Featured Project: Hack a Home

Assistive Technology through co-design and location-based fabrication


A collaborative research project delivered by AbilityMate, Northcott Innovation, Northcott and UTS.

What if….  We located a Makerspace at 3 Northcott Assisted Living Home's?

What if…. We filled a room with tools and equipment like 3D printers and people with the skills to use them?

What if…. When people disabilities came up with product ideas they had an easily accessible place they could co-create and bring those ideas to life?

What if…. We built the capacity of Northcott clients and staff, leading to a whole household of affluent design thinkers who could 3D design and operate 3D printers?!

Well… In essence thats what Hack-a-Home is all about!

The project kicked off on March 13th 2017 with a design and 3D printing training session at Northcott HQ. Over 6 weeks,  teams of  AbilityMate designers and makers were at 3 houses working with customers and staff designing solutions to everyday challenges. 
Northcott Innovation and UTS are conducting formal research approved by UTS HREC Committee. 

The aim of this research project is to answer the following questions: 

  • How does the level of independence in everyday activities and social and economic participation experienced by people with high / complex (disability) support needs change when provided with customised assistive technology devices created through 3D fabrication?
  • How are the retention rates and utilisation rates of assistive technology devices impacted on by customisation?
  • How does participation in person centred co-design practices impact on the experiences of people with high/complex disability support needs?
  • How does establishing 3D fabrication technology within the home environment of people with disability impact on rates of assistive technology utilisation and/or abandonment?

Hack-a-Home activities have now ended. The research element of this project continues. Stay tuned for finidings and read the blog post to see how it went!