Media/Aussie idea shortlisted in global contest to change the lives of people with cerebral palsy

Aussie idea shortlisted in global contest to change the lives of people with cerebral palsy

Sydney teen with cerebral palsy inspires international push for ‘designer’ walking frame

Will overwrite featured video.
Aussie idea shortlisted in global contest to change the lives of people with cerebral palsy
Will overwrite featured image.

From Audi to Armani– everyone loves a beautiful design. And a Sydney teenager with cerebral palsy is grabbing the attention of the world’s up and coming product designers.

Sixteen year old Sophie Geeves from Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches is the inspiration for a design idea shortlisted in the international World Cerebral Palsy Day “Change My World in 1 Minute” contest.

Sophie expressed her dismay to aunt, Margot Tugwell, about her not-so-stylish accessory – a walking frame that she uses each and every day. The teen fashionista’s desire for a good looking and stylish frame prompted Margot to enter the idea in the global campaign to change the world for people living with cerebral palsy.

The designer walker is one of three ideas shortlisted for development from an estimated 400 entries from around the world. Inventors, designers and makers are now invited to bring these three ideas to life, and compete for a $50,000 prize pool.

‘It is such a simple idea, yet one that will change the world for teenagers and other fashion-conscious people with cerebral palsy’, Margot said. ‘Just because a walking frame needs to be functional, doesn’t mean it can’t look good too.’

Two international panels of people with cerebral palsy, parents, and experts in a variety of health, innovation and engineering fields, reviewed the ideas submitted in the global contest. They shortlisted three ideas which were judged to be the most innovative, helpful and feasible:

Don’t Spill a Drop

A completely spill-proof cup for teens and adults who have limited hand dexterity and strength. Must be component-based, customisable, low cost and look super-cool.

Designer Walker

A high-tech mobility walker for teens and adults with disabilities. Innovative design and fashion-forward style are key. It also must have all the strength and functionality of a regular walker, while being light weight, quiet and affordable. Extra points if it’s customisable.


A global collaborative enterprise to design and create products, services and technologies for people with cerebral palsy, plus an innovation plan to bring them to market.


‘It would be amazing to see what began as a discussion around the kitchen table, turn into a product available for children, teenagers and adults with cerebral palsy around the world’, Sophie Geeves said.

‘If someone can create it, I’d be proud to get out there and rock it!’

Established in 2012, World Cerebral Palsy Day is an international day of awareness and a campaign for innovation to improve the lives for people with cerebral palsy (CP). The “Change My World in 1 Minute” contest asks people from around the world to submit ideas that they think could change the lives of someone with CP. More than 400 ideas were posted in 2013, addressing issues of mobility, independence, accessibility, communication and social connections

Anyone can compete to bring these ideas to life, but entries MUST be submitted by 20 June 2014. The winners will be announced on Monday 21 July 2014.

To register for the competition, visit

Last year’s winners, a team from the University of Virginia, created a solar-powered wheelchair, which they shipped directly to the man who submitted the original idea—in Istanbul, Turkey!

‘Attention hackers, makers, designers, inventors—anyone with a passion for innovation and helping people – this year’s World Cerebral Palsy Day ideas have been announced, and they represent a wide variety of innovative and aesthetic concepts that will truly help to change the world for someone with a disability’, said Rob White, CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

‘We challenge the world to bring these ideas to life. This is an extraordinary opportunity to combine creativity, design and technology for a great cause and we can’t wait to see the results.’

Released on 19 Feb 2014