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INNOVATION| 22.05.2023

Innovating for society, to build a better world

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Creating solutions for our current challenges, such as population aging or the need for new forms of mobility, or for something that concerns all of us, such as personal health, are some of the objectives pursued by the initiatives that are now competing to be named as winners of the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation.

12 finalists have already been selected from among the almost 350 initiatives developed by scientists, researchers, universities, and business schools in the USA, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala.

On May 24th, the winners of these awards will be announced, for each of the competition’s three categories: Accident Prevention and Mobility, Silver Economy, and Health Improvement and Digital Technology (e‑Health). The project selected as the winner in each category will receive a prize of €40,000, plus support and guidance from IE University. Those projects will also become part of Red Innova, a community of entrepreneurs that has been created to promote exchanges of expert knowledge.

The finalist projects in the category of Accident Prevention and Mobility are: 

  • Seebot (Brazil). This is a smart traffic light that is able to provide guidance for people with visual disabilities by using Wi‑Fi signals. It helps them cross the street safely, by emitting (and then stopping) a series of audible signals through an app. This technology integrates data fusion and artificial intelligence, and it interacts with the traffic lights so that they will remain red for vehicles until the pedestrians have crossed safely. 
  • TUK TUK Solar (Guatemala). These are three-wheeled taxi motorcycles made of recycled metal from old vehicles. They are propelled by electric and solar energy, using power generated by solar panels installed on their roof. These vehicles have an electric motor and a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles) on a sunny day. 
  • Unleash Future Boats (Germany). This system replaces diesel motors on vessels with green hydrogen power. They are modular electric propulsion systems that make use of batteries with fuel cells. The objective is to provide shipyards with a fully emission-free systemthat contributes to decarbonization and helps protect our planet. 
  • TASL (USA). An acronym for This App Saves Lives, this project involves a system of points and rewards for raising awareness among driversabout the importance of never using a cell phone while driving. Using powerful technology, the app can determine whether drivers are using their cell phone, and if so, why they are using it. Drivers earn 1 point for each minute of driving without distractions, and they lose 5 points for each distraction. These points can be exchanged for discounts on purchases from Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, and Reebok, among other retailers. 

In the Silver Economy category, the finalists competing for the award are: 

  • Talento Sênior (Brazil). This is a platform that connects startups with job seekers over 55, who may be facing discrimination because of their age, helping these people with extensive work experience reenter the workforce. It is an ecosystem that can match them with job opportunities that fit their needs, and that can take advantage of their talents. 
  • Conecta Mayor 2.0 (Chile). This is an app designed for older adults who lack digital skills. An inclusive design, where the graphic interface on the smartphone is replaced by buttons developed specifically for senior citizens, provides direct access to their personal contact information, as well as to contact details for emergency responders and other public services. It represents a way to reduce the digital gap for this group, while enhancing their independence and social integration. 
  • LUP (Spain). This is a pocket magnifying glass technology, which captures images of texts and converts them into audio files in less than two seconds. The texts can also be translated into more than 30 languages. It gives senior citizens, children with dyslexia, and people with vision loss more independence by helping them read newspapers, store receipts, and the prices of products at supermarkets, for example. 
  • FallCall Solutions (USA). This is an intelligent fall detection system for senior citizens. The app makes use of an algorithm designed to detect a fall, and based on the fall’s impact and duration, and the length of time the person remains on the floor, it can determine whether the person was standing or sitting before the fall occurred, so the appropriate action can be taken. When FallCall Detect determines that a fall has occurred, it evaluates its nature and notifies the caregivers or 24‑hour emergency services. It also detects times of special risk, such as episodes of unusual gait or nighttime falls out of bed. 

The 4 projects competing to be named as the best idea in the Health Improvement and Digital Technology (e-Health) category are: 

  • Altrum (Brazil). This is a device that improves safety for brain surgery, through 3D printing of molds that are used to create a prosthesis for patients who have lost part of their cranial surface because of a traumatic injury, brain tumor, or some type of stroke. It creates customized solutions for each patient. In addition, it can improve quality of life for patients by reducing wait times for surgery and the associated costs by up to 90%. 
  • Palpa (Chile) is a bathing sponge that lets women perform breast self‑exams and recognize tumorsmore easily. It is a device that functions like a sponge. It is filled with shower gel and contains a simulation of a hard, immobile malignant tumor inside. Palpa stimulates the sensory memory, enhancing self‑awareness and allowing recognition of the nature of foreign lumps that can appear in the breasts. 
  • Aceleradora Unoentrecienmil (Spain). This is a non-pharmacological therapy unit for pediatric cancer patients. It encourages physical exercise in order to improve and accelerate patient recovery, as a way to complement conventional treatments. Created by a multidisciplinary team, it combines research with the specific types of physical exercise that children with cancer need, and it is supported by use of a technological app that analyzes each patient’s data. 
  • Immersive Design (USA). This is a virtual mannequin that is used to teach health care personnel and family members about various types of medical complications that may be suffered by infants. Its purpose is to help prepare family members for the arrival of a baby at home after discharge from the hospital, by giving them the basic clinical knowledge and skills they will need in order to provide adequate care. The teaching is both theoretical and practical, and it uses simulations so that the learning can be applied in a safe and comfortable environment. Based on innovative technologies, it helps reduce clinical diagnoses that represent risks for newborns and young children. 

This competition is now in its 6th edition, and the winners will be announced on May 24th. The purpose is to help develop proposals that represent the essence of social innovation: talent, capacity for transformation, commitment, and a passion for improving the world we live in.