COVID-19: Two northern Ontario companies among Vale’s COVID-19 Challenge winners

TORONTO – On Apr. 3, Vale launched a COVID-19 challenge in Canada to help generate innovative solutions during the pandemic by offering […]
Team 1305 Credit: First Team 1305
[caption id="attachment_1003735454" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Team 1305 Credit: First Team 1305 Team 1305 Credit: First Team 1305[/caption] TORONTO - On Apr. 3, Vale launched a COVID-19 challenge in Canada to help generate innovative solutions during the pandemic by offering financial support of up to US$1 million. Nearly 1,800 solutions were submitted globally and over 300 came from Canada. “The participation on this initiative was incredible, exceeding my expectations and is a great example of how open innovation can bring people together globally as partners in finding innovative solutions to critical problems,” Afzal Jessa, chief digital officer at Vale Base Metals, said in a release. “It's been an eye opener on the power of fostering collaboration among innovative leaders across diverse institutions to move quickly on a unified cause.” After careful review, 11 solutions will receive financial support as part of the Vale COVID-19 Challenge – two are Canadian companies, both based in northern Ontario. FloSonics Medical is a venture-backed start-up based in Sudbury that develops and commercializes wearable sensors, which improve clinical management of critically ill patients inside and outside of the hospital. To help during the COVID-19 pandemic, FloSonics developed a wearable wireless single-use hemodynamic monitor, which allows clinicians to access vital information about a COVID-19 patient’s cardiovascular state remotely via Bluetooth. The funds from Vale will help them increase capacity to manufacture and deliver the devices, which have already been cleared for use in the U.S. by the FDA. First Team 1305, a group of high school robotics students from North Bay, developed an ultraviolet (UV) sterilizer that facilitates the cleaning and sterilization of personal protective equipment. They currently have two prototypes being used at the North Bay Regional Health Centre in the emergency department and intensive care unit. The funds will allow them to further develop these prototypes and build an open-source model to be shared internationally. They also plan to purchase the required material to build 50 units to donate to local hospitals and medical centres. To view the solutions supported through the challenge, visit www.Vale.com/CanadaCOVID19Challenge.  

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