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Join the Enable Makeathon and Help Build Assistive Technology
Photo: Enable Makeathon
Photograph courtesy of Enable Makeathon

You should apply to participate in the Enable Makeathon, a 60 day program to design and build assistive devices for people living in rural areas. You could make lives better and win up to $25,000 in the process.

Assistive technology, or things that help people who have physical disabilities, are often out of reach of those who need them. Low income individuals usually can’t afford fancy devices, especially if their mobility or ability to earn money is limited by their physical disability. In addition to the high costs of assistive devices, there is the fact that in almost all cases the device needs to be custom tailored to the individual.

Makers can donate some of their time and, more importantly, their unique way of thinking, to creating more accessible devices. You won’t just be working for those who have physical disabilities. The organizers of the event are calling out to the communities of those in need as well, so that you will be working with people who can help shape the creations based off of their life experiences having a disability.

This makeathon is a 60 day program being held simultaneously in Bengaluru, India, and online worldwide. You can apply to participate and focus on one of nine challenges:

  • Performing activities of daily living
  • Mobility around the home
  • Mobility within and around the community
  • Accessing education and training
  • Employability and self employment
  • Remote access to physical rehabilitation services
  • Remote follow-up and users-to-service provider interactions
  • Data collection to improve the quality of services
  • Adaptation and use of new technologies

This task may seem a bit daunting to anyone who hasn’t personally attempted to design a bit of accessible technology. The group has put together a rough breakdown of a few things to keep in mind in their design guide which may help you feel a bit more at ease with attempting this task. Mostly these are things to keep in mind and design towards, like easy repairability and using locally available materials.

The deadline for applying is quickly approaching. Get your application turned in before November 14 for a chance to be chosen to participate. The top three designs will be awarded $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. You can find me on twitter at @calebkraft

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