Call for Nominations: 2011 International da Vinci Awards® Recognizing Adaptive and Assistive Technology Innovations

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International awards program seeking entries from individuals, organizations and corporations whose innovations enable people to participate and contribute to all aspects of society, regardless of ability (http://www.davinciawards.org).

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“The da Vinci Awards build awareness of the importance of assistive technology to all and, ultimately, will bring even more life-improving technologies to the masses,” said Elana Sullivan, president of the National MS Society’s Michigan Chapter.

The 2011 da Vinci Awards® is seeking nominations from around the world for its 10th anniversary awards program recognizing and celebrating the most innovative adaptive and assistive technologies that enable equal access and opportunity for all people, regardless of ability.

Established in 2001, the da Vinci Awards is a prestigious international forum of recognition for individuals, organizations and corporations whose innovations are designed to enable everyone to participate in and contribute to all aspects of society. The awards celebrate people who triumph over disabilities and those who have developed new technologies that enhance mobility. Past nominations have come from all over the globe representing virtually all areas and fields of assistive technology.

Proceeds from the da Vinci Awards benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society’s Michigan Chapter and support its mission to create a world free of MS.

The 2011 da Vinci Award winners will be announced live on Sept. 22, 2011, at a special awards event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

“People around the world are creating remarkable products and services to help individuals overcome physical limitations brought on by multiple sclerosis and other disabilities,” said Elana Sullivan, president of the National MS Society’s Michigan Chapter. “With MS affecting more than 2.5 million people worldwide, the da Vinci Awards help build awareness of the importance of assistive technology to all of us and, ultimately, we hope, will bring even more life-improving technologies to the masses.”

Nominations for the 2011 da Vinci Awards are being accepted online through July 31, 2011, at http://www.davinciawards.org or http://www.youtube.com/davinciawards in five categories:

  •     Communication/Educational Aids
  •     Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids
  •     Prosthetics/Orthotics/Controls
  •     Transportation and Mobility
  •     Recreation and Leisure

Entrants must submit a video, no longer than three minutes in length, describing or demonstrating their nomination. Nominators upload their videos to YouTube following the instructions provided on the website.

A non-refundable, tax deductible $125 application fee is required with each nomination.

Submissions are evaluated by a highly qualified, impartial panel of judges representing the technology and disability communities.

Up to three finalists will be selected in each category, with finalists and their innovative technologies honored at the awards event. Finalist video submissions will be featured on the event’s YouTube Channel with a "People's Choice Award" presented to the finalist receiving the highest number of YouTube “thumbs up” votes.

Special awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Spirit of da Vinci Award, and a Student of da Vinci Award will also be presented to standouts in the field of assistive technology and the disability community.

About MS and the da Vinci Awards

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease usually diagnosed in young adults and the National MS Society understands the difficulties people experience when faced with physical disabilities.
The Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/mig) created the da Vinci Awards to foster innovation and hope by recognizing the latest developments and research in adaptive and assistive technologies, which play an important role in helping people overcome physical limitations.

The da Vinci Awards were named after Leonardo da Vinci because of his documented talents as an inventor, philosopher, engineer, architect and artist. The name itself captures the spirit in which the awards are given.

Proceeds from the da Vinci Awards benefit the National MS Society’s Michigan Chapter. Michigan has one of the highest incident rates of MS in the U.S., with more than 18,000 residents living with MS.

Past award winners include the Ford SYNC® in-car communications and entertainment system; VoicePower Ultimate, an application that makes speech recognition more productive for all users; Touch Bionics’ i-LIMB™ Hand, the world’s first commercially available bionic hand; MV-1, the only purpose-built vehicle designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility; BlueSky Designs’ Freedom Tent, a combined tent and accessible vestibule; and the National Council of Jewish Women’s All Kids Playground.

A complete list of past award winners can be found on the da Vinci Awards website.

Follow the da Vinci Awards on Twitter at http://twitter.com/davinciawards and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/daVinciAwards.

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Bill Pikarski
National MS Society - Michigan Chapter
(248) 936-0350
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