Technology at the service of disability, the startups of 2023 with a ‘Digital Heart’

From bracelets for blind children to artificial intelligence diagnoses

From a bracelet for blind children to AI-based diagnosis through voice analysis, and even 3D printing for the affordable production of prosthetics to help Ukrainians left amputees by war, projects creating technological solutions to support disability and human health are on the rise.

Five of the many start-ups that stood out in 2023 for developing technological solutions for the benefit of society were awarded the ‘Social Innovation Award’: Made in Italy Technologies’, promoted by the association “Digital Heart”, active in the field of disability and health.

It’s a tribute to researchers who dedicate their resources and knowledge to the common good and who, with their ideas and skills, have implemented solutions to simplify the lives of those who face numerous obstacles on a daily basis.

Among the notable five is Abbi, the inventor of an intelligent bracelet that allows blind children to navigate in space and interact with others autonomously (Politecnico di Genova). Kimap, the navigator for accessible routes in the city, which allows disabled people to move independently and safely (Kinoa Startup in Florence), also has a significant social impact.

Then there’s Pedius, an application that uses voice synthesis technologies to enable deaf people to make phone calls and manage their conversations independently and with full respect for privacy (a startup in Rome). There’s also VoiceWise, a system that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to identify certain health conditions through voice analysis, allowing early detection compared to traditional diagnostics (a startup in Rome, a spin-off from the University of Tor Vergata). Finally, there’s the Letizia project, 3D printing for the affordable production of prostheses to help Ukrainians amputated in the war (Isinnova startup in Brescia).

The Digital Heart Award is a symbolic recognition established in 2015 to celebrate the merits and encourage startups, makers, developers, digital inventors, researchers, students, large and small companies. It honours those who contribute and serve the community through innovation, especially in the social and health sectors.