Past Meetup

Assistive Technology and the Maker Movement

This Meetup is past

8 people went


Jacob Lacourse is the father of a 2 year old who has Usher Syndrome, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. He is also an engineer who realized that he could use his skills and the tools available in the maker community to help create solutions for her and help others along the way as well. He founded Adapt the World Labs where he uses technology to creation solutions for people with special needs.

Here is a description from the Adapt the World website

"The BecDot is our flagship project and is an educational toy that will be used to introduce braille at an early age to children who are visually impaired or who have been diagnosed with conditions that will eventually cause blindness. The device incorporates four braille cells that spell out the words of physical objects. The objects incorporate programmed NFC tags attached to them.

The biggest challenge with the design was to create a device that was very low cost. We researched many of the Braille readers on the market and found that primarily these devices are very complex and as a result make them very expensive for the consumer. This is why not many devices are designed for children and most of the focus is on the older Braille reader, I mean who wants to give a 3 year old a $1000+ device. This is where after some trial and a lot of error we came up with a design which could enable us to bring the device to market for a very low cost, enabling families, care givers, and educators the ability to easily afford the device. The innovation comes in the actuators that are lifting the individual braille cells and one evening we designed a new concept that we are using in the device. Once we had that figured out and got the first prototype cell working, We immediately scaled it up to four cells which we thought was a good starting point for the age group we were targeting."