Community Meeting Notes (Mar 21, 2018) - Introduction to Makers Making Change


Presenters: Stewart Russel

Makers Making Change is run by the Research and Development department of the Neil Squire Society; a Canadian National not-for-profit organization that uses technology, knowledge and passion to empower people with disabilities. Makers Making Change addresses issues faced by people with disabilities by utilizing the open source movement, the crowd sourcing movement, and the maker movement to create affordable, assistive technologies at the community level.

We build networks and community by hosting events to prototype and build new devices; providing a library of free, tested, open source assistive technologies; and hosting a community based “matching service” through our website where makers and people with disabilities can connect to work on projects collaboratively in their region.



Video Recording


  • Makers Making Change is an initiative out of the Neil Squire Society
  • Supported by the Google Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Government of Canada
  • 80% of people will need an assistive device in their lifetime
    • however due to high customization needs, they are produced in small quantity
  • Based in Burnaby
  • What they are hoping to do is to combine the energies of three different groups: Maker Movement, Crowdsourcing, Open Source
  • What is the Maker Movement?
    • Ability to have small workspaces/workshops where you can make fairly complicated devices

    • Bring in as many people together to produce, develop, extend, support these devices

  • What is the Open Source movement?
    • really valuable that you can take someones software, modify it for your own needs, and let other people use it
  • What is the Crowdsourcing movement?
    • Kickstarter, wikipedia, etc.
  • Open source assistive technology (OpenAT)
    • people identify their needs
    • you can very quickly iterate a design
    • can very quickly modify a design
    • 3D printing allows you to have a tangible object for something that was just a thought moments before
    • crowdsource build-a-thons, repair days, meet ups
  • They have a library of simple open source assistive devices that anyone can print

    • They are on Thingiverse

    • Encourage forking their designs and find 100 more different uses; revise, remodify, learn how to 3D design, etc.

  • They hold Buildathons where people help build or repair devices
  • Other crowdsourcing events

    • Meetup events: AT and build demos, and networking thing so people can learn what basic ATs they can make; can connect with any medical or academic people who want to come to these events

    • Makers meet the user and developers and let ideas flow from there

    • Connecting people of all abilities who need AT
  • Licenses for open source hardware is complicated; recommend CC Share Alike license