A ROBOTIC arm developed to assist people in wheelchairs and with everyday movement difficulties won top honours at the fifth annual Tech23 2013 held in Sydney recently. A robotic grit blaster by Sabre Autonomous Solutions (pictured) took the Tech23 vote for technology with greatest potential.
Developer 2Mar Robotics won the Innovation Excellence Award for its Jeva robotic arm system, as well as the ATP Innovations' Explorer Award which presents the firm with hosted introductions to Silicon Valley organisations and the means to get there through return flights and five nights accommodation.
2Mar designed and now manufactures the voice and iPhone controlled robot arm that assists people with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease. The device can be mounted onto a wheelchair, bedside table, kitchen, or bathroom and came about through research with end users.
Partners in the venture include the Victorian Spinal Cord Injuries Unit, Austin Hospital, Australian Quadriplegics Association, Spinal Cord Injuries Association, and Paraquad South Australia. 2Mar was founded in Melbourne by 2012 Young Australian of the Year, Marita Cheng, in April 2013 and its stated goal is on "building beautiful robots that help us in our everyday lives".
The Tech23 Greatest Potential Award was won by Sabre Autonomous Solutions for its grit-blasting robot. Sabre also won London & Partners Discover Tech City Award, a free trip to London.
Sabre Autonomous Solutions is a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) spin-out company formed to commercialise the world's first autonomous grit blasting robotic system. The technology is the result of six years of collaborative research and development between the UTS, and the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services.
So far, two fully operational autonomous Sabre grit blasting robots have been installed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the company is now developing other industry changing products that aim to reduce health and safety risks, increase productivity and improve quality in the abrasive blasting industry.
BuyReply was the crowd favourite at Tech23 this year, demonstrating its system which enables retailers to sell products straight from television or a catalogue without using apps.
BuyReply took the Tech23 2013 People's Choice Award, winning a cash prize of $5000 sponsored by PayPal.
REA Group awarded its $5000 cash prize to FoodOrbit for developing a platform connecting farmers and restaurants. FoodOrbit also won a $1000 Visa gift card donated by Braintree.
SimplyShow.me won the $2500 cash from the AMP Amplify Festival for its new secure video solution.
NSW Trade & Investment awarded two MVP Grants worth $15,000 each to Sabre Autonomous Solutions and Intersective. Intersective creates experiential learning communities.
"This year there was a great variety of companies - from batteries to robots to skytrees," said Tech23 founder, Rachel Slattery of SlatteryIT.
"There was also more of a national feel than in past years with half of the Tech23 coming from outside NSW and many attendees visiting from interstate.
"It's great to see so many exciting technologies that can bring real impact to productivity but also new technologies that can really benefit the lives of people."
Tech23 is an annual event showcasing 23 exceptional start-ups. Tech23 was sponsored by NSW Trade and Investment, Amazon Web Services, NICTA, AMP Amplify Festival, Anchor, Citrix, CSIRO, London & Partners, UOW iAccelerate and muru-D.