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With assistive devices expected to be worth $1 billion by 2020, the Queensland Government is looking to put our makers and manufacturers on the fast track to being involved in this exciting industry.

The Assistive Devices Hackathons will be two-and-a-half-day intensive making marathons held in Mackay, Toowoomba and Townsville between July and August 2017. People with a disability - and a well-identified need - will work with a team of makers, mentored by a manufacturing industry expert, to develop a prototype that meets their needs.

What is a maker?

Makers are a blend of DIY enthusiasts and hacking culture that focuses on creating new devices and tinkering with old ones. Makers involved in the Assistive Devices Hackathons will be teams of high-tech enthusiasts who may have experience in:

  • design
  • coding
  • occupational therapy
  • engineering
  • fabrication
  • manufacturing

Judges at each event will decide which prototype best meets the needs of the identified challenge and has commercial potential. The winning team will receive support to further develop their product, with a view to potential commercialisation.

The Assistive Devices Hackathons will:

  • raise awareness amongst Queensland manufacturers about emerging opportunities in the area of assistive technology
  • support collaboration between educational facilities (such as universities and TAFEs) and established businesses
  • connect manufacturers with young talent in maker spaces, universities and TAFEs
  • provide mentoring to makers and students and provide a connection to encourage them to consider career opportunities in manufacturing
  • demonstrate the hackathon process to industry as a way of developing products for emerging markets
  • facilitate the rapid prototyping of devices that may be considered for further development and commercialisation.

The hackathons will be held at venues that offer teams a making space and workshop with tools and equipment for welding, 3D-printing, sewing, soldering, cutting, woodwork, etc.

Mentors will circulate among activities in their designated hackathon, providing guidance and facilitating an exchange of ideas.

Prior to the hackathons, there will be two pre-event workshops at which teams will be briefed on the conventions of the hackathons; participants with a disability will explain their challenge; and teams will begin defining projects, taking into consideration time and resources available during their hackathon.

Key dates and times

  • Mackay Hackathon 21–23rd July
  • Toowoomba Hackathon 4–6th August
  • Townsville Hackathon 18–20th August

Each hackathon is held over a three-day weekend

  • Friday 12 pm–9 pm
  • Saturday 7 am–9 pm
  • Sunday 7 am–4.30 pm

These times indicate when the workshop will be open to teams. Teams should commit to attend both pre-event workshops and the hackathon event.

Visit the Assistive Devices Hackathons website for further information and to submit your team.