Tech for Good: Disability Organisations to Watch
Just like Apple creates products with a particular consumer in mind, a number of tech-based social enterprises are focusing on people living with disabilities. From online platforms that help people find support workers who share their interests, to gadgets that help people complete everyday tasks, these seven (we just couldn’t narrow it to five) businesses are proving that creating technology to assist and empower people with disabilities is no longer a costly afterthought but a market in and of itself.
HireUp is an online platform for people with disabilities to find, hire and manage support workers who fit their needs and share their interests. Through the app, users can get help around the house; assistance with personal care; receive coaching to help achieve their goals at school, college or work; get therapy support; provide the means to get out, take a class or volunteer; source transportation; as well as arrange specialist support for more complex, personal requirements. The app has it all! So far, Hireup has facilitated over 900,000 hours of service and have saved users over $7.4 million dollars!
AbleFinder allows parents to connect with other parents to talk about their family disability experiences. It can often be difficult to have conversations with friends and family about your personal experiences, so connecting with others in similar situations can help expand support networks.
Assisted Outing is a Melbourne-based social enterprise startup which aims to lessen social isolation for people with needs. The online platform connects those with needs to assistants in their local communities. Instead of being priced by the hour, they are priced by the activity, and users can select different activities such as “Legoland Fun” and “Yarra Valley Day Hike and Lunch” on the platform, or request their own.
Clickability is a directory of disability support services that feature ratings and reviews from people who have actually used the services. Founded in 2014 by two passionate social workers, Clickability’s goal is to develop a cooperative and empowering Australia for people with a disability, supported by relevant, reliable services designed around consumer needs.
Aubot builds robots to assist people with disabilities in their everyday lives. This Melbourne-based startup builds tech products such as robotic arms that attach to wheelchairs, to telepresence robots that allow a more human-like communication over long distances. Aubot have launched products on TEDx stages and have won a series of highly regarded awards and fellowships such as the Myer Innovation Fellowship (2016). Melbourne-based founder Marita Cheng was also named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia in Science and Healthcare.
MDM is a a news, opinion, information and discussion website for people living with disability. Created by people living with disability. It is a place for members to have open discussions of disability issues, to meet others affected by disability from across the world and find peer support. MDM’s vision is to create an empowering and safe online community for those impacted by disability to meet, share, learn and discuss.
AbilityMate are working towards a future where custom-made products can be accessed affordably and timely by people with disabilities. They connects Makers & Designers to people who have disabilities, together they developed customised and open source assistive technology. Once developed they release the “blueprints” to cultivate global collaboration, transparency and continual innovation. By collaborating with people who have disabilities, their families, healthcare providers and mission driven organisations, AbilityMate ensure our products are human centred, clinically safe and fulfil the needs of our community.