Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, with grant aid from the National Science Foundation and the Radio Shack division of Tanny Corp., last week announced a nationwide contest search to inspire new inventions that apply personal computers to the needs of handicapped people.

The grand prize in the competition is $10,000. Last day for submission of entries is June 30, 1981. The ultimate objective of the contest is new inventions or concepts that handicapped people can use to improve their quality of life.

Paul L. Hazan, director of the university's Personal Computing to Aid the Handicapped project, said the contest is a challenge to people to use their "conceptual skills" in creating practical aids based on current computer technology that will help an individual or group with a handicap. All categories of handicaps, including mental disorders, can be addressed by potential inventors.

"Just as important will be the opportunity provided the inventors and developers to make contact and form partnerships with the handicapped in a way that can lead to wide acceptance and the use of the new computing technology," Hazan said.

Orientation meetings are being scheduled at major rehabilitation centers throughout the country in an effort to bring together contest entrants, handicapped individuals and professional rehabilitation workers. Special presentations are planned at chapter meetings of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and private personal computer clubs.

Individual contest participants will be provided with an inventor kit that includes official entry forms for submission and evaluation of their computer systems or concepts. Judging will be done on three levels of competition -- computer professional, amateur and full-time student.

In addition to the $10,000 grand prize, 15 personal computer systems, several $1,000 awards and many additional prizes will be awarded. Winners will be invited to Washington to participate in awards ceremonies and receive their prizes. All invention rights will remain with the contestant.

For more information on the contest, contact Personal Computing to Aid the Handicapped, The Johns Hopkins University, P.O. Box 670, Laurel, Md. 20810.