AccessNow Wins Top ‘Novartis Innovation Prize’ for App That Aids Mobility

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by Vanessa Pataia |

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Novartis has awarded a total of $300,000 to two tech companies, honoring each for work done to improve the mobility and independence of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The top winner of the Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for Multiple Sclerosis is AccessNow, a Canadian company that specializes in providing online information essential to social activities and travel for people with disabilities.

AccessNow was awarded $250,000 for its mobile app and web platform that provides information about the accessibility status of public places like restaurants, hotels, stores, and bars around the world for people with limited mobility.

Each user can contribute by rating new locations for accessibility — ranked on a map as accessible, partially accessible, or not accessible — enabling people with disabilities to move around with greater confidence and ease.

“It is such an honor to be awarded the Novartis Innovation Prize. Accessibility is a critical component of establishing a welcoming and barrier-free world for people with disabilities, including those living with MS,” Maayan Ziv, founder and CEO of AccessNow, said in a press release

“We have come a long way, but we have so much more to do to achieve equity and inclusion. At AccessNow we believe technology plays an integral role in achieving this vision and we are so excited for the next step in our journey,” Ziv added.

Fly Parrots, a U.S. company, was awarded $50,000 as runner-up in the Innovation Award contest. The company developed Polly, an intelligent plug-and-play socially assistive robot that helps people with mobility and communication difficulties more easily connect with others through features like safe navigation, 360-computer vision, and smart home connectivity.

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