We had a great time at the 2017 RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (new window)) Annual Conference. Our Manager of Research and Development, Harry Lew, presented his paper on the Makers Making Change (new window) initiative. To our honour, we ended up taking home the Most Disruptive Technology award.
Our engineer, Charles, standing with Harry (left to right) at our booth at RESNA.
It’s been just over a year since we began building our LipSync team, for the major project which led into our new Makers Making Change initiative. We’ve made a lot of progress in such a short amount of time, and have been blown away with the amount of interest in our work. With over 120 LipSyncs built and ready to ship out, a new website in development, and work being done on investigating and supporting other open-source assistive technology solutions, this is just the beginning.
All of this work comes from the staff at the Neil Squire Society, who use technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with disabilities. Our staff, interns and volunteers have put a tremendous amount of time and energy into the Makers Making Change initiative, yet our success wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some key supporting organizations, and we’d like to thank them now.
Google.org (new window)’s grant (new window) allowed us to take the LipSync from a prototype on a shelf to actually having an open-source, low cost “mouse in your mouth” solution. It is already being made and used in communities across North America, with many of you asking to get involved.
The Vancouver Foundation (new window) was the first to fund Maker Making Change in British Columbia, which allowed us to really create the branding, host our first Access Makeathon, and begin exploring other open source assistive technologies.
Recently, the Government of Canada (new window) announced funding over the next two years, which will really allow us to bring this initiative across Canada, connecting makers to people with disabilities who need assistive technologies. We are all so incredibly excited about this opportunity to scale this project to Neil Squire Society offices across Canada through this support.
Finally, and most importantly, we’d like to thank you. We’ve spent a lot of time doing outreach over the last few months, and we’ve been delighted by the interest across Canada and the United States — overwhelmed, really. Our vision of open source assistive technology hardware solutions is bold, and we are grateful for your interest in helping us grow this network.