Cat's Iron Will ALS


Removing ALS patients from death row

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is 2-5 years from time of diagnosis, and the single FDA-approved drug only extends life for 2-3 months on average. The ALS Visioneers Team is exploring ways to build a bridge to treatments, improved quality of life, and ultimately a cure.

“Right now, ALS patients rapidly lose the ability to walk, speak, and breathe. They can't lift up a fork. They can't hug their children. Daily tasks become difficult and then impossible. We want to change this. We want to challenge the world to find a solution.”



ALS affects an estimated 600,000 people worldwide, most of whom will die 2-5 years after diagnosis. There is no cure and current treatments are woefully inadequate.

The ALS Visioneers Team’s mission is to remove ALS patients from death row by developing an assistive technology prize competition, leveraging advancements in materials science, engineering, and robotics, which they believe hold enormous power to alter the prognosis for ALS patients. Technology will be the bridge that will allow more ALS patients to benefit from the new therapies that are currently being developed to extend lifespan, and patients will become increasingly reliant on assistive technologies once ALS is transformed from a fatal disease into a chronic one.

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Prize Sponsor

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. As the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, Caterpillar and its global employees are committed to innovation around iron – making its machines and engines more productive, enhancing safety and improving sustainability. As part of Caterpillar’s focus on enhancing its innovation culture, the company is encouraging teams to Think Big. Act Fast. Start Small. They are also a partner of Singularity University.

Caterpillar hopes to remove the barriers to progress to finding a cure for ALS, which currently has no known cure. Former Caterpillar group president, Ed Rapp, who served for more than 36 years, is currently battling the disease. He has been a model of what an innovative leader should strive to be, and is much beloved by Caterpillar employees around the world.

Evan Milnor

Evan Milnor
Prize Developer

A recipient of the UCLA Anderson Merit Fellowship, Marine Corps Officer, wellness coach, and martial arts black belt, Evan believes that all of us have an innate desire to be the best version of ourselves and that we are each capable of improving the world. He also believes in leveraging the power of competition to catalyze breakthroughs at the intersection of technology and cognitive psychology.

MBA, UCLA Anderson School of Management (2017)
BS, International Politics, Georgetown University

Michio Painter

Michio Painter
Prize Developer

Michio is a neuroscientist and entrepreneur committed to solving the world's most pressing unmet healthcare needs. Currently, he is Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Therapeutics, an early-stage biotech company developing non-addictive pain medications. An advocate of public-private partnerships in the healthcare space, Michio is motivated to help craft the next XPRIZE because he has seen first-hand how outside incentives can help bring promising technologies over perceived risk.

PhD, Immunology, Harvard University
BA, French, Middlebury College

Jim Carlberg
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Greg Folley
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Cindy Hemming

Bob Manfreda

Ed Rapp
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Corrie Scott
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Rebecca Strachan