The Levara team

Levara awarded Bevica Seed Grant

Friday 20 Nov 20
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Contact

Line Nykjær Johansen
Project coordinator
AFRI
+45 25 13 97 22

About Technology leaving no one Behind

‘Technology leaving no one behind’ is a 3-year project with a total budget of DKK 11 million, of which the Bevica Foundation provides DKK 5 million, while DTU co-finances DKK 6 million.

Disabled Peoples’ Organizations Denmark (DPOD) is contributing as a strategic partner. As part of the project, a project manager at DTU Skylab is responsible for developing offers and programmes for start-ups working specifically with solutions targeted people with motor disabilities, but also with a broader focus on start-ups and students in general who can benefit from an inclusive mindset. DTU Management is also an important partner in the project, where a postdoc from the department will work on research and educational methods, tools, and cases across all of DTU’s study programmes in collaboration with a professor funded by The Bevica Foundation.

What is Universal Design?

According to The UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ‘Universal design’ means the design of products, environments, programmes, and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. ‘Universal design’ shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed. Read more about ‘Universal design’ here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_design

DTU Skylab is happy to announce that the start-up Levara has been awarded DKKR 51,000 in Bevica Seed Grants from The Bevica Foundation in October 2020 through the DTU Skylab Funding programme. The Bevica Seed Grant is awarded to student start-ups working within the field of accessibility and universal design.

The inclusive solution

Levara is developing a lightweight, portable toilet seat solution that enables people with mobility impairments to use any regular toilet. It consists of an inflatable air cushion that inflates using a battery. The solution is targeted people with mobility impairments who have trouble getting from seated to upright position. User- and problem-driven innovation is central to the teams’ initial focus of the development of the solution, and different users and stakeholders have been involved in the ideation and development phase of the project. Levara is currently testing and iterating the prototype with elderly users in nursing homes, nursing staff, and people with physical disabilities, along with different stakeholders like production, distribution, and market representatives (municipalities and assistive technology centres). Levara believes that involving users from the beginning not only increases the simplicity of the solution, but also provides valuable insight into potential market and business opportunities. Instead of being product-oriented, the start-up is focusing on the specific problem they are trying to solve—for numerous situations and user-groups.

Receiving funding from The Bevica Seed Grant is a welcome boost in the development and validation of the start-up’s first functional prototype.

The team

Levara consists of a team of five process engineers from the programme Process & Innovation at DTU Ballerup: Tais Thøgersen, Michael Degn Sørensen, Theis Auhagen, Philip Tørring, and Loui Saust. The idea originated in a semester project where they realized how severe and widespread the problem is among different user groups. How a trivial problem like the inability to rise from a seated position prevents many people from being included in society and doing everyday activities. They received a lot of positive feedback from users and experts who have acknowledged the necessity for a solution like theirs. The challenge and opportunity of helping a vast amount of people is what drives the team to continue to develop the solution and their business, as well as getting a lot of experience and learning by doing while creating it. They all agree that the experience of starting a business will make them better future engineers.  

Contact Levara on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/levara/

The Bevica Seed Grant

The Bevica Seed Grant is part of the initiative ‘Technology leaving no one behind’, aiming to make accessibility and universal design an integral part of engineering sustainable technological solutions at DTU. All DTU students, PhDs and postdocs, alumni (within 1 year of graduation) and teams with at least one DTU profile in the founder team can apply.  

The next deadline is 14 February 2021. Read more about the Bevica Seed Grants and Skylab Funding here: https://www.skylab.dtu.dk/Programmes-and-Services/Funding

Read more about the initiative ‘Technology leaving no one behind’ here: https://www.skylab.dtu.dk/programmes/technology-leaving-no-one-behind

Next application deadline for Bevica Seed Grants and Skylab Funding is 14 FEBUARY 2021.

Further information

Line Nykjær Johansen, Project Coordinator, DTU Skylab, +45 25 13 97 22, linejo@dtu.dk

About The Bevica Foundation

With a point of departure in the philanthropic effort and intentions of the founder, Reverend Hans Knudsen, The Bevica Foundation strives to continue to make a difference for people with motor disabilities through collaboration and a focus on current societal challenges.

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https://www.skylab.dtu.dk/news/Nyhed?id=%7BEFDC7A68-20CD-4A5D-890B-7E49794F04D8%7D
1 DECEMBER 2020