BENGALURU: How can transport facilities be made more accessible to the physically challenged using technology? Can one improve resources for learning for the blind? The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) will organise the Enable Makeathon (EM2) in order to identify key challenges to such problems and to co-create affordable assistive solutions for people with disabilities.
In Bengaluru, a meetup has been organised where startups, NGOs and other organisations will meet the differently abled. The former will try and understand the problems faced by the latter in their daily lives. Besides India there will also be a simultaneous event in London. Deepthi Soni, head of communications at ICRC says, “It is a global event. However in India most of the on ground activities, at least in the initial phase, will be conducted in Bengaluru or Delhi.” The makeathon will aim to solve issues of people with locomotor disabilities as well as those with visual and physical disabilities. It will also concentrate on gender specific issues related to disabilities such as access of differently abled women to toilets.
Nihal Kashinath, founder, Applied Singularity, one of the organisations responsible for screening the applications for the makeathon, says, “This year, we are taking a maximum of 10 teams for the programme in Bengaluru and five teams for the programme in London.” Asked to comment about the kind of solutions that the makeathon will work on, he says that he is keen to see how people use design innovations and frontier technologies to achieve the end results. Innovative use of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Wearable Tech, Material Sciences, to name a few.
“We want to find out how all these can lead to an approach that has never been thought of before, or make an existing method far more effective, efficient, or easy. Having said that, the simplest solution could be the best one,” he says. A simple change in existing designs, a mobile app, a better mechanism to ensure process adherence, a curation of verified resources. Any of these could solve the problems at hand as well as scale up quickly to have global impact, he adds.
This will be the second edition of the makeathon. Deepthi says that the duration of the makeathon will be for a period of around eight months where the shortlisted organisations will be mentored to take their concepts to production level. “The winners of the makeathon will be funded, mentored as well as incubated and will be able to access a wide network of experts,” adds Deepthi.