Steadiwear Inc, an alumnus of the Impact Centre’s Techno entrepreneurship training program, has won a national ideathon competition hosted by the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence and HACKING HEALTH.

The company’s device is a lightweight, compact and battery-free stabilizing glove designed to provide resistance to hand tremors from Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

“Essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease can cause debilitating hand tremors that make the simplest of activities, such as eating, drinking and writing, a real challenge,” said Mark Elias, CEO and co-founder of Steadiwear Inc., who created Steadiglove with Emile Maamary.

The new glove uses the same vibration-damping technology that stabilizes buildings against earthquakes and wind vibration—technology that Elias first encountered as a student of civil engineering.

The team has seen promising results in beta tests with several volunteers, and a formal clinical trial is now being planned, Elias told a panel of expert judges at the AGE-WELL‒HACKING HEALTH National Ideathon Competition, held this week in Winnipeg, MB.

He said the inspiration for Steadiglove was his own grandmother, who lives with hand tremor. “This condition mainly affects the senior population, and has an impact on their independence and quality of life,” he said. It’s a problem that affects over 200 million people worldwide.

Elias said there is a clear need for new solutions for hand tremor. Medications for the condition often produce side effects that outweigh the benefits, while weighted options can cause wrist strain and surgery is invasive and can be risky, he said.

“We think the potential for Steadiglove is great. We’re ecstatic about winning the ideathon, and the funds will be injected towards manufacturing a certain number of units and conducting a formal clinical trial.”

The transdisciplinary team, which has advisors who are experts in tremors, chemistry and technology for seniors, plans to bring Steadiglove to market in 2018.

In addition to being incubated at the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre, the company receives funding from the Ontario Brain Institute, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and AGE-WELL.    

Seven finalists took part in yesterday’s competition, which was the culmination of a Canada-wide competition to identify and invest in great new technologies and services to support healthy aging. Local ideathons were held in recent months in TorontoMontrealHalifax and Vancouver.

An ideathon is a collaborative, workshop-like event where diverse stakeholders harness their collective knowledge and creativity to brainstorm innovative solutions to pressing challenges. Participants use user-centric design techniques and methodologies (such as ideation, journey mapping and prototyping), and the creation of an initial business case, to propose a novel solution.

The national competition was sponsored by Bereskin & Parr and the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto. Local sponsors included: Aging 2.0 Local l Toronto; the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA); Desjardins; MaRS; MedStack; and MEDTEQ.

Yesterday’s grand finale was held before an audience of over 200 attendees at AGE-WELL’s 3rd Annual Conference.

For more information about the finalists and competition, visit: http://agewell-nce.ca/archives/5624