Once again we're looking for the tech ideas that are making the world a better place as entries are open for AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018. Take a look at the feedbcak from our launche event below - or head over to the Tech4Good Awards website to submit your entry now.
Amazing tech is changing lives
What Simone Enefer-Doy, CEO of Lifelites and winner of AbilityNet’s first ever Tech4Good Award can offer terminally-ill and disabled children through technology is wonder, connection and joy. The CEO and her team have always made the most of technology to offer better lives for children and their families. But she says a recent tech development has taken things to a new level.
“Eye gaze changed everything,” she says of the tech which enables people to communicate with their computer and other people just by using their eyes (see photo above).
"In Kent, there are two brothers who’ve been able to communicate for the first time and play games together using eye gaze tech (a version called myGaze). It has given the boy (who is unable to use his body) a connection to his family; the family has suddenly become a unit."
The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards offer new opportunities to winners and finalists
“Before winning the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards Accessibility Award in 2011,” says Simone Enefer-Doy, “I felt we were in a silo trying to deliver projects. But Tech4Good gave us the confidence to say to our peers that what we do is great, and 'please support us'. We were given incredible opportunities for networking and learnings around potential future development.”
Each year, AbilityNet champions some of the brightest ideas such as this at the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards, supported by BT.
Last week, some of the leading lights in this fast-evolving world, including Simone Enefer-Doy, were at the launch of the 2018 Awards at the BT Tower in London. We glimpsed what the future might hold in the #tech4good space in an age of 5G and AI (artificial intelligence).
From the eleven year old with Tourettes Syndrome (Femi Owolade-Coombes, pictured right) who teaches coding skills to disadvantaged children - helping support future job prospects, to the two doctors working worldwide to identify cancer at much earlier stages using AI (C the Signs), to What3Words helping disaster relief teams pinpoint exact locations to within three square meters using encoded GPS coordinates - former winners and finalists really are changing the world.
Last year, finalists together received more than 35,000 votes on Twitter for the People's Award which is chosen by the public. In the eighth year of the Awards, we hope for even more votes. For our finalists, who’ll be announced on 12 June, this is a great opportunity for recognition and wider support.
It's not the tech, it's how you use it
“We’re not looking for the most state of the art technology out there,” says Mark Walker, who organises the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards. “We’re looking to see how people use technology to do something exceptional.” His AbilityNet colleague, Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion commented: “People are awakening to the value of diversity. Tech is the single most empowering or enabling factor in society at the moment.”
There were clear signs and conversations pointing to a real drive to use technology positively and more effectively in society.
Hector Minto, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, highlighted the fact that in the regular technology hacks held by Microsoft, projects focusing on disability and accessibility have moved from “being in their tens to their hundreds” in recent times.
The event wrapped up with a comment from Adam Freeman, Managing Director of Freeformers, who encapsulated what the awards stand for. “We’ve (society) moved from an age of working with our hands to working with our head, and we are moving to work with our hearts, using technology. It’s about who you are and how you work with others, and technology can offer tools that help.”
Freeman's organisation has trained more than 50,000 corporate employees and more than 4,000 young people to adapt to a digital economy.
Also giving his thoughts on a changing digital economy, panellist and young tech entrepreneur Ben Towers, whose in the stages of setting up a new app to help people achieve their health goal, told delegates: “We live at a time when there are all sort of things happening in the world, and young people have more access to it - we see the effects of war. Young people want to take action, they’re thinking 'how can I solve this?'."
Do you have a tech venture which is changing society for the better? You can enter on the Tech4Good website now:
Nominations close on Tuesday 8 May 2018.
Find out more about the 2018 AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards.