identify solutions to the challenges faced by people with lower-limb paralysis, as part of the Mobility Unlimited Challenge.  The Challenge is encouraging a user-centered approach and will invite people with lower-limb paralysis, across the world, to take part in a global conversation about the types of mobility technology innovations they would like to see, using the hashtag #MyMobilityUnlimited. These suggestions will then be used to inspire entrants to create genuinely life-changing technologies which directly address the issues faced by users on a day-to-day basis.

Mobility Unlimited Challenge Champions

The Challenge is supported by a number of public figures from around the world, including Mallory Weggemann, NBC reporter for the Winter Paralympics in South Korea; Ade Adepitan, British wheelchair basketball player and television presenter; Sama Bullock, Brazilian wheelchair tennis player and model; and Martyn Sibley, journalist and broadcaster; all of whom have lower-limb paralysis and star in this video. Many have created their own personal videos and tweets, in which they share their hopes and ideas for the Challenge, and they are asking others to follow suit.

The Challenge will drive and reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems. The mobility solutions of the future could include anything from exoskeletons, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, from cloud computing to batteries.

In order to open the challenge up to as many people as possible, ten Discovery Award prizes of $50,000 will be presented to support small, early stage innovators. A panel of expert judges will then pick five finalists who will each receive $500,000 to take their concepts from an intelligent insight to a prototype. The Challenge winner will receive $1,000,000 to make the device available to users with the winning concept unveiled in Tokyo in 2020. Interested innovators can apply online by 15 August at

What do you think about the Mobility Unlimited Challenge?

Do you agree that with their focus on lower-limb paralysis?  Do you think that they could do more with a wider focus?  Do you agree that assistive technology is out of reach of many?  Have you taken part with the challenge?  Sign in using your Facebook or Twitter and tell us in the comments below.

A wheelchair user for 20 years, Dominic looks at how a wheelchair works for its user base, not the brochure. Dominic is our lead editor.


  1. Wow what an amazing opportunity……. but in a world where we are already SO limited because of our disability it saddens me when i read things like this that again limit people down to “types” of disability ….. Why only available to people with lower limb paralysis ? This could open up a whole world for so many people so i’m confused as to why they would want to limit that opportunity to a certain group of people.

  2. I have been using a chair for 17 years due to spina bifida and fibromyalgia. I can walk very short distance but this is pain. I have found that must adult chairs arent geared up for people under 5ft tall. I find it hard to push my manual chair because the wheel base is too low and means that I have to use more energy to get anywhere which is very tiring.

  3. I don’t understand why it’s only for people with lower limb paralysis? That is by far not the only reason for wheelchair use and just strengths the idea that paralysis is the only ‘real’ reason for wheelchair use, in my opinion.

  4. Cost doesn’t help. There is theexoskeleton which is bulky and costs a lot. For double paralysis it will most likely always be bulky.
    When I was looking I found lots of mechanical supports with computers for upper limb paralysis but not lower ie foot ankle in one limb. Which is such a shame. I can’t be the only one person like it. Although doesn’t help when these companies promise a ot call and nothing happens despite chasing it up.

  5. This has the potential to be a life changing project for many but already seems to have shut the door on so many wheelchair users.
    Legs not paralysed, we don’t care about you.
    Not a lottery winner, also not our chosen client base.
    What would be really inspiring would be a campaign to develop assistive technology that will be of use to so many disabled people that it can be produced and sold at a reasonable cost price. Now that really would change the world!

  6. Thanks for taking the time to engage and give your feedback on the Mobility Unlimited Challenge. We welcome this kind of feedback and use it to develop our present and future challenges. Please reach out to us at if you have further thoughts or ideas to share.

    Mobility Unlimited is the result of an extensive consultation period where we spoke both to innovators and users. While researching and designing the Challenge, our aim was to deliver a challenge prize that would result in solutions that will be useful for the widest possible group of people. At the same time, challenge prizes are about achieving impact, and in order to be able to judge the relative benefits of entries, the Challenge needed some parameters. Through our research, we identified people with lower-limb paralysis as a large and diverse population who are currently not fully benefiting from wider technological innovations such as AI and smart tech. There is a huge opportunity here to benefit this wide group of people, and the feedback we received supports this view. Having said this, we absolutely do expect that the technology developed through the challenge will also be transferable and useful to a much wider group of people – not solely people with lower-limb paralysis.

Leave a Reply

Lost Password

Sign Up