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Innovation and impact honoured at Tech4Good Awards

A digital audio navigation system and a portable asthma management device are two of the winners in this year’s Tech4Good Awards, which recognises projects and individuals that are using technology to improve lives.

People honoured at the event included an IT volunteer who helped to set up a charity by establishing its ICT systems, and digital inclusion expert and campaigner Robin Christopherson.

Now in its sixth year, Tech4Good (organised by technology access charity AbilityNet) features ten categories, including awards for accessibility, digital health, community impact, digital skills, and a ‘people’s award’.

Winners at the 2016 event – announced at a ceremony in London – included Wayfindr, which received the AbilityNet Accessibility Award. Wayfindr is a set of tools for developing audio navigation systems on mobile devices, which help visually impaired people navigate the built environment.

Wayfindr CEO Umesh Pandya told e-Access Bulletin that the team were “truly honoured” to win: “It is an incredible recognition of our efforts supporting vision-impaired people to navigate the world independently. It is indicative of a move across the sector towards weaving accessibility into mainstream technology,” said Pandya.

(Read e-Access Bulletin’s interview with Wayfindr from issue 180, at the following link: ).

Other winning projects included Neighbourly (a platform to connect charities with businesses and people that can donate time or funds), BBC micro:bit (a pocket-sized programmable computer given out in schools to teach children coding and digital skills) and AsthmaPi (a portable, affordable device that helps children manage their asthma and prevent severe attacks by recognising triggers).

The AsthmaPi was built by nine-year-old Arnav Sharma, who won the ‘People’s Award’ and the ‘Winner of Winners’ Award chosen by the audience at the ceremony. Sharma told e-Access Bulletin that he was “very happy but also overwhelmed” to win. He said: “I am really thankful that I won these awards and for all the nice things everyone said.”

Individuals recognised at the Tech4Good Awards included Maureen Johnston, who won IT Volunteer of the Year. Johnston volunteers at The Silver Line, a free helpline for older people, and has helped the charity to grow by setting up a virtual call centre. This centre assists volunteers with speaking to older people who use the service.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, received a Tech4Good Special Award for his 20-plus years experience in promoting and advising on digital skills

Read more about the Tech4Good Awards at the event website: .


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