Biogen eChallenge: Meet the teams
Meet the teams using innovation and entrepreneurship to make an impact, as part of the Biogen eChallenge.
Hosted by the experts from Biogen Inc. and Australian eChallenge, the Biogen eChallenge is a fast-paced, solution-focused entrepreneurship program where bright minds come together to create unique and innovative concepts to improve the quality of life for teenagers living with a neurological disorder.
Comet Games are on a quest to craft video games that promote health, and prevent, diagnose or treat chronic diseases. Their goal is to create health centric content that is engaging and most importantly, fun for people of all abilities.
Team member Kosta Canatselis sees innovations in neuroscience as extremely important, and is using his bachelor’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to develop ideas to address the issues caused by neurological diseases.
“Neurological disorders are rough, and they’re everywhere. Disorders like Alzheimers affects so many in our population and is an increasingly large problem as we begin to see a worldwide ageing population.”
“This was an opportunity to meet likeminded and passionate individuals, to understand the complexity of such a debilitating disorder, and come up with meaningful concepts that will help real people.”
- Kosta Canatselis
The team at eMotion have combined their undergraduate expertise across health, chemistry, biomedical science and neurogenics to develop a potentially life changing product for people suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
As part of the Biogen eChallenge, the team were introduced to a teen with a severe form of SMA who relied on his caretakers for all daily activities, including being turned over 5 to 6 times each night during his sleep.
“This really spoke to us as students, we know how important a good sleep is and we wanted to come up with a way where we could somehow let him, and other individuals like him, gain independence over one aspect of their lives.”
This led to the creation of a mechanical “SMArt” bed, using sine-wave based motion to allow the user to freely change positions in the bed without the need of a caretaker.
“eMotion aims to redefine the medical bed space, leaving a legacy for a good nights sleep.”
The idea driving the Goldilocks team in the Biogen eChallenge, is to develop smart clothes that enable users and carers to experience peace of mind when it comes to caring for a child or teen with a neurological disorder.
With a background as a medical device engineer, team member Shem Richards has developed a wearable monitor which gives feedback to parents and caregivers on the wearer’s temperature, sleeping patterns breathing, feeding and development.
"It is intended for anyone who has uncertainty about their loved ones or themselves by reducing the anxiety patients and carers experience, with the aim to help them live a freer life."
Goldilocks are currently working with new parents to test the product, but can see widespread value for this product within the disability and aged care sectors.
- Shem Richards
Neuro Hero’s Harry Spurrier is driven to improve the lives of teenagers with debilitating neurodegenerative disorders using Virtual Reality technologies.
By incorporating the proven therapeutic aspects of virtual reality, video games and at-home sustainable agriculture, Harry aims to give purpose to teens suffering from neurological conditions.
“It is difficult to navigate through adolescence for a healthy teen, and with a neurodegenerative disorder, an already confusing period becomes even more complicated, leading to a lack of drive, enthusiasm and ambition.”
The idea is based around a garden inside a virtual reality game in which participants play mini-games that promote the growth of produce. This virtual growth is then correlated in the real world, where the general public can opt into growing produce in their own homes and gardens based on the work completed in the virtual garden.
“This gives teenagers and young adults suffering debilitating conditions the opportunity to have a real impact on their community and can bring a sense of purpose and belonging to their early adulthood.”
- Harry Spurrier
Capitalising on gaming to interest and address teens suffering with neurodegenerative disorders, Panache is gamifying exercise rehab.
Utilising their various backgrounds in health, medical science, agribusiness and mathematical computer science, the team at Panache are enhancing neuromuscular electrical stimulation by coupling it with gaming to strengthen muscle and bone.
“We aim to engage those with mobility impairments and rehab patients with a fun and social experience to improve mental health and rehab compliance.”
The team at Tekuma are using their undergraduate backgrounds in computer science and design to improve the ways humans with neurodegenerative disorders interact with technology.
Tekuma have developed a one-handed six-degrees-of-freedom control orb for drones, robots and other devices. The orb is intuitive by design, robust and able to be used universally.
“It reduces the time, cost, personnel, and training required to get jobs done.”
Their technology has been designed to assist in the control of multi-directional robots, professional underwater rovers, robotic arms, and sensor systems.
ICMStemcell seeks to further commercialise stem cell research, which offers considerable promise for curing a range of neurodegenerative diseases.
“Millions of people worldwide suffer from a range of diseases and injuries for which no cure exists. Stem cells hold considerable promise for curing many of these.”
Mark Nottle from the ICMStemcell team is exploring the ability of stem cells to produce new nerves to restore brain function following stroke, as well as overcome degenerative diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, however considerable research still needs to be done to make stem cell therapies a reality.
“We hope to make our cells as widely available as possible to researchers in universities and companies to fast track this and other research aimed at curing disease and injury.”
- Mark Nottle
The Biogen eChallenge finals will be held on Thursday 12th November, where teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with in the hopes of winning a $10,000 cash prize and the chance to have their life changing idea commercialised.