2013 Winners

Communication/Educational Aids
AbleGamers – Includification - The AbleGamers Foundation is an organization that enables children and adults with disabilities to enjoy the world of video games. Includification is a 48-page fully illustrated guide published by AbleGamers on how to design video games for the disability community. www.ablegamers.com

Environmental Adaptation / Daily Living or Work Aids
Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway - Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway is a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest trail that takes you to the only publicly owned waterfall in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Recent improvements have made this the only universally accessible waterfall in the United States. www.michigan.gov/ocqueocfalls

Prosthetics / Orthotics / Controls
bebionic3 – A Helping Hand - bebionic3 is a multi-articulating myo-electric prosthetic hand from RSLSteeper, the UK's leading upper extremity prosthetic manufacturer. With pioneering technology and innovative design, the bebionic hand has become the world's most lifelike, affordable, easy-to-use and transformational myo-electric hand available. www.bebionic.com

Recreation and Leisure
Madonna ICARE by Sports Art - The Madonna ICARE by Sports Art is a highly functional and affordable, therapeutic, motorized elliptical trainer used in hospitals, fitness facilities and homes to help people of all abilities, even those with very limited mobility, regain or improve their ability to walk and enhance their cardiovascular fitness. www.sportsartamerica.com/icare

Transportation and Mobility
Caroline's Cart - Caroline's Cart is the first innovative, trademarked and patented special needs shopping cart for older children and adults with special needs, allowing the opportunity to shop in grocery and retailers worldwide with their families or caregivers. www.carolinescart.com

The LEO Award - People's Choice
AbleGamers - Video submissions for each of our 15 finalists were featured at www.youtube.com/davinciawards with a special "Leo" award presented to AbleGamers, of Harpers Ferry, WV for receiving a combination of the most views and likes.


2013 special da Vinci Awards recipients

The Student of da Vinci Award
MonoMano Cycling Control System - The MonoMano cycling control system enables stroke survivors, upper extremity amputees, and anyone else with the use of a single functional arm to participate in the sport of cycling, offering a fun outlet for recreation and rehabilitation. www.monomanocycling.com

The Michael J. Rokosz Spirit of da Vinci Award
This award is named in memory of the founder of the da Vinci Awards, Michael J. Rokosz. Michael was a true advocate for people living with disabilities and dedicated friend and Board Member of the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter. Michael passed away in 2010, and we are proud to rename this important and inspirational award in his honor.

Jeremy Campbell - Jeremy Campbell currently holds multiple Gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games and the 2012 London Paralympic games. After capturing America's heart in the 2008 games, he broke the American discus F44 world record four times in 2012 becoming the first-ever Paralympic athlete to throw more than 60m. Not only is Jeremy training for the 2016 Rio Paralympic games, he also has his sight set on qualifying and competing in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Ralph Braun - (honored posthumously) Ralph Braun is regarded as a true pioneer in the mobility industry. He was the founder and CEO of The Braun Corporation, the largest manufacturer of wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the industry. BraunAbility vehicles, lifts and other mobility products are available worldwide. Ralph Braun passed away in February, 2013 at the age of 72. His legacy will be carried on by his wife Melody, his five children, his employee family of nearly 850 individuals, and the tens of thousands of individuals who are impacted by his mobility innovations on a daily basis.

2011 Winners

Communication/Educational Aids
SSR - Supplemented Speech Recognition - SSR is speech recognition for people with difficult to understand speech. It combines a unique speech recognition system with first letter typing and word prediction to significantly reduce the typing required to enter text into a computer. www.invotek.org/products/speech-recognition/

Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids
Freedom Chair-A-Table® - The World’s only medical examination table that eliminates patient lifting by docking with a wheelchair so that the patient may be placed on the examination table and never get out of the wheelchair. www.martininnovations.com

Prosthetics/Orthotics/Controls
MIT Smartphone Universal Access Hub - The MIT Smartphone Universal Access Hub is designed to make it possible to interface any switch device - pushbutton, sip-and-puff, or any other switch - to control a smartphone-type device. Our low-cost USB-based solution has the potential to unlock the power of smartphones and tablets to people with physical disabilities that prevent them from using touchscreens and tiny keypads. assistivetech.mit.edu

Transportation and Mobility
SideStix - The mission of SideStix Ventures Inc. is to develop a vastly improved assistive device to enable mobility challenged persons to engage in an active, healthy lifestyle. A commitment to evidence-based research, testing and evaluation by accredited research institutions, and extensive field testing led to the development of a break-through in crutch design: the world’s first crutch with a damping, shock-absorbing system and rotating, articulating feet. Interchangeable attachments give access to trails, sandy beaches and snow. www.sidestix.com

Recreation and Leisure
Ken's Power Caster - Ken's Power Caster is a revolutionary device that brings the joy and excitement of fishing to severely disabled people by allowing them to cast out their line (around 100 feet), hook, fight, retrieve and land fish with total independence, no matter their disability or level of injury. By providing a choice between two control systems – a Push-button extremity controlled system that can be hand, foot, or even chin operated, and the Sip & Puff breath controlled system for those who lack any head, neck, or jaw movement – the Ken’s Power Caster ensures that everyone has the ability to actively participate in this challenging, relaxing, and therapeutic outdoor sport. www.kenspowercaster.com

The LEO Award - People's Choice
SideStix – Video submissions for each of our 16 finalist were featured at www.youtube.com/davinciawards with a special “Leo” award presented to SideStix Ventures, Inc., of British Columbia, Canada, for receiving a combination of the most views and Likes. SideStix are high performance forearm crutches with many unique features including damping shock absorbers to take the jolt out of every stride.


2011 special da Vinci Award® recipients

The Student of da Vinci Award
ASK Messaging - The team at ASK Applications seeks to make mobile communication devices accessible, especially to those with physical disabilities. Their application called ASK Messaging (Assistive Scanning Keyboard) allows users with fine motor control disabilities to send email and text messages from an iPad, using an interface that does not require precise onscreen touches. ASKMessaging

The Michael J. Rokosz Spirit of da Vinci Award
The prestigious Spirit of da Vinci Award is newly named in memory of the founder of the da Vinci Awards, Michael J. Rokosz. Michael was a true advocate for people living with disabilities and dedicated friend and Board Member of the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter. Michael passed away in 2010, and we are proud to rename this important and inspirational award in his honor.

Cody Unser - is paralyzed from an autoimmune disorder called Transverse Myelitis. Only a year after she became paralyzed at 12 years old she started the Cody Unser First Step Foundation to raise awareness for her condition and provide support to families and individuals living with this disorder. She has encouraged doctors to collaborate and help fund symposiums across the country. Through her foundation she also started a quality of life program called Cody’s Great Scuba Adventures where she introduces the freedom of scuba diving to people with disabilities by putting them in the open ocean where they get their final certification. For more information about Cody and the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, visit www.codysfirststep.org

Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert L. Burgdorf Jr. - Recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as the drafter of the original Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) bill introduced in Congress in 1988, Professor Robert L. Burgdorf Jr. has been an advocate for equal rights for people with disabilities for over thirty-eight years. He was involved as attorney in many of the formative court decisions establishing legal rights of individuals with disabilities. Since 1989, he has been affiliated with the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law where he teaches courses on Disability Rights, Constitutional Law, and Legislation.

2010 Winners

Communication/Educational Aids
VoicePower® Ultimate - an application that makes speech recognition significantly more productive for all users, especially those with limited hand function, making the efficient use of speech recognition on the job a reality. VoicePower lets users take hands-free control of their computers. http://www.voiceteach.com

Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids
Francis Motz County Park - A 42-acre regional outdoor recreational area with a user-friendly design that serves all visitors equally and pleasantly without regard to visitors' physical abilities. Wheelchair accessible picnic tables, food service areas, barbeque grills and barrier-free bathrooms are among the many design elements that make this park safe for all visitors. http://www.clinton-county.org

Prosthetics/Orthotics/Controls
Compas™ - The Computerized Prosthetic Alignment System measures, documents, and automatically adjusts the alignment of prosthetic limbs, helping ensure amputees have a high quality fit. The Compas saves time during initial alignment, decreases the need for later adjustments, and helps prevent the long- and short-term physical damage associated with a misaligned prosthesis. http://www.orthocareinnovations.com/pages/compas_trade

Transportation and Mobility
MV-1 - The only purpose-built vehicle designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility. The MV-1 is also the only vehicle in its class with an available Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) engineered and assembled Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling system option, reducing dependence on traditional gasoline while improving fuel efficiency. http://www.vpgautos.com

Recreation and Leisure
VMI - Virtual Music Instrument™ - Numerous research studies have shown the positive impact music has on creating new opportunities for children with disabilities. VMI is a computer vision-based "augmented environment" that facilitates access to music-making for a wide-range of users. VMI can be used alone, as in music education or music therapy, or in groups, as in classroom settings, summer camps and group therapy. The device has been used in rehabilitation centers in more than eight countries to achieve various therapy goals with diverse clients ranging from young children to the elderly. http://www.prismlab.org/research_page/research_ve.html

The LEO Award - People's Choice
Tongue Drive System - A wireless and wearable tongue-operated assistive technology for people with severe disabilities. Utilizing a small magnet attached to the tongue, the Tongue Drive System provides end users control functions over a wide variety of devices including computers, wheelchairs, cell phones, home appliances and prosthetics, thereby improving their quality of life. http://users.ece.gatech.edu/~mghovan/index_files/TongueDrive.htm


2010 special da Vinci Award® recipients

The Spirit of da Vinci Award
Cheryl Angelelli Paralympian gold medal swimmer and Michigan resident is the 2010 Spirit of da Vinci Award winner due to her many accomplishments and motivational speaking dispelling the myths and stereotypes about persons with disabilities. She is currently the director of marketing and public relations for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

2008 Winners

Brake-Well Wheelchair Braking System
This system is essentially a second set of brakes for wheelchairs. Initially it was designed to give independence to a wheelchair user by converting the wheelchair to a walker. With the Brake-Well Wheelchair Braking System, the disabled, and those who help them, have an additional benefit; they don’t have to worry about traveling on inclines or the need to make sudden stops.

Creative Mobility, Project Mobility and Versa Trike
Thousands of disabled children and adults experience the freedom of mobility and the joy of cycling through the efforts of Creative Mobility. Experience and knowledge of the various physical limitations of people with disabilities led Creative Mobility to develop Versa Trike, a three-wheeled, adaptive bike for people with limited mobility. Project Mobility, a nonprofit organization, travels throughout the United States providing adaptive cycling camps for children, adults, disabled veterans, and the newly injured soldiers from Iraq.

Ford SYNC™
Ford SYNC offers a voice-recognition interface to receive calls, send and receive text messages and control a variety of media players in your automobile. This mechanism can control both Bluetooth enabled cell phones and Bluetooth or USB digital media devices in a safe, hands-free manner.

i-LIMB Hand
Touch Bionics has created the world’s first commercially available bionic hand with five individually powered digits. The i-LIMB Hand is a device for upper-limb amputees that utilizes leading edge electronic and mechanical engineering technology to look and act like a real human hand.

KeyboardCommunicator
Afforda Speech has created the first swappable keyboard Speech Generating Device. Individuals with verbal communication difficulties who also need external specialized keyboards (e.g. large-print, large button, low-force keyboards, ergonomic keyboards, one-hand keyboards, etc.) can now have a portable text-to-speech solution without needing a desktop or notebook computer.

NimbleTools
Developed by Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc., NimbleTools is a universally designed test delivery interface that increases access to test content for students with disabilities and special needs. NimbleTools employs a single test delivery interface that flexibly tailors the accessibility tools that are available for each student based on his or her individual need. NimbleTools assures access for students with physical disabilities who use any one of a variety of assistive/adaptive communication devices (e.g., switch mechanisms, sip-and-puff devices, Intellikeys, alternate mice, touch screens, etc.). NimbleTools also ensures that the reading and signing of content is provided in a high-quality, equitable manner to students across a testing program.

Pushrim Activated Power Assisted Wheelchair (PAPAW)
Created and manufactured by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, the PAPAW (Quickie Xtender) is a wheelchair option for those who have upper extremity joint degeneration, reduced exercise capacity, low strength or endurance issues. The compact, lightweight PAPAW is very maneuverable and reduces the amount of fatigue while increasing the range of mobility for its user. PAPAW is sold by Sunrise Medical, Inc. To learn more about PAPAW, visit the Sunrise Medical Site and enter "Quickie Xtender" in the Product Search field.


2008 special da Vinci Award® recipients

The da Vinci Founder’s Award
Sarah Reinertsen is the first female amputee to complete the Ironman® Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii in 2005. Sarah was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, a bone-growth disorder, which eventually led to her becoming an above-the-knee amputee at the age of seven. Sarah’s courage and determination is an inspiration to all. She has blazed a new trail of opportunity and redefined expectations for others around the world. Sarah’s motto is “Fear Less. Live More.” She is an athlete, motivational speaker, role model and an advocate for change.

