Written by: Anne Servidad
Accessibility leading to independence through hackABILITY, a hackathon event that takes the ‘dis’ out of disability
Technology has changed the way we live our lives. With major advancements like self-driving cars, mobile payments, and even retail with the creation of Amazon Go, these solutions have made many day-to-day processes much simpler and efficient. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made a lot of these changes possible. IoT helps connect everyday objects in a single ecosystem to make its users life easier.
Solutions like these have the capacity to drive impact to those who need it most. So why not harness the power of IoT to change the lives of people with disabilities? The focus now should be using these advancements to change the quality of life for them and increasing their independence. The tools are available; it just takes a great idea and time to bring it to life.
“Think about how to connect technology in their daily living,” said Barry Munro, Chief Development Officer at the Canadian Spinal Research Organization. “It’s really all about understanding the needs of the people, and if what you’re providing is a short-term or long-term solution to their problem.”
Take Sam Schmidt, for example. The former Indy race car driver made 27 career starts, even winning at the Las Vegas Motor. Unfortunately, Sam crashed during a practice lap Speedway in Orlando severely injuring his spinal cord. The doctors diagnosed him as a quadriplegic.
(From left to right: Sam Schmidt, James Hinchcliffe, Barry Munro and, Chakib Loucif)
But thanks to the engineers of Arrow Electronics and to the IoT solutions that were available, Sam was able to drive again just by tilting his head. They built a Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) which restored his sense of independence and opened up new physical and emotional horizons.
Technology has the capability to change lives, especially through assistive devices. It’s why we’ve partnered with Arrow Electronics and ICUBE to promote the launch of hackABILITY. hackABILITY is a hackathon that showcases emerging tech opportunities specific to the area of assistive technology.
“hackABILITY takes the ‘dis’ out of disability. When you deal with people who have disabilities and you help them to be independent, it changes their situation forever—It empowers them,” said Sam Schmidt.
For more information, visit http://riccentre.ca/hackability/