LipSync Update: Open-Source Assistive Technologies

September 14, 2017

We are excited to share with you some new, open-source assistive technologies (new window) that we’ve been developing. We’ve showcased some of them at tradeshows and conferences, but are now releasing them more broadly for makers and people with disabilities to trial.

writing aid

Above: This writing aid is fashioned after one that our Executive Director, Dr. Gary Birch, uses. It helps someone who has difficulty grasping or pinching.

writing aid ball

Above: This writing aid has traditionally been made by punching a hole in a tennis ball. It is useful for someone with arthritis or other hand pain that limits their ability to grip a pen.

These assistive technologies are low-tech solutions that can be made with a 3D printer, and address barriers to daily living for people with different disabilities. Many of them enable people with mobility issues or pain in their hands to write, but we have also developed a low-vision measuring tape, a nail clipper, and a bottle opener. Each of these solutions have the STL file, which stores information about 3D models, so you can customize and print the assistive technology, as well as a specifications sheet with more detailed settings and assembly instructions.

bottle grip

Above: A 3D printed piece that can grip water bottles, giving the user more torque to open the cap.

This is the first step toward our larger goal of profiling and sharing open-source assistive technologies (new window). We’re at work right now on a much more comprehensive website for Makers Making Change to support this work. Longer term, we want to add a “reviewing” ability, so makers, people with disabilities, and disability professionals can publicly share their thoughts and experiences with these different assistive technology solution. By “crowdsourcing” reviews, we will help better inform development by all makers, and help build trust in the validity of open-source solutions.