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Young Inventors Prize: Tunisian team of female inventors wins third place

Tunis: A team of four young Tunisian inventors (Khaoula Ben Ahmed, Ghofrane Ayari, Souleima Ben Temime and Sirine Ayari) has won the third Young Inventors Prize awarded by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The prize was awarded as part of the European Inventor Award 2024, the winners of which were announced at a hybrid ceremony in Malta on Tuesday.

The team received a pound 5,000 prize for their pioneering work on an intelligent wheelchair control system, ‘MOOVOBRAIN’, which significantly improves mobility for people with disabilities.

The team was one of three finalists, with Dutch scientist Rochelle Niemeijer taking first place with a pound 20,000 prize and Ukrainian inventor Valentyn Frechka taking second place (pound 10,000).

The team’s invention, MOOVOBRAIN, enables disabled people to control their wheelchairs using brain signals and voice commands, improving their independence and mobility.

This technology not only represents a major advance in the field of assistive devices, but also shows the tea
m’s commitment to inclusion and innovation in medical technology.

The intelligent control system developed by the team uses sensors and software to interpret the user’s movements, allowing the wheelchair to be moved precisely and intuitively. This technological advance is particularly important in environments where joystick or button controls can be inconvenient or inaccessible.

“For each of us, winning a place in the Young Inventors’ Prize is a dream come true. This award is not only an achievement for our team, but a testament to the power of collaboration, perseverance and passion,” said the young inventors.

“It inspires us to continue to push the boundaries and make a positive impact through innovation to change the lives of people with disabilities around the world,” they added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 80 million people (or 1% of the world’s population) are likely to need a wheelchair to facilitate their mobility.

However, many users do not have full control of th
eir upper body and rely on carers for mobility.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse