Tech4Good award winners  »

Recognising nine organisations and individuals who use digital technology to improve lives everywhere.

Voice recognition  »

For disabled people, this software has long been an invaluable tool for those unable to type, use a mouse, or write.

Woman using voice recognition system

Barrier free banking  »

Paul Smyth, accessibility head of Barclays, explains the bank's plan to be the most accessible big company in Britain using assistive technology.

Paul Smyth of Barclays
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Tech4Good award winners

This year’s Awards4Good winners include a low-cost Braille reader, an online service that supports disabled children and a dyslexic aid developed on a Raspberry Pi computer. 

Maggie Philbin OBE, for some years presenter of the Tomorrow’s World tech programme, was presented with a special award for her work in engaging teenagers with technology. 

“It is important to understand that technology isn’t to be made by or developed for a certain group of people. Technology is going to be better for everybody if you are completely inclusive,” said Philbin. 

The Tech4Good awards, run by disability charity AbilityNet, are in their seventh year and recognise organisations and individuals who use digital technology to improve lives. 

The winners are as follows:
AbilityNet Accessibility Award: Bristol Braille Technology 

Bristol Braille Technology is building a low-cost Braille e-reader called Canute, designed with and by the blind community. Canute is the world’s first multiple line Braille e-reader, forty characters per line by nine lines. A team led by Ed Rogers aims to sell Canute for £600 to £800, the price of an iPhone. This would make it 20 times cheaper than existing digital Braille devices. Bristol Braille Technology aims to have Canute on the market before spring 2018. 

BT Connected Society Award: Sky Badger 

Sky Badger is an online service that finds educational, medical, financial and social support for families with disabled children all over the UK. Over the last five years, Sky Badger has supported over 1.02 million disabled children and their families. With 981,958 visitors to its website and over 17,470 fans and followers on social media. 

BT Young Pioneer Award: Dyslexic Aid 

Year ten school pupils Kiera McKillop and Sinead McKeown from St Killian’s College, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, created the Dyslexic Aid, with a very limited budget, by using a Raspberry Pi computer. The Dyslexic Aid allows users to see, hear, write and say letters to aid learning. 

Ian Caveney, Senior Consultant in Sustainable Business at BT, said: “What impressed us about Dyslexic Aid is how it has brought technology to help support those with an existing difficulty in a new and innovative way. 

“At the same time, the work of Kiera and Sinead should inspire all young people, and those with dyslexia in particular. It truly shows what you can do with simple, but powerful technology. 

“We hope the recognition from this award will help them go on to take the Dyslexic Aid from prototype to marketable reality.” 

Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award: Praekelt.org 

In South Africa, Praekelt.org’s Maternal Health Platform connects more than a million pregnant women and new mothers to vital services and information through the National Department of Health’s MomConnect programme. 

Launched in 2014, so far it has sent out over 54 million messages to millions of women, with 95% of clinics in the country signed up to the service. 

Community Impact Award: Chatterbox 

Chatterbox is an online and in-person language tutoring service, delivered and developed by refugees. It brings together refugee talent with people and organisations that need people with excellent language skills. Since starting up in August 2016 they have supported more than 30 refugees with aspirations to rebuild their professional lives in the UK. 

Digital Health Award: Fizzyo 

Both of Vicky Coxhead’s sons have Cystic Fibrosis and because of this they have to do regular physio to keep infections at bay. She applied to feature on a a new BBC2 documentary asking for families with a problems to get in touch and was introduced to Haiyan Zhang, who volunteered to help. Haiyan works as Innovation Director at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. She enlisted the help of Creative Technologist Greg Saul to create a device that could take the boys’ breaths and turn them into controls for a videogame. Together, with Lee Stott at Microsoft UK, they organised hackathons where volunteer designers and engineers from across the UK came along to make new video game experiences for the Coxhead boys. 

Digital Skills Award: FabFarm 

FabFarm is a digital aquaponic farm that is designed, built and operated as a social enterprise by disabled students in Derry, N.Ireland. Developed by the Nerve Centre, FabLab, it uses new and emerging technologies to help empower, engage and inspire young people with special educational needs to develop new skills which are directly focused upon their employability in the digital marketplace. 

Tech Volunteer of the Year Award: Simon Cook 

Simon Cook started volunteering for Centra Group five years ago. Since then this digital champion has managed to set-up IT equipment in 52 sheltered housing schemes across London, and as far-a-field as Norfolk and Telford. 

His achievements are driven by his absolute determination and perseverance to use tech for good. In the beginning, it was difficult to get elderly residents involved in the IT projects, they were wary of him and the new technology. But, he has won them over and now runs a computer club four days a week that supports more than 30 people. 

People’s Award: C the Signs 

C the Signs, a decision support tool that enables GPs to see the early signs of cancer, was chosen as the winner of this award by the general public. The public were encouraged to read about each finalist and their entry on the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website and vote for their choice for the People’s Award by sending a tweet using a dedicated hashtag. 

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