Makeathon inspires new assistive technologies

A weekend of intense focus on assistive technologies

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin speaks with engineer Dan Bacher of the BrainGate lab. The weekend “makeathon” gathered designers, engineers, computer scientists, and others from Brown, RISD, and elsewhere to advance the design of assistive technologies. Credit: Photos by Chris Bull/Brown University

People who are “locked in” by paralysis may have lots to say but no way to say it. Assistive communications devices can create a communications channel from the slightest remaining ability for expressing intent: the blink of an eye, the twitch of a muscle. New designs for assistive technologies was the whole point of a recent two-day “makeathon” at Brown University.