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UEF teams took home prizes from Neurochallenge

Teams presenting the concepts of an AI-powered memory support application and a wearable biomarker and EEG device for at-home sleep monitoring took home the prizes from The Olvi Foundation Neurochallenge innovation competition organised on November 3-5 in Kuopio.

The event brought together researchers, individuals, entrepreneurs, and students from several areas of expertise. In total, more than 50 people participated in the event. Following the theme of the event, the participants sought "solutions that promote better brain health of the aging population". Within one weekend, the teams researched and identified a 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 2 were awarded from the prize pool of 20 000 € and 4 were given an honorary mention. 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. 

The winner of 12 000 € was team Avanto with their idea of an AI-powered application aiding memory disorder patients. Team members were Kaj Koivunen from the University of Jyväskylä as well as Juho Seppänen, Artturi Suominen and Valtteri Roinila from the University of Eastern Finland. 

The NeuroNinjas team from the University of Eastern Finland was awarded 8000 € for their idea of a wearable biomarker and EEG device for sleep monitoring at home.

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: novelty, feasibility and impact.

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.

The event was hosted by Savonia University of Applied Sciences and organised in cooperation with Neurocenter Finland, University of Eastern Finland, and Business Center Pohjois-Savo. The Neurochallenge will be held again next year.

Savonia news release: Neurochallenge – Brain health solutions with a national innovation competition