The Longitude Prize 2014: the paralysis challenge

A £10m prize has been launched to solve one of the greatest scientific problems facing the world today.

The competition idea is based on the 1714 Longitude Prize, which was won by John Harrison. His clocks enabled sailors to pinpoint their position at sea for the first time.

In an updated version, the public will be asked to choose a new challenge.

Six potential categories have been announced, ranging from healthcare to the environment.

Amongst the six projects is the paralysis challenge. Paralysis is a condition that affects many of our patients here at the RNOH but with advances in neural interfaces, assistive technology and regenerative medicine there is the potential to overcome it. Bringing these disciplines together is the key to innovation within and across these fields.

If paralysis wins the vote, the challenge for Longitude Prize 2014 will be set to invent a solution that gives people with paralysis similar freedom of movement that most of us enjoy.

A special 50th anniversary edition of the BBC science series Horizon demonstrated the projects vying for the prize.

Aspire Create, part of the UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science at RNOH, feature in the programme. They demonstrate state-of-the-art brain-controlled robots and explore the challenges that need to be overcome in order to realise viable brain-controlled exoskeletons.

Vote now! Vote for the paralysis challenge.

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