The Braze Mobility Blog

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Meet the Finalists of CABHI’s MC² Market Readiness Program

01/12/2021

In August 2020, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) launched a Call for Innovations for its Mentorship, Capital and Continuation (MC2) program, presented in partnership with National Bank. MC2 Market Readiness sought early-stage companies creating solutions for aging adults in the healthtech space. The program addresses critical innovation gaps, not only by providing early-stage companies with direct access to two leading global accelerators, CABHI and Berkeley SkyDeck, but also by helping companies unlock funding to achieve their specific business milestones. More than 50 companies applied, which indicates a thriving Ontario healthtech sector invested in building solutions for aging adults. Given that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on older adults’ lives, it is encouraging to see the scope of companies tackling these needs in-depth. Semi-finalists were invited to pitch last autumn, and now CABHI is proud to announce the program’s six winning companies. They are currently (and virtually) participating in Berkeley SkyDeck, which offers access to the Silicon Valley ecosystem and a Pitch Showcase event, at which CABHI’s innovators may have the opportunity to pitch their solution to world-leading investors, buyers, industry leaders, and advisors. Typically, two out of every three companies that participate in this Pitch Showcase receive venture...

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Our Top 5 Accessibility-Themed Holiday Gifts

Accessible Holiday Gifts for 2020!

12/08/2020

As the snow begins to fly, and holiday music is playing on every radio station, there is no avoiding that the holidays are here! We have made a holiday gift guide with the perfect gifts for your friends & family who use a wheelchair. Keep them safe and happy this holiday season with Braze Mobility’s accessible holiday gifting guide!  We have not tested these products for their usability, and advise that you do due diligence before purchase.  Access Masks ($21 CAD) These face masks made by the Como foundation, make communication accessible to all through the use of a window in the face shield. This allows for easy lip reading for the hard of hearing, and can help people with speech difficulties communicate all while staying safe behind a mask. The fun colours and designs mean you can choose the perfect mask for your friend or loved one, and maybe for yourself as well to make the world a little more accessible!  Fun seat covers ($48 USD) This website offers lots of wheelchair cushion covers in fun designs- with over 20 fabrics to choose from you can find the perfect one for a gift! The website custom makes them to...

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BMO Announces 10 Recipients of $100,000 Grant Program for Women-Owned Businesses

11/19/2020

To mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, BMO Financial Group today announced the ten recipients of its $100,000 grant program. As part of its longstanding commitment to helping the advancement of women, the new grant program celebrates Canadian women business owners’ innovation and resilience during the pandemic. To assist with the grant recipient selection process, BMO collaborated with key strategic partners to establish an advisory committee and judging panel consisting of leaders from GroYourBiz, Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), Women Get On Board, Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada), Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and Deloitte. Each business will receive $10,000 and have the opportunity to receive ongoing support through one of the bank’s partners, including a one-year membership with a peer advisory group for women business owners and a one-year certification with Women Business Enterprise Canada. The BMO Celebrating Women 2020 Grant Recipients are: Ayanna Lee Rivears, Socacize Fitness: Socacize Fitness is a creative blend of Caribbean and African dance techniques, with effective fitness movements.Dr. Irit Van-Ham and Dr. Monika Yazdanian, ToeFX Inc.: Founded by two scientists, ToeFX is driven by innovation with a vision to create the world’s most effective foot care treatments.Kim Knight and Shanelle McKenzie, The Villij: The Villij creates an inclusive, accessible, and nurturing community for women of colour to connect, heal and...

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TTC Bus with the Braze Mobility branding on it

Accessible Transit: the What, Where & How of Wheel-Trans!

09/03/2020

I took my first Wheel-Trans trip this past weekend, and had the chance to discuss the pros and cons of the system with someone who has much more experience with it than I do. I will share some of those thoughts with you, and hope to hear your opinion as well! Have you used Wheel-Trans or a similar service? Leave a comment below about your experience and let’s start a conversation about what is working well and how we can improve accessible transit. Check out our blog post on accessible subway transit! What? Wheel-Trans provides door-to-door transit service in Toronto for people who have a disability that prevents them from using the wider TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) transit system. This includes both temporary and permanent disabilities. If you are unable to use any conventional TTC transit, or are unable to access certain services offered by the TTC you may be eligible for Wheel-Trans services. For example, if you are able to use the subway but the location you need to go is close to an inaccessible subway station, you may be eligible for Wheel-Trans for all or part of that trip. To apply for Wheel-trans, click here. The service is...

