Vale announces winners of its innovators challenge
May 20, 2020
SUDBURY, ON – Vale, an international mining company headquartered in Brazil, and with large-scale activities in Canada, has announced the winners of its US$1 million COVID-19 innovators challenge. Two of the winners are Ontario companies offering solutions that can be used to combat the pandemic.
FloSonics Medical, a venture-backed start-up based in Sudbury develops and commercializes wearable sensors, which improve clinical management of critically ill patients inside and outside 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 received from Vale will help them increase capacity to manufacture and deliver the devices which have already been cleared for use in the US by the FDA.
“FloSonics is pleased to partner with Vale in this important initiative,” said Joe Eibl (pictured), CEO at FloSonics Medical. “Our aim with this solution is to facilitate monitoring where resources are limited, and to help support clinical decisions to improve patient outcomes.”
First Team 1305, a group of high school robotics students from North Bay, Ontario, developed a DIY ultra-violet (UV) sterilizer that facilitates the cleaning and sterilization of personal protective equipment. They currently have two prototypes in use at 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 centers.
“The funds provided by Vale for the UV Sterilizer Project will have a positive impact on people at risk of COVID-19 in our community and will help others make a difference in their community as well,” said Fionna Truong, First Team 1305 student. “The safety equipment and masks are key in keeping our first responders and those at risk safe. By being able to sterilize and reuse masks we can continue protecting our community, and with help from Vale, others will be able to help their community.”
On April 3, the Vale COVID-19 challenge was launched in Canada to help propel innovative COVID-19 solutions developed by companies, startups, institutions, universities or professionals into the marketplace by offering financial support of up to USD $1M.
For its part, Vale is a global leader in the production of iron ore and the world’s second largest producer of nickel. In 2006, the Brazilian company completed a $19.7 billion buyout of Inco Ltd., which had substantial operations in Sudbury. Vale Canada is headquartered in Toronto.
A total of nearly 1,800 solutions were submitted globally, of which over 300 came from within 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,” said Afzal Jessa, chief digital officer, Vale Base Metals.
To view more on the solutions being supported through this challenge, please visit www.vale.com/canadacovid19challenge.