Camera Libera Tutti from the FabLab of Parma in collaboration with Hackability, and SwimAble from E-nable Italia (Italian association for children and families with agenesis, amputation and limb malformations and Energy Family Project) are the winners of the sixth edition of Make to Care, the contest promoted by Sanofi to support the development of innovative solutions that meet the needs of people with disabilities and their caregivers. The winners, who will leave for a training experience in Israel, the Mediterranean startup nation, were announced during an evening held last week: two weeks after the three-day Maker Faire Rome 2021.
Launched in 2016 in collaboration with Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition, the contest aims to celebrate the figure of the patient-innovator and bring the world of patients closer to that of makers, stimulating the co-creation of solutions capable of improving the daily lives of people with disabilities and their caregivers.
Then, thanks to the technical-scientific partnership with Polifactory and the support of Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, since 2018 Make to Care is also a permanent research project on open-innovation and digital manufacturing in healthcare.
The jury (made up of representatives of institutions, doctors, researchers and opinion leaders from the world of innovation and science) selected the two winners from the six finalist projects chosen through a vote on Instagram open to all, with over 3,600 votes.
Receiving the award were Daniele Khalousi for Camera Libera Tutti and Alberto Navatta and Piera Losciale for SwimAble. In line with the values that inspire Make To Care, the winners proposed innovative solutions that meet the real needs of people with disabilities.
Camera Libera Tutti is a project that stems from the need to overcome the lack of sufficiently inclusive tourist facilities. For this reason, a design team worked on the development of furniture solutions, devices and systems to make accommodation facilities more accessible to people with disabilities and at the same time have an attractive design to improve the facilities, also aesthetically. The result was the design of a Welcome Kit made up of ten indispensable objects which, although apparently simple, significantly increase the quality of the stay, breaking down the differences between accommodation reserved for people with disabilities and those intended for normal tourists.
SwimAble is an upper limb aid for children who are starting out in water sports and have an upper limb amputation below the elbow (transradial amputation). Its main objective is to encourage motor activities in water aimed at preserving residual muscle function. The designed aid responds to the physical and engineering characteristics necessary for buoyancy, but is fully integrated into the user’s outfit. In fact, it looks like a one-shoulder garment that fits perfectly into the swimming costume, also thanks to the choice of colours and materials. SwimAble is in fact made of Lycra, a fibre usually used in the manufacture of common swimming costumes. Easily worn by the child itself, this aid becomes part of normal swimming pool clothing.
The winners will have, in 2022, the opportunity to leave for a training trip to Israel, the true home of startups. A programme full of meetings organised by the Israeli Embassy in Italy (which has been sponsoring the Contest since 2019) and aimed at acquiring knowledge and contacts useful for the further development of the projects. The winners of this edition will be joined by the winners of the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Contest who, due to the Covid-19 epidemic and the restrictions on inter-state travel in recent months, were unable to leave. In spring 2022, therefore, in addition to Camera Libera Tutti and SwimAble, the creators of the CapisciAME and Sedia Intelligente projects, winners of the 2020 contest, and Tourist Eyes and LETIsmart Luce e Voce, winners in 2019, will also take part in the training experience.
Three special mentions
Three special mentions were also awarded by Sanofi for this edition: the first two to projects designed to simplify the management of personal hygiene for people with disabilities, in autonomy and independence. The NoLimits project by Alessandro Fugazzotto includes the universal toilet lift “For All” and the new sanitary toilet with side openings, an epoch-making change since the so-called toilet for the disabled was born fifty years ago (both products are made by Ponte Giulio Spa). The Show-chair project by Giulio Riccio, a patented shower chair designed to make life easier for elderly people or people with reduced mobility, without the need to renovate the bathroom. The third special mention went to the President of the Jury, Fabio Gorrasi, a father, “maker for love” and the first inspirer of the Make to Care initiative. Fabio has a little girl with SMA, spinal muscular atrophy, a rare neurodegenerative disease. She needed a brace to walk, but the ones available on the market or previously made did not work for her. By studying the movements of the joints and after several attempts, Fabio designed and then produced, in collaboration with the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, a new brace, which combines flexibility and strength.
The sixth edition
Now in its sixth year, Make to Care has collected around 500 projects over the years, including 50 finalists and 10 winners, enhancing and developing an ecosystem around which research centres, healthcare facilities, innovators, investors, carers and patients gravitate. The common objective is to promote solutions and initiatives aimed at providing practical support for people with disabilities and their carers in their daily lives, with the aim of improving their quality of life and promoting their inclusion in society.
Make to Care is a unique project that over the years has brought together many innovative solutions to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
We strongly believe in the open innovation model and in the ability to bring together different players to build an increasingly inclusive and accessible ‘health system’. I hope that Make to Care can continue to grow and expand this virtuous network of partnerships by continuing to foster the development of innovative ideas/projects and supporting the country’s path to innovation, in collaboration with the world of institutions and research (Marcello Cattani, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi Italy)
cover photo: facebook/maketocare
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