Savonia Article: Neurochallenge – Brain health solutions with a national innovation competition
The Olvi Foundation Neurochallenge innovation competition was organized on November 3-5, 2023, in the heart of the Savonia campus. The event brought together participants from several sectors and areas of expertise. The participants were researchers, individuals, entrepreneurs, and students, who created solutions for the theme of the event “solutions that promote better brain health of the aging population“. Time to create solutions was a weekend, or about 48 hours. During these two days, the teams researched and identified a relevant problem related to the theme of the competition, studied possible solution options, and created a preliminary concept for the solution. The teams were assisted by a facilitated innovation process and hard-core mentors.
In the communal atmosphere of Neurochallenge, 9 solutions were presented, of which 4 were given an honorary mention and 2 were awarded from the prize pool of 20 000 €. Different perspectives were emphasized in the implementations; predictive well-being, making care work easier, automation, application of artificial intelligence in implementations, graphic and user interface design. In total, more than 50 people participated in the event.
Eero Rissanen, Director (Neurocenter Finland), Seppo Teräslahti, Crisis Worker (Kuopio Crisis Center), and Miriam Nokia, Associate Professor (Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä) served as the jury for the competition. The judges evaluated the ideas on three points: The novelty of an innovation, which means solution is something new and different compared to what’s already out there. Feasibility is all about asking, “Can we really make this happen?” It’s about checking if our innovative ideas can be put into action. The impact of an innovation refers to the effect it has on people, society, the environment, or a specific problem, like brain health. It measures how much positive change or benefit the innovation brings about.
Teams and chosen ideas
Winner of 12 000 €: 1. Team avanto / Memory support application
Team members: Kaj Koivunen, JYU, Software developer – Juho Seppänen, UEF, Software developer – Artturi Suominen, UEF, Software developer – Valtteri Roinila, UEF, Business and science analyst
Neurochallenge idea: An AI-powered application aiding memory disorder patients. With our solution we address a multitude of problems related to memory disorder patient care using novel technical solutions.
Winner of 8000 €: NeuroNinjas / Wearable Biomarker and EEG Device for Sleep Monitoring at home
Team members: Kaustubh, AIVI, UEF – Mental health, – Shekhar AIVI UEF – Neurological disorders and Molecular genetics – Aidan – Technical physics, UEF Physics and Algorithm Development – Kanishka – AIVI, UEF, Electrophysiology – Alex – Social Science, UEF, Ethics and Laws – Melika – Innovation Management, UEF, Stakeholder and Innovation Management
Neurochallenge idea: Wearable Biomarker and EEG Device for sleep studies. Skin patch uses the combination of a microneedle array and EEG to gather high accuracy data from end-users (e.g. patient)
Honorary mention: Synaptic Solutions / Cogni-circle
Neurochallenge idea: Our idea is to provide support and training to family caregivers. The benefits of our idea would be training caregivers, reduced caregiver stress and burnout, and improved care for dementia patients. All this leads to societal benefits
Honorary mention: Obesity Curiosity
Neurochallenge idea: In Obesity Curiosity project, we seek to understand hunger-satiety regulation in the brain and its connection to obesity and cachexia. We are developing a human disease model in 3D cell culture, applying it for research with high potential and offering use of it as an expert service to pharmaceutical companies at the same time while our lab works to understand the diseases and develop prevention/treatment, to speed up the benefit for people.
Neurochallenge idea: NeuroCare is an application for promoting the early-stage diagnosis of patients suffering from neurodiseases such as Alzheimer’s, providing remote and individual treatment plans, and improving patient well-being through AI suggestions.
Neurochallenge idea: “Seize the moment, remember forever: RecallAId, your memory’s companion.”RecallAId mission is to develop an AI-powered cognitive companion to monitor patients with neurological disorders.
Neurochallenge idea: Our idea is about non-invasive monitoring of employees’ stress with actionable suggestions to mitigate it.
Neurochallenge idea: AI personalized brain health boosting program using brainwave activation for prevention of cognitive impairment of the 42–65-year-old population globally.
Team Dash – Luotsi
Neurochallenge idea: Luotsi empowers families to utilize health data for the benefit of the seniors who need assistance to live brain-healthy life at home.
The general goal of the event was to enable the emergence of new solutions by combining know-how and, for example, research knowledge in solving significant challenges. In addition, efforts were made to combine the technological perspective with relevant challenges. However, the event was not about a technological event, but the teams included, for example, design, research, and business perspectives.
Innovation competitions are, at best, an essential part of the birth of new solutions, because they offer those willing a place, time, tools, and connections to create something new. At the same time, companies and partners find new perspectives and the opportunity to meet experts. For the participants, the event offered an opportunity to practice their skills, network with other like-minded people and get to know the world of brain health more deeply.
Overall, Neurochallenge enabled the participants to familiarize themselves with the theme of the competition, learn new skills and issues about innovation, create something new together, and network among other teams in a close and fast-paced environment. The event was organized in cooperation with Neurocenter Finland, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, and Business Center Pohjois-Savo.
Event facilitator, Matti Laitinen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Business Center Pohjois-Savo, +358 44 785 6333, www.linkedin.com/in/mattislaitinen/
Event facilitator, Antti Kotimaa, email@example.com, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, +358 44 7856449, https://www.linkedin.com/in/antti-kotimaa/
Director of Neurocenter Finland, Eero Rissanen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 50 433 5008, Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
Head of Services; Neurocenter Finland, Kaisa Unkila, email@example.com, Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences