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About


Co-Creation Programs

AbilityMate started out running regular co-creation events at makerspaces, we call them Make-athons. Although we are very busy researching & developing 3D printed Orthotics we still love to get out into the community to invent stuff from time to time!

AbilityMate utilises co-creation as a tool to develop a unique blend of ideas for customised assistive products. Our co-creation programs emphasise empathy and listening. We help end users define their problems, assist with prototyping, designing and making. People with lived experience of a disability are the experts of their own experience and co-creation is surefire way to draw out a plethora of new and relevant product ideas.

When co-creation meets localised production incredible things happen! Localised production is a familiar concept within the maker movement  and DIY culture. It’s about small scale production and access to the means of production. We can run programs at AbilityMate’s home base, UNSW Michael Crouch Innovation Centre makerspace and we also have a mobile makerspace available for hire so we can bring the means to production to people who may not be able come to us. We have a bunch equipment including 3D printers, portable laser cutters, various hand tools and materials.  

If you think a program like this could have a positive impact on your community get in touch. We have a team of Facilitators, Industrial Designers, Programmers, Engineers and Technologist who can work together with people who have disabilities to invent bespoke assistive products! We also work with Allied Health Professionals to make sure the stuff invented doesn’t cause any secondary complications. We can run a 1 day Make-athon or deliver a longer program. Check out the videos below to see our co-creation events in action!

Featured Project: Hack-a-Home


Featured Project: Hack-a-Home


Featured Project: Hack a Home

Assistive Technology through co-design and location-based fabrication

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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!