Tech4Good Awards: AbilityNet looking for gadgets to help disabled

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From Bristol Braille comes Canute, the world’s first affordable multiline Braille e-reader, with 360 cells

Leading digital inclusion charity AbilityNet is on the hunt for inspiring tech projects for this year’s Tech4Good Awards. This includes the Tech4Good Accessibility Award, which recognises people using tech to transform the lives of disabled people. 

Past winners have included SpecialEffect and Lifelites, who make computer games accessible for disabled people and help children in hospices keep in touch with family and friends respectively. 

Lifelites provides tech equipment and support to children with life-limiting conditions in everyone of the UK’s children’s hospices and was the first ever winner of the Accessibility Award in 2011. Says CEO Simone Enefer-Doy:

“Winning the Accessibility Award was a pivotal moment for us. I realised that we weren’t just a start-up; here we were, being told by our peers that there was something very worthwhile about what we did. It’s helped us to sell our cause to potential funders and has helped us continue to grow and help more children and their families.”

Last year’s winner was Bristol Braille Technology, who have created an affordable Braille e-reader for blind people called Canute, designed with and by the blind community (see picture above). 

Says Ed Rogers, Bristol Braille:

“Winning the AbilityNet Tech4Good Award came after a long stretch of work to finish the latest Canute prototype. We certainly weren’t expecting to win but we’re very grateful for the recognition after so many years’ work.”

The AbilityNet Accessibility Award is one of eight categories open for entry as part of the 2018 Tech4Good Awards, organised by AbilityNet and sponsored by BT.

Now in its 8th year, the awards recognise organisations and individuals who create and use technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place. Other past winners include Open BionicsWayFindrBarclays Bank and LexAble  – all of them demonstrating creative ways that tech can change people’s lives.

Mark Walker, Head of Marketing & Communications at AbilityNet says:

‘Technology has become part of everyone’s life but it can be a real game changer for disabled people. It’s always amazing to see the entries for this Award because there is so much innovation happening across the country, and we want to see how it is being used to make a positive impact in the lives of people with disabilities.’

Entries are judged by an expert panel of judges who have worked across the technology, digital and charity sectors and have the unenviable job of narrowing down over 250 entries to just 28 finalists. 

So, if you or your team are working on something exciting that solves a problem for disabled people – be it the everyday mundane action, or the once in a lifetime experience – let AbilityNet know.

Entries close on 8 May – it’s free to enter and is open to any individual, business, charity, social enterprise or other public body with a base in the UK.  For more information and to enter, go to: www.tech4goodawards.com/enter-now/ 

Chris Price