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Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures and Techstars unveil cohort for ‘Future of Longevity’ Accelerator

09/02/2020

A group of ten startups will spend the next 13 weeks coming up with innovative caregiving solutions for aging adults. Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures and Techstars unveiled the first cohort for the new Future of Longevity Accelerator, a program that supports startups building products and services for caregivers. Companies range from device makers to software platforms. Seven of the 10 CEOs are women, and nearly half of the founders are Black or Latinx. See the full list of companies below, with descriptions from the program. Braze Mobility: Braze Mobility has developed the world’s first blind spot sensor system that can be attached to any motorized wheelchair, transforming it into a “smart” wheelchair. With Braze Mobility, users can more easily spot obstacles, helping to reduce the risks of injury and wheelchair damage and help users maintain their dignity and independence.Candoo Tech: Candoo Tech provides on-demand tech support and training specifically designed to help older adults stay safe, independent, and connected. The company provides one-off sessions, device setup, and ongoing support for members looking to use technology to connect with family members, attend telehealth appointments, and go online.Naborforce: Naborforce connects a network of community members, “Nabors,” to older adults for assistance with basic tasks...

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Image with two people reaching out over the world shaped as a heart

5 Social Distancing Tips for People Who Use Wheelchairs

08/26/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a wealth of changes, challenges, and anxiety for everyone. While it may feel like we are all helpless in slowing and stopping the spread of the deadly disease, social distancing has been effective in “flattening the curve” of infection, and relieving the pressure on the already strained health care system. In these times, it feels good to know the simple act of maintaining 6 feet of distance from others and staying home is helping those we care about, and those fighting the disease at the front lines.  For those who have a disability or have challenges with mobility, staying 6 feet away from others is difficult, if not impossible to follow. Personal care requires contact with other people, and the use of mobility devices in crowded areas is already often a challenge to navigate safely without the added challenge of maintaining distance from others. The following list contains some ideas for social distancing while using a wheelchair, but we would love to hear how you are keeping safe during this pandemic. Leave a comment below! 1. Have help to monitor distance from others in your blind spots. Trying to navigate in tight spaces like hallways and...

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Image with four people wearing masks

Face Masks & Disabilities

08/23/2020

All advice in this blog should not replace medical advice. Be sure to follow updates from the WHO and CDC/Health Canada for the most updated advice on COVID-19 management.  As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the ability to go to stores, restaurants and other public places has been a welcome relief to many after months of isolation. Here in Ontario Canada, the opening of businesses has come with the requirement of all customers to wear a face mask or covering while inside the business (unless seated and eating). These laws are designed to keep everyone safe, while allowing a return to the lives that we have all been missing.  But, how do people with disabilities fit into these laws? The use of facemasks may be a challenge for many people. According to the ADA, the people who may be limited in their ability to use a face mask includes:  Someone who has low fine motor skills or spasticity in their upper body may find putting on or taking a mask off difficultSomeone who relies on lip reading for communication may find it difficult to understand others while they are wearing a mask.Someone who uses a mouth-control for their wheelchair such as...

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AMI This Week: Shortcut with Alex Smyth

08/10/2020

Alex Smyth learns about Braze Mobility, a company making blind spot detectors for wheelchair users, and chats with the CEO, Dr. Pooja Viswanathan, and a client to discover more.

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Braze Mobility image with symbols from mechanical cogs, joystick, power, lighting, and addition.

Things to Consider When Ordering a Power Wheelchair

07/23/2020

If you have recently been prescribed a power wheelchair, there are quite a few things to consider. There are many different options to choose between, and ensuring that you are provided with a chair that is right for you is important. The following blog post offers some ideas about options that you have when choosing a wheelchair. Speak to your Occupational or Physical Therapist and your wheelchair vendor if you have any questions regarding your wheelchair order. The following post contains some ideas of things to consider, but is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all options available. Location of the drive wheels The optimal location for the drive wheels on your chair will depend on a few things. Often, once someone gets used to a certain location of drive wheels, any other location might feel weird. Each type of chair has different pros and cons, so there is no one best location. Check out this website for a full comparison of the wheelchair drive trains. Rear wheel drive Pros: These chairs usually have the highest top speeds, and are very stable navigating rugged terrain. Cons: The turning radius is higher in rear-wheel drive chairs, making navigation in tight...

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Bethel University Students, Toronto Entrepreneurs take home top honors at Destination Medical Center’s Assistive Tech Challenge Virtual Pitch Competition

06/05/2020

Braze Mobility from Toronto placed First in the Professional Division for its patent-pending blind spot sensor system that can transform a wheelchair into a ‘smart’ wheelchair that automatically detects obstacles and provides multi-modal alerts to the driver. Dr. Pooja Viswanathan, co-founder and CEO pitched the product. Other team members include Namit Sharma, Dr. Alex Mihailidis and Madeleine Rawling. “The DMC Assistive Tech Challenge was a great virtual experience,” said Viswanathan. “It was incredible to see so many companies working on assistive technologies that will impact millions of lives. Braze Mobility will be using the prize money to help accelerate development of sensor technology that will enable safe and independent wheelchair navigation.” Read the full article here: https://dmc.mn/bethel-university-students-toronto-entrepreneurs-take-home-top-honors-at-destination-medical-centers-assistive-tech-challenge-virtual-pitch-competition/

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