News | 30 October 2015

Disability in the 21st Century

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21 Century disability innovation

A 3D printed wheelchair controller, designed by you, in your own home? No worries! Whole wheelchair? Stay tuned….

AbilityMate, a self-described “group of friends who make stuff” have been crowned the first ever NDIS New World Pitch winners.

In an Australian first, start up companies from around Australia were given just one minute to pitch their new digital ideas in a competition to find innovations that will revolutionise the lives of people with disability.

Seven digital start-ups were shortlisted for the prize – with the team from AbilityMate crowned winners at the NDIS New World Conference in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

AbilityMate’s founder, Johan du Plessus, says he was inspired by a group of volunteers who created an open sourced prosthetic hand that could be 3D printed – 100 times cheaper than the standard prosthetic.

Since then, AbilityMate has brought people with disability together with gadget makers from around the world to create 3D printable assistive devices such as electric wheelchair controllers and Blue Tooth adapters at a 10th of a price.

They are gearing up to take it further – with an online platform that allows anyone with a disability to design the equipment they need at an affordable price.

AbiityMate not only won the panellist’s vote, they won the People’s Choice Award as well. Watch their pitch here.

The other shortlisted finalists were:

  • Clickability – the TripAdvisor of disability support. Winner of the NDIS Innovation Award Australia Post Boost Award.
  • CareMonkey – a one-stop-shop that stores all your permission forms, medical details and annoying paperwork in one handy secure place on your smart phone or tablet. No paper clips required.
  • HireUP – an online platform that gives Australians with disability the power to choose their own support workers and manage their own care.
  • In Charge – webinars and online programs, forums and discussions connecting people with disability and allowing them to share their stories, wherever they live.
  • Pnyx – badged as the “collaboration platform of the future”. Share calendars, case notes and other useful care information and store it in the clouds.
  • Sound Scouts – hearing tests disguised as fun.

The panellists have made their decision. You can watch all the video pitches here and decide for yourself which ideas you think will most change the world for people with disability.

Congratulations everyone!

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