The Assistive Tech Challenge pitch competition, presented by Destination Medical Center Discovery Square, was developed to explore ways to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and address the daily challenges they face. It also strives to help minimize the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in the region and across the United States.
It is some of these same challenges that Brandon Sampson wanted to solve when he first launched the Rochester-based boutique prosthetic and orthotic company Limb Lab. “We asked clients to list five specific goals they wanted to achieve,” Sampson explains. Then, the Limb Lab team would keep those goals top-of-mind as they sought ways to improve the daily independence and overall quality of life of their clients.
Sampson says this approach still holds true today.
That genuine concern makes Sampson an ideal judge for the Assistive Tech Challenge, where teams from the region and from universities in two states compete for prize money to advance their unique ideas to alleviate obstacles for individuals with disabilities.
“We encouraged the community and university-based teams to think outside the box,” says Chris Schad of the Destination Medical Center team. “Reaching out to people who don’t normally work in this space can be the catalyst that sparks a completely new approach in creating a device, a pathway, or a process. Having experts like Brandon judging the competition puts a stamp of approval on the idea.”
The Assistive Tech Challenge will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 during the Assistive Technology Expo at the Heintz Center in Rochester, Minnesota. The Expo runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with the pitch competition for the Open Division taking place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and for the Professional Division from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Winning teams will be announced at 3:00 p.m.