Innovation differs from an invention with its ability to improvise an existing mechanism to deliver better results. And if innovation can change lives, then its purpose is served.
The Enable Makeathon is a unique social movement, which brings together the fields of humanitarian action, disability, innovation, entrepreneurship and technology under a single premise.
Started by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2015, the initiative calls for new, innovative solutions that enable those with disabilities to cope with their daily challenges and live their lives with dignity.
What makes the initiative unique is that the teams do not conjure up solutions out of the blue. During the 60-day programme, they work with differently-abled people to understand the extent of the disability in close quarters as well as with technology and design experts who help them incubate the brainchild.
In the first edition of the Makeathon that took place in Bengaluru, close to 186 teams had applied from across the world, which trickled down to 32 for the final program.
While every final submission stood out for its innovative solutions and deep retrospection that went behind the process, the ones that emerged winners were indeed remarkable for their design and application.
From an adjustable chair for children with cerebral palsy to a convertible wheelchair, here are some of the noteworthy innovations of Enable Makeathon 1.0:
1. Mobility India
For children with cerebral palsy who have severe movement limitations, Riyaz H, Trivikram, Indra Sena Reddy, Shiva Kumar, and Praveen of Mobility India came up with a low-cost, prefabricated device that can assist parents to help the kids sit as well as a stand.
With cerebral palsy being extremely debilitating, the innovation with its twin-seat facility comes as a boon for the parents who spend most of their lives tending to the children. With an adjustable frame, the device can be adjusted to facilitate a child as he or she grows.
2. Outdoor Mobility device
To develop a single solution for both indoor and outdoor mobility was indeed a challenge for Team Aseem’s Swostik Sourav Dash, Ashish and Vivek Sarda.
After understanding the inconveniences faced by the wheelchair-bound while commuting, they came up with a quick and easy add-on to a manual wheelchair that can be converted into an outdoor mobility device.
Available in both manual (handcycle) and motorised mode, the attachment has been proven to meet the needs of different users.
3. The Fuji Foot
Gary Wall and Rochelle Dumm of RightFit Prosthetics came up with prosthetic feet that are not only lowcost and waterproof but can store energy as well!
With multi-axial capabilities designed for rural low-resource settings and flexible enough for rough terrains, the Fuji Foot was conceptualised by the only international team in the final five, with an aim to improve access to prosthetic care around the world with extreme affordability.
4. MAK- My Ability Kit
People afflicted with spinal cord injuries and similar medical conditions often have limitations with their grip and hand movements. Coming up multi-utility attachments that can make activities of daily living a smooth sail, Nekram Upadhyay has put together a kit comprising add-ons that can be used by a person independently.
From holding regular objects like a tumbler, pen, toothbrush, etc. to type on mobile phone or computer, the My Ability Kit (MAK) lets one get better of their failing grip and is quite affordable.
Coming along is the second edition of the initiative, Enable Makeathon 2.0 which will have a three-month extensive programme running from December 2017 to February 2018.
Inviting differently-abled individuals, designers, engineers, humanitarians and entrepreneurs to join forces and develop affordable and assistive solutions for the disabled, ICRC intends to sprout wings to the ideas of innovators and develop these into a solid business plan and prototypes.
While the first round of application has been closed, ICRC is still accepting entries by those who wish to be part of the programme and make a difference with their concepts. The last date for application closes on September 30.
The Enable Makeathon co-creation camps and incubation will take place in two simultaneous locations; Bengaluru, India hosted by the ICRC and London, the UK hosted by the Global Disability Innovation Hub and University College London.
To apply for Enable Makeathon 2.0, click here.
You can reach out to the folks behind the initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.