Hand in hand

The Fabrikarium fulfills its promises 11-19-2019 |  4 minutes


In October, 30 employees of ArianeGroup, together with 25 volunteers from the “My Human Kit” association based in Rennes, got together at the Innovation Hangar at Les Mureaux to design, develop and produce equipment to make life easier for five disabled people. 

The fruit of three days of collaboration at the “Fabrikarium,” a pop-up workshop devoted to handicaps and innovation, was five superb prototypes.

Hervé Gilibert CTO of ArianeGroup

This Fabrikarium event produced results that exceeded our expectations, with an amazing demonstration of involvement, creativity and ingenuity by our engineers and technicians. They understood the difficulties of disabled people and were able to conceive and produce highly technical prototypes in just three days. The admiring expressions and sparkling eyes of all who attended the final presentation spoke volumes.”

Much like a hackathon, a Fabrikarium is a creating and digital prototyping workshop designed to accelerate the design, manufacture and technical documentation of equipment to assist for the disabled. The solutions that emerge are mainly simple and cheap to make. They can be reproduced easily because their specifications are freely available on an Open Source basis on the association’s web site. Anyone interested in reproducing an item can, using the on-line documentation, create or develop it in any fablab.

At the Fabrikarium, organised at Les Mureaux at the initiative of François Le Berre and Fanja Rabiazamaholy, five multidisciplinary teams of ArianeGroup employees and 25 “makers” (in the language of start-ups) from the My Human Kit association, got their heads together to work on five development projects for disabled people on the teams.

They worked for three days to provide solutions to difficulties that disabled people must face every day, and came up with five innovations:

​« Magic joystick »

A joystick adapted to all degrees of effort, allowing Jonathan, who has myopathy, to play video games with the joystick of his wheelchair. 

​« Déclic »

A computer mouse for the arm of Nicolas, an amputee, allowing him to draw on a screen.

« Wi-canne »

An electronic white stick that helps François, who is visually impaired, to detect obstacles around him, notably those at a height.

« Ariane roule »

A tricycle made from a recycled bicycle engine that helps Adamou, who has polio, to move around.

« Gantelet »

A glove that allows Solène, who has a malformed hand, to carry out daily tasks.

The teams discussed, tested and worked together to find solutions to the various problems. While many ideas were proposed, some had to be set aside as they were too ambitious, but others became prototypes thanks to techniques like 3D printing and welding.

After three days, the disabled people proudly presented the prototypes that met their special needs and explained how they functioned. Their presentations received a warm and emotional applause.

Nicolas Huchet Co-founder of the My Human Kit association

This Fabrikarium brings together the expertise of highly skilled engineers and the frugal creativity of the makers,”

For the ArianeGroup participants from the Les Mureaux, Vernon and Vert-le-Petit sites, being part of this project allowed them to stray outside their usual working environment, to experience a start-up atmosphere, to work as a team and to take part in a wonderful human adventure!

The objective was met: ArianeGroup employees were be immersed in a collaborative culture, experienced digital manufacturing, and were made more aware of the problems facing disabled people. This initiative was coherent with the concept of sustainable innovation, a main component of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

It was also designed to support our diversity management policy: disabled people are all stakeholders!
Philippe Pastor HRD of ArianeGroup

Mobilising employees for the Fabrikarium project is a federating event that allows us all to work towards changing perceptions about handicaps and to contribute to introducing and keeping disabled colleagues in the workplace.”

Gilles Fonblanc General Secretary of ArianeGroup

Bravo to Fabrikarium for illustrating perfectly a key element of our social responsibility strategy: encouraging sustainable innovation. The goal here is to create a virtuous circle, using all our innovative capacities to improve working conditions for all our colleagues.”