Internet of Meaningful Things: Assistive Tech IoT

Saad Chinoy

Making IoT meaningful looking at the needs of persons with disabilities as a way forward. All the shiny new tech in the so called "metaverse" is meaningless without users and usability isn't it? Lets get hands-on with critical making, lets make an assistive device.
Hands On

We discuss the possibilities and limitations of 3D printed assistive objects while engaging in the literal hands-on activity of assembling an open-source 3D printed prosthesis hand (e-nable Phoenix Hand) that participants can take back with them. 

Adopting the Critical Making methodology to address the needs of persons with disabilities introduces a meaningful application of tech, in particular 3D printing. As we've learned from the Maker response to PPE shortages, distributed manufacturing is at the forefront of discussion for building sustainability and resilience into processes. With this renewed interest and a Critical Making perspective applied to 3D printing and related makerspace tech and tools, the cost and complexity of making custom one-off products is significantly reduced. Having worked with Persons with Disabilities in Singapore, we've learned that the benefits of a custom-made object far exceed its cost and utility. Personalisation, customisation, and other forms of creative self expression incorporated into the 3D printed or similarly crafted object when designed to address a PwDs need is not only useful but attracts positive attention, in spite of the stigmatisation traditional prosthesis users face. 

When you make your own device, you make it your own.

In this workshop we look at various examples of "tech for good" and frugal innovation in this context and take the time to learn about materials, design, tools, and skills needed to assemble the opensource PhoenixHand design and point to the e-nable global community of makers, users, and contributors.

Our aim is to better understand the needs of persons with disabilities and their caregivers through the act of making and prototyping.