Solder On! Neovites Build Accessibility Aids for Makers Making Change

Dan Belhassen
Smiling man with short black hair in a black suit jacket.
min read

Neovation Learning Solutions believes that online content should be accessible to all learners and users. So the opportunity to participate in Makers Making Change, a Neil Squire Society program, was a natural fit. The Neil Squire Society is a Canadian organization that creates affordable assistive technology for people with disabilities. Enthusiastic participation was a no-brainer.

The Neovites’ first-ever Buildathon took place on March 26. Teams assembled accessible switches:

Two accessible swtiches: Short, cylindrical buttons, one with a green top, one with a yellow top.

These MMC60 Flexure switches can be used to control electronic devices and toys, such as an Xbox. These switches require very little force to activate. Together with its large surface area, the switch makes it easier to control technology devices and improves accessibility for users with little strength or limited motor control.

The parts could be printed using a 3D printer. An instructor guided team members through the first assembly, which required some soldering:

A screenshot showing the build of the accessible switches. In the top-right corner is the How-to step photo; in the top left is a man in goggles. The main screen shows a close-up of hands holding the small mechanical parts of a switch.

And the team was off! 

In addition to the soldering crew, Neovites who were not in "maker-mode" provided the Makers Making Change program with a different form of expert assistance — social media ad design and consultation — leveraging their skills where they could contribute the most. 

“Dan and the Neovation team have been and will continue to be incredible supporters of our work,” said Suzanne Winterflood, the Neil Squire Society’s regional coordinator in Winnipeg. “We simply couldn’t provide the devices we do to our community without incredible volunteers.”

After successfully building 13 switches, the team is excited about helping community members who will use them. And they’re even more excited about the next Buildathon in the fall!

Smiling man with short black hair in a black suit jacket.
Dan Belhassen

Dan, the founder of Neovation Learning Solutions, is obsessed with improving digital learning and training. A frequent and engaging speaker at eLearning events, Dan is sure to make learners and L&D professionals alike question long-held beliefs and stretch their thinking about how people learn and retain information.