element14 Community Issues ‘Design for a Cause’ Challenge

element14.com, the community for engineers, has launched 'Design for a Cause', its latest challenge featuring the Arduino MKR1000 development board as the key building block in assistive technology for individuals living with physical or mental impairments. Design for a Cause underscores the commitment of Farnell element14, the Development Distributor, to make the world a better place through innovative technology projects.

As part of this, element14 is launching a 'Design for a Cause' initiative on the community site to provide a creative and supportive space for makers looking to build projects with a purpose. From an engineer looking to upgrade a friend’s wheelchair, to designers creating malaria-hunting robots or even an accessible games controller, designers and engineers can leverage the element14 community for support in bringing their projects to life.

For the 'Design for a Cause' challenge, element14 Community members’ projects are tasked with making daily tasks easier for individuals living with physical or mental difficulties. Challengers are encouraged to post their code and methods as Open-Source to help inspire others to build the same or similar designs on their own.

“Our element14 community is passionate about helping others, and with Design for a Cause, we’re proud to be able to give them the space they need to develop new technologies to improve the day-to-day lives of others,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community and Social Media for Premier Farnell and Farnell element14. “We’re excited to see how our makers leverage the Arduino MKR1000 development board to approach this challenge and create meaningful IoT projects that help individuals who need it most.”

Participants are provided with profiles of three individuals with physical or mental limitations including vision impairment, arthritis and loss of muscle function, who would benefit from assistance with everyday tasks. Challenge participants may choose to develop assistive technology for one of these three personas, or they can create a product to assist someone they know. Sample applications for the challenge could include:

• Open-Source Electric Wheelchair Conversion kit
• Smart Prosthetics
• Sense Replacement System
• Safer cooking options for people with sight impairments
• Mobility Aids
• Dexterity Aids
• Help with household appliances
• Proximity Detecting Canes
• Communication devices

Makers and engineers can apply to participate in the 'Design for a Cause' challenge now through to June 13. On June 22, up to 20 challengers will be chosen to build their projects using the Arduino MKR1000. Those challengers will have 11 weeks to build their projects, and develop 10 blog posts sharing their progress with the element14 community. Entries will be judged by a panel of judges from Arduino and the element14 community on originality, innovation and technical merit.

The first place winner in the Design for a Cause design challenge will receive $900 to their favourite charity, a FLUKE 279 FC/IFLEX Digital Multimeter and a Tinkerkit Braccio Robotic Arm DIY Kit. The Runner up will receive $500 to their favourite charity, a Tenma 72-8474 Oscilloscope and Microduino Quadcopter w/Joypad. Design for a Cause finishers will also receive a prize.