The da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Jeffery D. Kocsis received his Ph.D. in 1970 from Wayne State University and has a long history of research and publications on approaches for protecting and repairing nerve functions in multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Kocsis’ work is still in the research stage and holds considerable optimism that someday soon the results will be translated into new treatment strategies for people with MS.

The Spirit of da Vinci Award
Professor Hugh Herr lost both legs below the knee at age 17 in a climbing accident and went on to develop an interest in the invention of biohybrid, or “smart” prosthetics for the disabled. He is currently the director of The Biomechatronics research group in the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Herr has received numerous awards for his work, including Time Magazine’s Best Invention of the Year in 2004 and the Popular Mechanics’ Breakthrough Leadership Award in 2005.

2007 Winners

2006 Winners

2005 Winners

  • Nerve Transfers for Improved Artificial Limb Function – Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • CoreControl™ – AVAcore Technologies, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Hardy Elementary School – Office of Special Education, South Lyon Community Schools, South Lyon, MI
  • HP Developer & Solution Partner Program (DSPP) – Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, CA
  • Versluis Park – Parks & Recreation Department. Plainfield Charter Township, MI
  • FreedomBox™ – Serotek Corporation, Minneapolis, MN
  • Dudley S. Childress, Ph.D. – (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Stevie Wonder – (Founder's Award)
  • Snoopi Botten – (Spirit of da Vinci Award)

2004 Winners

  • James R. Harding II Ed. D. – Tallahassee, Florida (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Erin Brady Worsham – Nashville, Tennessee (Spirit of da Vinci Award)
  • The Application of Selective Laser Sintering Techniques to Improve the Functional Mobility for Those with Lower-Limb Disabilities – Professor Richard R. Neptune, The University of Texas, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
  • All Kids Playground – National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section, Michigan
  • HomeSaver1 Stove Sensor – Lee Eisinger, Ohio
  • A Universally Accessible Treehouse at Crotched Mountain – Forever Young Treehouses, Inc., Vermont
  • BoardSpeaker – Afforda Speech, Canada
  • Bruno Lift-Up Power Mobility Seat – Bruno Independent Living Aids, Inc., Wisconsin
  • IBM's Web Adaptation Device – IBM Accessibility Center, California
  • IKAN Bowler – MGT Corporation, Florida
  • Sanyog: A Multilingual Iconic Communication System for Children with Severe Speech and Multiple Disorders – Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India
  • IBM's Web Adaptation Device – IBM Accessibility Center, California
  • Wheelchair Backpack Holder and Retriever – Chandler Macocha, Michigan

2003 Winners

  • Ralf Hotchkiss – Technical Director, Whirlwind Wheelchair International (Spirit of da Vinci Award)
  • Tony Filippis, Sr. – Founder & Chairman of the Board, Wright & Filippis (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Caretel Inns in St. Joseph, Michigan – Caretel Inns of America (Facility)
  • Disney's Handheld Captioning – Walt Disney World Company (Product-Assistive Technology)
  • Men in Black Alien Attack – Universal Parks and Resorts (Product-Assistive Technology)
  • Miracle Mouse – Maui Innovative Peripherals, Inc. (Product-Information Technology)
  • orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard – Keybowl, Inc. (Product-Information Technology)
  • University of Michigan ProCEED Program – University of Michigan (Applied Research)

2002 Winners

  • Dean Kamen – Founder, Deka Research & Development Corp. (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • HiSoftware Company (Product-Information Technology)
  • The Cyberlink Controller – Brain Actuated Technologies (Product – Assistive Technology)
  • The Uro Cycler – Uro Solutions, Inc. (Product-Assistive Technology)
  • Power Lift Gate – Delphi Corporation (Product-Vehicular Mobility)
  • AteeA33 Single-Rider Golf Cart – Solorider Industries, Inc. (Product-Vehicular Mobility)
  • Lift Aid 2000™ – Lift Aid (Product – Personal Mobility)
  • Cross Trainers Fitness Forum – Action Wood Technologies, Inc. (Facility)

2001 Winners

  • IBM Home Page Reader (Product – Assistive Technology)
  • Donald & Susan Miles' Residence (Facility)
  • iCan.com Web Site (Product – Information Technology)
  • Cool Thing Fabric – Danscott Industries (Product – Materials)
  • Michigan State University Shaw Lane Crossings (Product – Personal Mobility)
  • GM Mobility Center (Product – Vehicular Mobility)