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World-leading tech experts to speak in NZ for innovation challenge

09 Jun 2017

Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs are being invited to create the next generation of wearable technology as part of business innovation agency Callaghan Innovation’s C-Prize Challenge. 

The biennial event is designed to push the boundaries of what’s possible through technology and offers a $100,000 grand prize package.

Mikko Malmivaara is based in the US and has been in the business of wearable technology for almost 20 years.

Professor Robert Reiner is based in Switzerland and his development of the ARMin arm therapy robot has won several prizes.

Professor Paul Lukowicz is based in Germany and heads the Embedded Intelligence group at DFKI and Kaiserslautern University.

Free seminars are being held in Christchurch (June 12), Wellington (June 13) and Auckland (June 14) where students, entrepreneurs, innovators and inspired minds can meet the expert trio and find out more about the challenge - which calls for innovation in three important areas for New Zealand: living healthier, working safer and playing smarter.

“It is a huge privilege for the Challenge to have the support of global experts of this calibre,” says Callaghan Innovation chief technology officer Chris Hartshorn.

“Their international experience will allow everyone from startups to established businesses the opportunity to take away valuable insights with practical application for wearables.

“We’re really excited about the C-Prize this year – it’s focused on wearables for health, wearables for play, and wearables for the workplace.

“They are three very diverse areas, but they are areas in tremendous need of innovation, and in tremendous need of solutions,” he says. 

Wearable device use has increased dramatically in New Zealand - in the past 12 months, the number of wearable technology owners has almost doubled and now represents 9% of people aged over 15, offering limitless opportunities for innovators, Hartshorn says.

“We know it takes a lot of courage to make the leap into innovation.

"An opportunity like C-Prize can be just the nudge that people with ideas and ambition need to create a tangible concept,” he adds.

Entrants will have their innovations reviewed and recognised by a panel of industry professionals, prominent investors, and entrepreneurs, with the best becoming viable businesses.

The 2017 C-Prize grand-prize winner will be awarded a $100,000 prize package and up to 10 finalist teams will each be awarded a $35,000 prize package.

Entries close on July 2. 

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