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The European Patent Office announces that a Tunisian team has been selected as a finalist for the Young Inventors Prize 2024

MUNICH, June 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 80 million people (or 1% of the world’s population) are likely to require a wheelchair to assist their mobility. However, many users do not have full control of their upper body and have to rely on caregivers for mobility. A team of young Tunisian female engineers, aged between 27 and 28, is addressing this issue. Khaoula Ben Ahmed (28), Ghofrane Ayari (27), Souleima Ben Temime (28) and Sirine Ayari (28) have developed the MOOVOBRAIN smart wheelchair control system, a technology that allows users to operate their wheelchairs using voice, brain signals, facial expressions or a touchpad. This innovation offers newfound autonomy to those often sidelined by conventional assistive technologies. Nominated for the Young Inventors Prize at the European Inventor Award 2024, the team’s MOOVOBRAIN system addresses two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The MOOVOBRAIN system introduces a new method for wheelchair control, tailored to meet the diverse needs of its users. It features four intuitive driving modes: Voice Driving Mode enables operation through voice commands; Brain Driving Mode uses a specialised headset that detects brain signals; Grimace Driving Mode allows control through facial expressions; and Manual Driving Mode provides a touchpad or smartphone app interface for those with some manual capabilities. This system, made by the team’s startup, GEWINNER, is designed to enhance the quality of life for individuals with mobility impairments across the globe, ensuring accessibility and independence. The four driving modes accommodate different needs, disabilities and health conditions. Available for people who can speak and those who cannot, this system is a four-in-one solution with a multiplied potential impact.

While studying at the Higher Institute of Medical Technologies of Tunis, the young team developed the MOOVOBRAIN system after one of the team had a family member struck with a sudden disability. This highlighted the urgent need for more adaptable assistive technologies.

Since its founding in 2019, GEWINNER has been recognised under Tunisia’s Startup Act Label for its innovative contributions, has featured prominently at international tech events like VivaTech Paris, and has garnered several awards for technological excellence. The team also benefitted from mentorship through a programme from the European Investment Bank, which provided expertise in finance and business planning.


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