Makeathon is a design competition usually aiming at pulling artists, engineers, designers and creators who are passionate about what they do. During the competition, designers assemble for a weekend full of innovative and creative activities.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with other partners have joined forces to develop affordable equipment that will assist persons with disabilities living in rural areas.
The traditional wheelchair, which has been used by disabled persons over the years, has undergone some modifications so that it can be friendlier to its users. Led by a team known as Aseem from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the innovation aims at improving the operation of the wheelchair as well as allowing users to hand cycle.
The team comprises of three designers namely Swotic, Ashin, and Vivek. In their developed add-on, the three basically want to have the traditional wheelchair transformed into a motorized outdoor equipment. This will see the manual wheelchair converted into a mobile device.
Enable Makeathon, the original design competition, involves developing affordable assistive devices for persons with disabilities living in rural areas. The Enable Makeathon event involved displaying and presentation of prototypes from 17 teams including that of Team Aseem. Held at the startup incubator in Koramangala, the forum involved some of finest innovators in the world. Investors from all over the world were also in attendance. The main goal was to help the disabled among us to live a normal life and do normal things such as going to work, playing as well as going to school.
Commenting on the upcoming event, ICRC chief innovation adviser, Tarun Sarwal says “We don’t have the products, we don’t have the different kind of assistive devices that people need in those areas to live normal lives. There are problems with daily living, there are problems with mobility; there are problems with us being able to service them at distance.” He adds that “This makeathon will help use innovative ideas to better the lives of the disabled” Although entries from about 150 teams were made, only 17 qualified to display their prototypes to the public and investors in the Enable makeathon event.
Ashin Mohan from Team Aseem explained how he always wanted to come up with an innovation that would improve the lives of disabled people. For him, it was a great experience watching an idea become a complete product.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is committed to supporting the disabled across the world. Currently, the organization is running rehabilitation programs for the disabled in at least 28 countries.
According to the ICRC, at least one billion people out of the world’s seven billion population are living with disabilities. These innovative plans by the ICRC are therefore aimed at harnessing skills and talents across the world in a makeathon. Inventors, designers as well as entrepreneurs can help by coming up with simple, but practical, affordable devices that will assist the disabled persons to live normal lives and be even more productive.
Borrowing from the “make in India” slogan, Enable Makeathon ensures innovation is at the center of India, where people are determined to transform the lives of others. This initiative seeks to play a significant role in building an inclusive world for every person.