Technological solutions such as a low-cost prosthetic knee and an all-terrain wheelchair are among the inventions shortlisted for an award funded by a charitable arm of German engineering and electronics giant
The 23 low-tech innovations shortlisted for the Empowering People Award for their potential to improve the lives of people in developing countries were unveiled last month (16 September). The winners will be announced next week.
The first call for entries to the award was made in
Following this, Siemens Stiftung (which translates as the
This was more than it had expected and the volume of entries resulted in the announcement of the shortlist being delayed. "We had international expert [judges] and they needed a lot of time to go through all the material and all the aspects of voting," says
The aim of the award, Huber says, is to find "simple technologies that could help and support communities".
One shortlisted technology is the Leveraged Freedom Chair, a wheelchair designed to be used on rough terrain.
Unlike a traditional wheelchair, which users move by directly rotating the wheels, the new chair is operated using long metal rods attached to the wheels using a drivetrain. These levers give more rotational force, enabling users to manoeuvre over obstacles.
The wheelchair is made from bicycle components so it can be easily fixed at any cycle shop. Pilot tests were conducted in the Indian
According to Bollini, the wheelchair - which is now on sale at
An affordable prosthetic knee
ReMotion Knee, another shortlisted technology, is an affordable prosthetic knee joint developed by students at
The prosthesis is undergoing clinical trials in
The winners of the award will be announced at a ceremony to be held in
Networking is for winners
But Huber says the
A separate community prize will be given to the technology that comes top in an online vote open to the general public that ends today. Huber says this strand of the prize was an effort to "involve the community of people who are following [the projects] and are engaged and active in the field".
The winning team will be able to choose E3,000 (around
Link to the award shortlist
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