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Enable Makeathon 2.0 showcases promising innovations for people with disabilities

Nine teams battled it out for the top honours in the final Demo Day of Enable Makeathon 2.0 that was held in New Delhi this week. Started by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and partners, the aim of the initiative is to develop prototypes and affordable solutions for everyday challenges faced by the disabled, especially those living in rural areas.

Enable Makeathon is an initiative of ICRC and partners

The program brings together teams of engineers, scientists, designers, people with disabilities, and entrepreneurs who face off for grants that will enable them to further develop and market their innovations. This year's Enable Makeathon focused on crowdsourcing solutions and products to address 12 challenges related to accessibility and employability faced by the hearing impaired, vision impaired and those with locomotor disabilities.

"Enable Makethon is grown out of a design to make sure that we find better solutions for people with disabilities. What we understood from our work is that you can't plan solutions for people, you have to plan solutions with people.The key to the whole process was to make sure that the challenges they are working on concern the people themselves. Every step we took was guided by people with disabilities." - Jeremy England, Head of Regional Delegation, ICRC

Nine teams shortlisted for finals from 100 applicants

The finals were preceded by an intensive bootcamp in Bengaluru where 100 teams showcased their innovations. The nine teams that made it to the final round were - Amparo, Autobots, Bleetech, For Growth, Gameable, Nonspec, Torchit, Unicom Solutions, and Welava.

The top prize of US$ 25,000 went to Bleetech from India, which is working on a low-cost version of an encyclopaedia, where a user can ask questions on a mobile platform, either in sign language or in English.

"We are working on a product where deaf people can ask us any questions if they have difficulty in understanding an English word from their textbook. They can ask us questions and we answer them in Indian Sign Language" - Team Bleetach

The second prize of US$ 15,000 went to Gameable, a company in the United Kingdom, which is working on a gesture recognition-based control software that provides access to persons with disabilities enabling them to play video games like their peers.

"We believe that everyone should be able to play computer games and we have developed a hardware and software solution that work together to replace the need to use the keyboard"- Team Gameable

Third place went to Nonspec from the United States for developing a rapidly adjustable below-the-knee prosthetic system that is dynamic, affordable and lightweight.

'What we have done is finally seen the output after eight months of work to find the whole bunch of new inventions we think will stimulate people's potentials easier. The disabled have a lot to contribute in our society, and our society is weaker when we don't include them. We hope these inventions will reach them in time," said England.

This report was filed by Oshin Dhawan from Delhi for NewzHook.

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