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From 19 to 21 October 2021, and for the third consecutive year, the makers of HumanLab My Human Kit spent a few days with 16 ArianeGroup employees to imagine and design technical solutions to the problems encountered by some of their disabled members. After Les Mureaux and Rennes, ArianeGroup hosted the Fabrikarium at its Le Haillan site near Bordeaux.
During the hackathon-style event, My Human Kit members developed four different prototypes thanks to the expertise of the ArianeGroup teams. Two of these had been initiated during previous events and were finalized this year:
- Read for Me, an autonomous machine for the visually impaired that is capable of scanning an A4 page and reading it by means of voice synthesis,
- Magic Control, an on-board computer for an electric wheelchair to control an individual’s surroundings (includes wheelchair, phone, computer, and home automation functions).
This third Fabrikarium event was also the opportunity to prototype two new solutions:
- Bionicohand: a USB-rechargeable thumb rotation system for a prosthetic hand. This solution is part of a larger-scope project: open-source myoelectric prosthetic hands are of particular interest to countries that lack socialised healthcare systems.
- Trotti clip: a quick-fit system to attach a motorized wheel to a manual wheelchair with no help required. It is a promising prototype: 30 project developers are already interested in reproducing the device once it has been completed.
Following these developments, the association – which includes professionals, volunteers, researchers and students – made instruction manuals and prototype reproduction drawings freely available in open source. This desire for free access lies at the heart of the inclusive and social approach adopted by My Human Kit and ArianeGroup. Fabrikarium is much more than just amical collaboration. Although all prototypes are currently being utilised, the scope of certain solutions goes well beyond their sole user.
For example, take the ArianeRoule electric tricycle prototype: its engine controller has helped to design a wide range of technical mobility aids, which are currently being used by twenty or so people.
Wecanne, an electric cane, is another successful device. It is currently being tested for use in centres for the blind.
Another project, Exofinger, a powered exoskeleton for easier keyboard typing, has given rise to a partnership between INRIA (French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) and the My Human Kit HumanLab network.
@ArianeGroup and @MyHumanKit – Fabrikarium 2021
See pictures of the 2020 Fabrikarium in Rennes: