Tunisian all-women team’s smart wheelchair eyeing the Young Inventors Prize

A team of young Tunisian women engineers has developed a groundbreaking smart wheelchair system that has reached the finals of a prestigious European inventors' prize. This achievement sets a hopeful precedent for Tunisia, a country currently facing multiple crises. Their innovative project, Moovobrain, enables wheelchair users to control their movement through various advanced methods, including brain signal detection.

How does it work?

Moovobrain offers a unique solution for wheelchair users, allowing them to navigate using a touchpad, voice commands, facial gestures, or a headset that detects brain signals.

This diverse range of control options aims to provide maximum autonomy and ease of use for individuals with different levels of mobility and communication abilities.

Why does it matter?

The Moovobrain system addresses a critical need for individuals with reduced mobility.

Co-founder Souleima Ben Temime was inspired by her uncle, who became dependent on a wheelchair after his upper body was paralyzed. This innovation promises to improve the quality of life for many while highlighting the potential for digital health technologies to make a significant impact.

As Ben Ahmed noted, "asking to be turned toward the television" when they "cannot speak, no longer have any autonomy, can become very trying on a psychological level."

The context

The team's success is particularly remarkable given Tunisia's challenging economic and political climate. Since President Kais Saied's election in 2019, the country has faced increasing turmoil, pushing many Tunisians to seek better opportunities abroad. Despite these obstacles, the all-female team behind Moovobrain has demonstrated resilience and determination.

Their journey began at the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences in Tunis, where they developed the Moovobrain prototype in 2017 and later founded the health-tech start-up Gewinner. Their project has now been shortlisted from over 550 applicants for the Young Inventors Prize, an award launched by the European Patent Office in 2021.

The Young Inventors Prize, which rewards "exceptional inventors under the age of 30," offers substantial prizes, with the top award being $21,600. The team is hopeful that this recognition will bring them "visibility and credibility," as Ben Ahmed expressed.


The Moovobrain project exemplifies the innovative spirit and potential of young engineers, even in the face of significant challenges. By delivering their first wheelchairs equipped with this new technology to an organization for disabled people in Sousse, eastern Tunisia, and establishing international partnerships, the team is poised to make a global impact. Their ultimate goal is to make this life-changing technology accessible to as many people as possible, including those in less well-off countries. In fact, they are not looking for end-users to bear the cost of Moovobrain, but rather seeking support from organizations to sponsor the purchase or adaptation of the technology.


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