Demo Day of the Enable Makeathon ushers fresh hope for persons with disabilities

January 25 2016,  12.50 PM IST || Pocket Press Release

The Enable Makeathon Challenge concludes with Mobility India team from Bengaluru winning the seed money of USD 25000

Bengaluru, January 25, 2016: Team Mobility India from Bengaluru, working for an “off the shelf” product- a low cost, prefabricated twin device to help correct the posture of children with cerebral palsy emerged winners of the Enable Makeathon organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its partners. The winning team received the sum of USD25,000 as seed money with which to further improve on its winning device.

Team Assem from R2D2 lab of IIT Madras who developed  a quick and easy add-on to a manual wheelchair to convert it into an outdoor mobility device came second, winning the sum of USD 15000; while Team The RightFit Prosthetics Initiative’s solution which is dedicated to improving the quality of prosthetic care around the globe through a patient-centered design to help people regain mobility and independence emerged third…winning the sum of USD 10,000

The awards were presented to the winners by Mary Werntz, Head of Regional Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross, India and Tarun Sarwal, the Innovation Advisor at the ICRC.

The ‘Demo Day’ of the ‘Enable Makeathon Challenge’ was concluded today at the IKP Eden in Bengaluru. For the last 60 days, teams comprising of persons with disabilities, technology and design experts, the scientific and innovation community, and mentors have been working round the clock to create affordable gadgets and assistive devices that aim to make persons with disabilities more independent and self-reliant. More than 20 teams from India and around the world participated at the event, demonstrating their innovative solutions to address the needs of persons with disabilities in low resource environments.

Speaking at the event, Shri Govind Raj, KAS, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities said, “Hope the solutions that you provide will help even the government to apply and invest in the disability sector.”

Commenting on the project, Mr. Tarun Sarwal, the Innovation Advisor at the ICRC said, “The currently available devices such as the wheelchair are fit for use in a city environment with proper roads and infrastructure. However, those who live in areas that don’t even have roads often find such designs unsuitable for their situation. Through the Enable Makeathon Challenge, we wanted to provide a platform for innovators to use their expertise in building assistive devices that would help people with disabilities living in rural India and similar places around the world. We are proud to see the outcomes of the challenge and hope that this spirit is taken forward for the betterment of humanity.”

Enable Makeathon is a first of its kind project initiated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which saw persons with disabilities, humanitarians, engineers, designers, the scientific and innovation community, manufacturers, investors and entrepreneurs collaborate to create sustainable and affordable solutions to the problems faced by persons with disabilities in rural areas.

Delivering his opening remarks, Boris Michel, Director of the ICRC’s Asia and Pacific region, said that “…the ICRC adopted an approach which is both person-centred and environment-centred, where on the one hand, we use appropriate technology to reduce the functional limitations of disability and simultaneously also look towards an environment that is better designed towards mainstreaming.” The ICRC also intends to further develop and use at least 15 of the prototypes produced during the course of the Enable Makeathon in its various operations globally.

Furthermore, it is the expectation of the ICRC and its partners that private companies would step forward to invest in the prototypes showcased by various teams and produce them at affordable prices for the use of persons with disabilities in rural areas.

Demo Day of the Enable Makeathon ushers fresh hope for persons with disabilities