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Announcing the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge Finalists

Announcing the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge Winners

Praxis Spinal Cord Institute and MaRS Discovery District are pleased to announce the finalists of the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge.

$100,000 was awarded to the top finalist, The KITE Research Institute. Finalists Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Pearl Interactives) and NCB-Lab at the University of Alberta will each receive $50,000. These organizations impressed the judges with tools to measure rehabilitation activities and their impact on function in individuals living with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Learn more about how the Challenge finalists are applying their solutions to improve the lives of people with SCI below.


The KITE Research Institute (Top Finalist)

KITE, the research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, has areas of focus that include prevention, restoration, enhanced participation and independent living. Its researchers are actively engaged in developing new treatments, devices and products as well as gathering evidence that guides changes to policy and public opinion. This submission to the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge describes technology to measure fine motor activities and outcomes at home, by using artificial intelligence to analyze video from wearable cameras (“egocentric video”). Hand function is fundamental to independence after cervical spinal cord injury, and is consistently identified as a top priority for recovery. This submission is designed to bridge the gap between the clinic and community in the rehabilitation and assessment of hand function.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Pearl Interactives) (Finalist)

The mission of Pearl Interactives, an early stage start-up company emerging from research conducted at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, is to co-create interactive media for children of all abilities for well-being, play, and learning. Bootle Blast is a mixed-reality video game that engages children in rehabilitation activities targeting the upper limb and fine motor skills. Movements are tracked using a 3D sensor which enables the system to measure frequency and intensity of the rehabilitation activities as well as changes in movements and coordination over time. The Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Innovation Challenge award will enable the team to further tailor and validate Bootle Blast with young people with SCI. Bootle Blast will provide children with SCI, their clinicians and families with a fun rehabilitation activity that can be played in clinics and at home to improve motor skills and function.

Neuromuscular Control and Biomechanics Laboratory (NCB-Lab) (Finalist)

Neuromuscular Control and Biomechanics Laboratory (NCB-Lab) at the University of Alberta has a research focus on the development and clinical implementation of rehabilitative technologies for improving the quality of life of individuals affected by movement impairments. Particularly, the NCB-Lab has been developing wearable technology packages for health and performance monitoring in the long-term and providing automated feedback to individuals with spinal cord injury. This technology can promote self-management and at-home rehabilitation activities in individuals with spinal cord injury toward improving their functional movements and performance, independence and quality of life.

Learn more about the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge and the gaps in understanding: