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Stateside LipSync Buildathons

We hadn’t done a Buildathon in the United States yet. So why not do two of them on the same day in opposite ends of the country? That’s what we did on June 18th 2017, as part of the Nation of MakersWeek of Making, with Buildathons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Seattle, Washington.

It was fantastic.

Seeing that both Buildathons fell on Father’s Day, it was only fitting that we had a father-daughter team. Scott, our friend from Comcast who built one on his own initiative, pictured with his daughter.
Rows of coloured LipSyncs. We’ve typically done red LipSyncs, but while we’re trying new things, why not switch it up with the colours.

In Philadelphia, where we partnered with NextFab (who hosted us at their Philadelphia location), we got to say hi (and build LipSyncs) with a few old friends. Scott from Comcast brought along his daughter, and they built a LipSync.

As well, a few of the people who we had dropped off LipSyncs with last time actually built one themselves. Charles, from Inglis House, and Russ, from the Institute of Disabilities at Temple University, both got to build a LipSync and take them home. It was great not only to give them a LipSync, but show them how they can make it themselves.

“[Chad Leaman], Ivan and the rest of the team did a phenomenal job putting together the Buildathon this past weekend,” Russ, who received four LipSyncs for the Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology, wrote us in an email. “The LipSyncs produced will, no doubt, be put to good use in our Statewide AT lending library.”

Russ shaking hands with Chad Leaman, Director of Development, holding his certificate of completion. (Thanks to Marcella Barker of NextFab, who took this and the following photos of the Philadelphia Buildathon).
Charles soldering together his circuit board
A group photo of the Philadelphia Makers

In Seattle, at the SoDo MakerSpace , we also had a great time. In all, we ended the weekend with 21 LipSyncs built.

The makers at the SoDo MakerSpace hard at work
A group photo of the Seattle makers

Buildathons weren’t the only thing we were doing in the States. Our Executive Director, Gary Birch, was in Washington DC, as a panelist at the M-Enabling Summit. In addition to talking to a large audience of influential persons and industry leaders about the LipSync and Makers Making Change, Birch also met some important contacts – he paid a visit to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, and met with John Anschutz, the manager of the Assistive Technology Center at the Shepherd Center, one of the best rehabilitation hospitals in the world. He gave them both LipSyncs.

Gary Birch demonstrating the LipSync to John Anschutz, the manager of the Assistive Technology Center at the Shepherd Center.

Our travels are not over. We’re at the 2017 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists conference right now. With the success of the American one in Philadelphia — the connections we made were why we were there on Sunday — we hope to find the same in Charlottetown, PEI. We’ll meet with occupational therapists from all over Canada, as well as some local makerspaces, and give out a few LipSyncs.