LipSync Update: The CAOT Conference in Charlottetown

Wow! June was one busy month. We capped off a month of Buildathons, Maker Faires, and outreach with a trip to Charlottetown, PEI (and the surrounding area) for the 2017 Canadian Association of Occupation Therapists (new window) (CAOT) Conference (new window), similar to the American Occupational Therapist Association conference we attended in Philadelphia.
Chad Leaman, Director of Development, standing in front of Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island.

In Philadelphia, we connected with occupational therapists across the United States and Canada and we created connections and roots in the city and surrounding areas with local MakerSpaces, rehabilitation clinics, and interested people. It’s allowed us to host Buildathons and really be visible in Philadelphia — it paved the way for a lot of progress.

At the CAOT conference in PEI, we aimed to replicate the outreach we achieved in Philadelphia. Highlights included meeting with and giving LipSyncs to the University of Prince Edward Island (new window) and their disability services office, and Spinal Cord Injury Prince Edward Island (new window). Rather coincidentally, Saturday was the PEI Walk for ALS (new window), where we connected with a Maritimes service provider, Harding Medical (new window), and gave them a LipSync.

We also dropped off an unassembled LipSync kit with the Summerside MakerSpace (new window) which they are currently building. The MakerSpaces we met were very enthusiastic and willing to help.

Above: Our Industrial Designer, Kristina, inspecting our 3D printer at the conference.
Below: Chad Leaman with Dr. William Miller (new window), a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and an associate dean at UBC (new window).

While we have talked mostly about our activities outside the conference, the conference itself was a huge success. Just as we had experienced in Philadelphia, occupational therapists were tremendously interested in the LipSync and Makers Making Change (new window). We made good contact with an occupational therapist or school in literally every province of Canada — and sometimes more, we met many from Nova Scotia and Alberta for instance. It’s a great launching point.

These conferences provide a very efficient way to grow our networks and grow the initiative, allowing us to meet people from all over the country, rather than having to go to each community individually to make connections. Not that we don’t enjoy travelling to each different community — we’ll be doing that in our follow-up with many of our new connections.  (We are looking forward, however, to next year’s CAOT conference being in Vancouver — a huge opportunity).

A group photo of our Bellingham build’s participants. (For more pictures, check out The Foundry MakerSpace on Facebook (new window)).

Rounding out our week, we were also in Bellingham, Washington, co-ordinating another successful build. Thanks to The Foundry MakerSpace (new window), our gracious hosts, we now have another 17 LipSyncs built.

After the final LipSync build of the month, it’s nice to look back — we built nearly 90 LipSyncs in June alone. We’re getting close to the 150 we’ve aimed to build during our first phase. Now, it’s time to really start getting them out to people on a large scale. For us, July will be a lot calmer, at least in terms of events, so over the next few weeks we’re going to be doing some quality assurance and work on getting the LipSyncs out there.

Our Director of Research and Development, Harry Lew, is presenting at the RESNA (new window) (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) 2017 Annual Conference (new window) in New Orleans, Louisiana this week. Lew will be comparing different open source models, and how the Makers Making Change model incorporates the strengths and works to overcome the weaknesses of previous models.