The Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation have selected innovative technology from the spin-off Instead Technologies of the Science Park of the Miguel Hernández University (PCUMH) of Elche, called Egara, as one of the European finalists of the third edition and will advance to the international final, to be held in October. Instead Technologies’ proposal consists of a system of aelectronic help for visually impaired people which enables detect air obstacles that pose a danger to their physical integrity.

Egara system that is incorporated into the blind cane.

The technology of the PCUMH spin-off Instead Technologies has been recognized as the best European initiative in the category of sustainable mobility and road safety. The company will face in the international final the two projects that have won their respective semifinals for this category in the regions of Brazil and Latin America. The winner will receive a financing of 30,000 euros.

The Egara initiative has been imposed at the European level on the more than 500 projects that were presented in its category. A jury, made up of managers and representatives of the innovative ecosystem and social investors, was in charge of choosing the three finalists in each of the categories that make up these awards: improvement of health and digital technology (e-Health); insurance innovation; and sustainable mobility and road safety, in which Instead Technologies is located. For this, they have evaluated aspects such as innovative potential and social impact, scalability and viability, as well as the team’s capacity and experience.

The objective of the technology developed by the spin-off Instead Technologies, in collaboration with the Bidons Egara Research Chair in Retinitis Pigmentosa and the UMH Institute of Bioengineering, is to facilitate the daily routine for blind people. For this, the Egara cane is designed as an electronic aid system for people with visual disabilities that allows detecting aerial obstacles. Thanks to three sensors located at the bottom of the handle, the cane can locate obstacles that are located mid-height, between the hip and the head. Specifically, this handle, together with a vibrating bracelet, warns the user of undetectable obstacles, through the usual tracking such as tree branches, traffic signs, rear-view mirrors, awnings, etc. In this way, the user can locate the obstacle before hitting it and deciding where to continue its march.

The Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation seek to support entrepreneurship and promote the growth of proposals that, due to their characteristics, resolve and improve specific aspects of society. The winner of each of the categories will receive a total of 30,000 euros. In addition to the cash prizes, these awards offer semifinalists, finalists, and winners promotional services to enhance their visibility to potential investors. Also, specialized mentoring and coaching sessions to facilitate project managers to successfully present their initiative.

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