Office of Research & Development

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VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
 

New Initiatives

Prosthetics challenge launched


Service members compete in the 2010 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. <em>(Photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet/USAF)</em>
Service members compete in the 2010 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet/USAF)

Service members compete in the 2010 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet/USAF)

On May 15, 2015, VA challenged designers, engineers, and problem-solvers throughout the nation to submit ideas to help VA find new ways to provide innovative prosthetic and assistive technology solutions to challenges faced by ill and injured Veterans and other Americans.

The Prosthetics and Assistive Technology Challenge asked inventors for help in five specific areas:

  • developing novel upper-extremity prosthetic devices for everyday use;
  • creating a medication pillbox that allows the flexibility to hold medications that need to be taken up to eight times a day, with a reminder system for each time medication needs to be taken;
  • designing a device to remotely change the speed and grip of a prosthetic device for Veterans with upper-extremity injuries;
  • finding a way to reassign motion and buttons on gaming controllers to provide alternative access for Veterans who are using them in therapy; and
  • creating a device that can dampen tremors when Veterans are performing fine-motor tasks.

The series, sponsored by VA's Center for Innovation, will culminate in a two-day make-a-thon event, to be held July 28 - 29, 2015, at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va. At this event, designs submitted online to address each of the five challenges will be built and tested to show how they meet Veterans' needs.

"VA has long been at the forefront of research and technology, discovering new ways to give our Veterans the best care possible," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. "We're reaching out to technology leaders in the corporate world and the public to find creative new solutions to help transform care and quality of life not only for our Veterans, but for the public at large. The innovations that come out of this challenge will benefit the Veterans we care for and will be open-source to help advance American medicine."


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