Six teams of innovators will compete to win an opportunity to build accessibility solutions for persons with disabilities (PWDs), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced here.
Organised by the ICRC, 'The EnableMakeathon(EM)' aims to develop prototypes and affordable solutions for challenges faced by PWDs, particularly those living in rural areas.
In the final phase of the initiative, teams comprising engineers, scientists, designers, and innovators compete against each other for grants that will allow them to further develop and market their innovations.
"The ICRC has been distributing orthotics and prosthetics to people across 40 countries. However, we believe these challenges can be better addressed by working with those straight out of an environment of physical disability and living in underdeveloped countries without means of inclusion," Tarun Sarwal, Head of Innovation, ICRC, said.
The six finalists out of 16 shortlisted teams are -- Team Welava (Delhi), Team Bleetech (Mumbai), Team Autobots (Vellore), Team For Growth (Bangalore), Team Torchit (Ahmedabad), and Team Unicom Solutions (Vellore).
Each of the contesting teams are developing an innovation that directly responds to one of the 12 Enable Makeathon challenges including access to education, access to tourism and access to transport.
Team Bleetech have developed a low-cost version of an encyclopedia for persons who are hearing impaired. The users can ask questions on a mobile platform, either in sign language or English, and receive answers in Indian sign language.
While the team from Vellore have created an application that supports pregnancy diagnosis for the visually impaired, Team Torchit from Bangalore have developed a hardware solution which can be attached to a walking cane to help a blind person through feedback in the form of a buzzing sound and vibrating sensations.
"The finalist teams' innovations truly highlight how the combination of open-source hardware and the rise of Indian talent in ICTs can infuse new ideas and efforts into the assistive technology movement by actually working with persons with disability," Sarwal said.
The competition will conclude on February 6 where three winners will be selected for an incubator grant and will get a chance to participate in a 1-year incubator programme to further develop and scale their solutions.
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