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Longitude Prize 2014

The first Longitude Prize was offered in 1714 when the British government threw down the gauntlet to solve the greatest scientific challenge of the century. In that specific case, they wanted to know exactly how to pinpoint a ship’s location at sea by knowing its longitude.

Now, 300 years on from the original prize, they are launching a new prize. They have 6 separate issues of our time, and being run and developed by Nesta, with the Technology Strategy Board as launch funding partner, they are offering £10 million to help solve one of these issues. The challenge that they choose to fund, will be decided by a public vote, which closes at 7.10pm on the 25th June.

The result will then be announced live on BBC The One Show that night.

The 6 challenges that have been put forward for vote are:

  • Paralysis - How can we restore movement to those with paralysis?
  • Antibiotics - How can we prevent the rise of resistance to antibiotics?
  • Food - How can we ensure everyone has nutritious, sustainable food?
  • Water - How can we ensure everyone can have access to safe and clean water?
  • Dementia - How can we help people with dementia live independently for longer?
  • Flight - How can we fly without damaging the environment?

Due to the fact we are the proud commercial partner for the Day Clock, DF Sales Ltd naturally have have chosen to support and vote for Dementia.

It is estimated that 135 million people worldwide will have Dementia by 2050, this presents a great personal and financial cost to society, and with no existing cure there is a need to find ways to support a person’s dignity and extend their ability to live independently. If dementia was to win the £10 million Longitude Prize, they will be aiming to develop intelligent, yet affordable technologies that revolutionises care for people with dementia enabling them to live truly independent lives.

The Day Clock has been designed to help people living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, with a simple and clear display showing the time of day as either morning, afternoon, evening or night. The Day Clock is ideal for people living with Dementia as they can often lose the ability to distinguish between day and night. It can therefore assist primary carers by ensuring the daily routine can be maintained. The Day Clock therefore answers the question of ‘How can we help people with dementia live independently for longer?’, however further research is required to develop an integrated system to address specific needs, such as way-finding, social interaction, memory, and health management.

Hazel Boyd, User Interface Engineer at Designability (Bath Institute of Medical Engineering) spoke to BBC Radio 4 in more depth about the Longitude Prize 2014 and Dementia. Please follow the link below to listen to a 30 minute broadcast on the topic. (Hazel Begins at 25:31)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b043xqcq

You may also find this link useful to find out more information on the Longitude Prize 2014 as a whole: http://www.longitudeprize.org/

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