Alzheimer’s Society, Innovate UK and Challenge Works have launched a £4 million prize fund to find innovators who can create ground-breaking technologies to help people with early-stage dementia.
About the prize
The Longitude Prize on Dementia is a £4 million prize to drive the creation of personalised, technology-based tools that are co-created with people who are living with the early stages of dementia.
Its aim is to help them live independent, more fulfilled lives and to be able to do the things they enjoy. £3.42 million will be awarded in seed funding and development grants to the most promising solutions, with a £1 million first prize to be awarded in 2026.
In addition, through the Discovery Awards, wider support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise, such as access to data and specialist facilities.
A total of £1.9m has been awarded to 24 pioneering teams of developers, researchers and innovators from across the globe in the international challenge competition, which is funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, and delivered by Challenge Works.
The teams will now work alongside people living with dementia and their carers to ensure technologies are intuitive, easy-to-use and able to adapt to their changing needs.
The prize has received generous support from UK donors The Hunter Foundation, CareTech Foundation and Heather Corrie, as well as the Medical Research Council.
- An augmented reality map to prevent people getting lost or confused - The Dorothy Community from Care City (UK) is a digital “Yellow Brick Road” map that uses augmented reality to provide virtual directions, visualised pathways and simple instructions for people living with dementia to independently navigate their local community.
- High-tech specs for facial recognition - iMAGIC smart glasses are being developed by Khalifa University (UAE) to help people recognise familiar faces, provide reminders and alerts, zoom in and out to facilitate navigation, make phone calls to loved ones and monitor vital signs. The glasses will also eventually be able to help identify objects that sport a QR code (a type of barcode that can be scanned and interpreted by computer software).
- A virtual speech assistant app to fill in missing words - the interactive AI software from Amicus Brain Innovations (USA) will use speech and language processing to listen to “broken speech” – a common challenge as dementia advances – and speak aloud the AI’s “repaired” rendition of what the user intended to say.
Our involvement in the prize
- Alzheimer’s Society worked with Challenge Works to develop the Longitude Prize on Dementia directly with people affected by dementia, ensuring the challenge at the heart of the prize is one that resonates with the people these new innovations are designed to support.
- We know from experts by experience that existing products for people living with dementia often focus on safeguarding, monitoring and risk-mitigation. These can be very useful but there are currently very few solutions available that enable and empower people living with dementia to keep doing the things that are important to them and bring them joy.
- With the progressive nature of dementia, one of the key focuses of the prize is to ensure that the solutions that are awarded funding are able to adapt to a person's condition over time, providing support that grows as a person's abilities to live independently decline.
- As well as co-funding the prize with Innovate UK, Alzheimer’s Society is leading on the involvement of people with lived experience across the prize.
- A key aspect of this is the Lived Experience Advisory Panel, an international panel made up of 12 people with lived experience of dementia. This panel is directly involved in providing lived experience feedback on applications to the judging panel at each stage of the prize and will continue to recommend the best ways to involve people affected by dementia throughout the lifecycle of the prize.
Lived experience advisory panel
Find out more about the Lived Experience Advisory Panel.
What happens next
In August 2024, five finalists will progress with additional £1.5m in funding to build real-world prototypes. In total, more than £3 million will be awarded in seed funding and development grants with a £1 million first prize to be awarded in 2026.
The Discovery Award winners
Sheffield Hallam University (UK). A.D.A. is a wearable personalised aid that tracks daily movements, providing digital feedback to help prevent falls.
AI Interaction Advisor
Amicus Brain Innovations (USA). An interactive voice and text-assistive device that can help with ‘broken speech’ and online communication, promoting digital inclusion for people living with dementia..
AI-based digital health system
KITE - Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Canada). A preventative AI-based digital health system that can detect and respond to risky behaviour, limiting the chance of injuries for those living with dementia.
AIDE (AI for Dementia Empowerment and Engagement)
MiiCare (UK). This virtual voice companion offers digital interventions such as a medicine sensor (confirming when and which medicine has been taken) to support general health.
AI-enabled personalised digital reminiscence platform
Memory Lane Games (Isle of Man). This AI game-like software promotes positive social experiences that can help delay decline in brain function.
Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research (Portugal). An AI-system that can be integrated into existing technologies such as smart watches to offer communication assistance for people living with dementia and prolong independent living at home.
Chroma Lighting (UK). Biodynamic lighting simulates the sun’s daily cycle, easing sundowning symptoms (restlessness, agitation, irritability or confusion that can worsen as daylight fades) and improving general wellbeing.
Ulster University (UK). A digital platform that monitors daily routines, collecting data to identify triggers of agitation and then respond with interventions to mitigate these.
Animorph Co-operative (UK). A wearable augmented reality cognitive aid that combines sensory inputs (such as sound and sight) to help slow memory decline and improve recall.
University of Toronto (Canada). A machine learning and artificial intelligence device that flags when someone has lost track of a task through behavioural and physiological indicators, then provides the relevant cues to get them back on track.
Circadian Lighting Ltd, (UK). A replacement lightbulb that uses AI learning patterns to detect deteriorations in behaviour. The bulb also provides optional reminders to help with daily activities, lessening caregivers’ workload and helping people living with dementia maintain independence.
Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK). A mobile app-based solution that creates personalised digital interventions to help alleviate sundowning symptoms (restlessness, agitation, irritability or confusion that can worsen as daylight fades).
eargym (UK). A hearing monitor for people living with dementia to help them retain their physical health and independence for longer.
Early detection changes in the symptoms of dementia for effective interventions for sundowning
Social Care Institute for Excellence (UK). Home based technology that monitors a person’s daily routine, to spot early signs of sundowning and provide insights to support interventions.
Supersense Technologies Ltd (UK). A 4G-enabled digital hub placed in the home of a person living with dementia, enabling them to connect with caregivers and family, and maintain their independence for longer.
Khalifa University (United Arab Emirates). iMAGIC smart glasses offer various assistive features that include facial recognition, reminders and alerts, zooming in and out to facilitate navigation, phone calls to loved ones and vital sign monitoring to assist people living with dementia in their everyday life.
University of Edinburgh (UK). A sensor system that monitors everyday routines, providing interventions and suggestions to help guide people living with dementia in their daily activity.
LUCID Inc (Canada). LUC101 is a system that offers personalised music sessions designed to ease anxiety and agitation for people living with dementia.
Olive AI Limited (UK). A personalised AI-powered avatar (icon representing a particular person, based on a loved one) that provides reminders and prompts to help promote independence.
The MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University (Australia). A tailored, multi-component home assistant that helps with daily activities through reminders and prompts for people living with dementia.
La Guapa Media (Colombia). An immersive, virtual-reality experience that simulates therapeutic and familiar environments with breathing techniques, easing anxiety and agitation experienced by people living with dementia.
Simon Care Management
Simon Care Management Corporation (USA). A personal, AI-based mobile app that uses geo-tracking to learn the specific needs of a person living with dementia and offer relevant ‘nudges’ to support daily activities, including reminding individuals of a PIN when the app detects they are at the bank.
The Dorothy Community
Care City CIC, (UK). A digital “yellow brick road” app that offers directions via colourful arrows and pathways on the screen, helping people living with dementia navigate their area independently.
Clairvoyant Networks, Inc (USA). Theora 360 is a remote monitoring system that uses sensors to provide insight into behaviour around falls to help when caregivers are not present, ensuring safety and independence.
*All Discovery Award winners are subject to due diligence and contracting which is being undertaken by Challenge Works.
More about the Longitude Prize on Dementia
More information about the prize is available on the Longitude Prize website.