Tech for Good: Sharing winning projects from the Build2gether Inclusive Innovation Challenge

 The Build2gether Inclusive Innovation Challenge, hosted by Europe's top university ETH Zurich and organised by the world-renowned hardware community, recently concluded. The competition, in collaboration with partners M5Stack, Google, Blues, PCBWay and Useful Sensors, offered a total prize pool of $40,000.

This global competition aimed to encourage people to use innovative technology to help individuals with physical disabilities overcome challenges in their daily lives and build a more inclusive and equitable future. The competition received a total of 194 submissions, with many participants choosing M5Stack products. In this blog post, we have selected some of the award-winning projects to explore the development stories behind them!

 1.Haptic Vision Assist

This project uses M5Stack's controllers and sensors to provide simple, cost-effective and efficient obstacle warnings using infrared laser and haptic technology to visually impaired users to aid their mobility.

The author, Colonel Panic, witnessed the daily challenges faced by visually impaired people while living with his fiancée and her son, both of whom have inherited Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease. Motivated to help improve the lives of visually impaired people, Colonel Panic learned to use M5Stack products and UIFlow within a year. To quickly become proficient in the use of M5Stack, he challenged himself to create a prototype for a new idea every day.

Project link:


2. Wall Early Warning System for Swimming Laps

This project uses Bluetooth beacon technology to warn visually impaired users when approaching the pool wall, preventing accidental collisions due to poor visibility while swimming.

Have you ever hit a wall while swimming? What about doing the backstroke? Ouch! Now imagine having poor eyesight; everything becomes even more challenging! Inspired by personal experience and discussions with disabled mentors after joining a competitive group, author David Barrett came up with the idea for this project.

Project link:

 3.Intercom and Smart Controller Mounted on Wheelchair and Roll

This project allows people who use wheelchairs or walkers to receive real-time doorbell notifications via Telegram, see who is at the door, and remotely control door access.

Imagine hearing the doorbell ring and feeling nervous. You might even rush to open the door. These actions may seem simple for able-bodied people, but they are inconvenient for people who use wheelchairs. This project effectively addresses this pain point.

Project link:

 4. Motion Controller for People with Limited Arm Function

This project focuses on developing a motion controller for gaming purposes specifically designed for individuals with limited arm function due to conditions such as muscular dystrophy. For PC gamers, the mouse is a crucial peripheral device. However, mice require a flat surface to function properly and demand users to sit in front of a desk, constantly extending their arms, which can be challenging for some individuals with disabilities.

Therefore, Yahya Khalid created a simple controller using the compact AtomS3, which can effectively replace a mouse. With this device, users can adjust sensitivity to meet their specific needs, and hand position or orientation is not limited, accommodating individuals with restricted hand movements.

Project link:

 5. Cracked road detection for better travel

This project can help people who use wheelchairs to be aware of road potholes in advance to avoid accidental falls while travelling.

One of the challenges faced by wheelchair users is encountering cracked roads, where if the user is not concentrating, they could fall into a pothole and potentially injure themselves. Hendra Kusumah aims to create a solution that is easy to build and program, requires no soldering, and costs less than $50.

Project link:

6. Cheza Pona

This project is an innovative gaming platform that redefines inclusive skill development, specifically designed for people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Cheza Pona provides dynamic and adaptive gaming experiences.

According to a 2017 study by the World Health Organization, only 1 in 10 people with disabilities in low-income countries have access to the assistive technology they need. In response to this challenge, Ryan Kiprotich and Mergery Wanjiru proposed a solution called Cheza Pona, which means "play better" in Swahili. They transformed the typically monotonous physical therapy into an enjoyable gaming experience. Using the low-cost M5StickC, they created a game where players can use the built-in inertial measurement unit sensor to move sideways and avoid blocks in the game to score points.

Project link:

7. Move-It!

This project turns M5StickC int to an IMU-based gaming device - a small wearable device whose movement can provide input to games.

The project was mainly aimed at developing something small which can help people with Muscular Dystrophy play games without over-exerting and tiring out faster. I won the M5Stack Gift card and ordered the M5StickC and a mini dual button unit. The idea was to use IMU input from the M5StickC as serial data and process it as keyboard input.

Project link:



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