LipSync Update: Stateside Buildathons

June 22, 2017

We hadn’t done a Buildathon in the United States yet. So why not do two of them on the same day in opposite ends of the country? That’s what we did Sunday, as part of the Nation of Makers (new window)Week of Making (new window), with Buildathons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Seattle, Washington.

It was fantastic.


Above: Seeing that both Buildathons fell on Father’s Day, it was only fitting that we had a father-daughter team. Scott, our friend from Comcast who built one on his own initiative, pictured with his daughter.
Below: We’ve typically done red LipSyncs, but while we’re trying new things, why not switch it up with the colours.


In Philadelphia, where we partnered with NextFab (new window) (who hosted us at their Philadelphia location), we got to say hi (and build LipSyncs) with a few old friends. Scott from Comcast brought along his daughter, and they built a LipSync.

As well, a few of the people who we had dropped off LipSyncs with last time actually built one themselves. Charles, from Inglis House (new window), and Russ, from the Institute of Disabilities (new window) at Temple University (new window), both got to build a LipSync and take them home. It was great not only to give them a LipSync, but show them how they can make it themselves.

“[Chad Leaman], Ivan and the rest of the team did a phenomenal job putting together the Buildathon this past weekend,” Russ, who received four LipSyncs for the Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (new window), wrote us in an email. “The LipSyncs produced will, no doubt, be put to good use in our Statewide AT lending library.”


Above: Russ shaking hands with Chad Leaman, Director of Development, holding his certificate of completion. (Thanks to Marcella Barker of NextFab, who took this and the following photos of the Philadelphia Buildathon).
Below: Charles soldering together his circuit board.

One last photo of our group in Philadelphia.

In Seattle, at the SoDo MakerSpace (new window), we also had a great time. In all, we ended the weekend with 21 LipSyncs built.

Above: The makers at the SoDo MakerSpace hard at work.
Below: The result.

Buildathons weren’t the only thing we were doing in the States. Our Executive Director, Gary Birch, was in Washington DC, as a panelist at the M-Enabling Summit (new window). In addition to talking to a large audience of influential persons and industry leaders about the LipSync and Makers Making Change (new window), Birch also met some important contacts – he paid a visit to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (new window), and met with John Anschutz, the manager of the Assistive Technology Center at the Shepherd Center (new window), one of the best rehabilitation hospitals in the world. He gave them both LipSyncs.

Gary Birch demonstrating the LipSync to John Anschutz, the manager of the Assistive Technology Center at the Shepherd Center.
Our travels are not over. We’re at the 2017 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists conference (new window) right now. With the success of the American one in Philadelphia — the connections we made were why we were there on Sunday — we hope to find the same in Charlottetown, PEI. We’ll meet with occupational therapists from all over Canada, as well as some local makerspaces, and give out a few LipSyncs.