The Enabled by Design-athon goes Down Under

It’s hard to believe that this time last month, the third ever Enabled by Design-athon (held at the University of […]

It’s hard to believe that this time last month, the third ever Enabled by Design-athon (held at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia) was already in full swing and rapidly heading towards the finish line…

The Enabled by Design-athon is a two day ideas and prototyping fest for accessible, but ultimately good, design.

The event brings together people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience (including designers, makers, health and social care professionals, engineers and people with disabilities) to work together in teams. Each team works through different empathy activities to help shape the design, development and prototyping of products, services, systems and technology that have the potential to support people to live as independently as possible.

But first, a series of thought provoking talks on design, innovation and assistive technology helps to kick things off and get people inspired and enthused, before getting on with the serious business of designing and prototyping.

We’ll let you know when the talks become available to view, but in the meantime you can watch the video below to get a feel for what happened at the first ever Enabled by Design-athon in Sydney. Enjoy!

You can also check out photos from Enabled by Design-athon: Sydney 2014 here.

Teams had just 24 hours to explore, design, develop and make their prototypes, which is no mean feat in itself, before showcasing their hard work at the event’s Show and Tell finale. Here we saw a whole range of thoughtful, inspired and entertaining presentations and demos, proving that good design can be accessible, attractive and easier for everyone to use. The standard of presentations and prototypes was extremely high, so well done and huge congrats to every team for putting in their all!!!

Here’s a quick recap of the 12 team projects:

The Pecunia (winner of the Judges’ Choice Award) – fan wallet system designed to make it easier to get access to your cash without fumbling. Pecunia means wallet in Latin and the practically ready-to-use prototype was awesome, I really want one!!!

Thermo Echo (winner of the People’s Choice Award) – infrared/heat sensor to help people with visual impairment pick up their (assistance) dog’s poo without having to worry about mishaps. The name was inspired by Echo the assistance dog who worked on this team.

AudiCue – wearable hearing technology that allows people to “tune in” to particular conversations while dampening unnecessary background noise

My Om – orientation app for people with visual impairment with wrist band/cane accessories that use haptic feedback to guide its wearer

Push It – bottle cap that can be opened one handed through a push rather than twist mechanism

Skillr – knowledge and skill sharing marketplace initially aimed at university communities, helping people to make new connections while learning new things, finding support etc

Memory Plus – memory app that uses sensory cues rather than standard text reminders, as well as gamification to help improve memory

Power Grip – ratchet system embedded in gloves to help improve grip on gym equipment etc

Follow Me Trolley – automated shopping trolley that follows its user around the store, so that it can be used handsfree

Screw Loose – gadget that opens screw top mechanisms by simply pushing down, removing the need to grip and twist with your wrist

On – simplified personal reminder system integrated into a wrist watch

Sound Safe – auditory modulation system for people living with Autism, so that they can filter out noise and focus on the task at hand

What an awesome two days and big thanks to Enabled by Design-athon: Sydney 2014’s excellent hosts Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), generous sponsors the New South Wales Government Department of Family and Community Services and UTS for providing such an awesome venue, as well as supporters 3D Printing Studios, BCG Digital Ventures, Commonwealth Bank, Management Consultancy International, Maui Jim and as always the UK’s sugru and FutureGov. And last but most definitely no means least, a very big thank you to each and every one of you who took part and got involved, for making such a memorable event possible!!!

Team EbD


PS. Next up we’re excited to be taking a modified one-day version of the Enabled by Design-athon called #HacktheHome to Calderdale Council in Halifax on 17th September, more news soon…