What would you do if you were blind and you had to take the right medication bottle from the cabinet? What would happen if you were wrong? What if they had been labeled in Braille, so you could have told them apart?
For the 38 million blind people around the world, navigating even the most familiar of environments is a significant challenge. The 6dot Braille Labeler prints labels via a familiar user interface, embossing any combination of Braille characters. And it was designed with continual feedback from the blind community, to best help the people who truly need it.
"This sounds like just what I've wanted for over 25 years."
—-Gary (Muncie, IN)
The 6dot Braille Labeler exists only in prototype form at the moment, but we are receiving near-weekly emails from people who want to purchase a 6dot for themselves, their sister, their husband, or their friend.
We'd love to give them a positive answer as soon as possible, but full-scale manufacturing cannot happen without a significant initial capital cost. We have a detailed bill of materials for the 6dot, as well as a comprehensive business plan to ensure the viability of the project's future. With a $10,000 grant, we would produce a batch of beta prototypes to distribute to the blind people that need them.
Numbering around 80,000 in the United States, the Braille-literate market is small, so there's not much financial incentive for people to support Braille-related initiatives. And yet, something as simple as a Braille labeling device can make a significant difference in the day-to-day life of someone who is blind.
Braille labels in classrooms teach schoolchildren to read, on medication bottles they prevent serious health mistakes, and in the office they make the workplace more accessible. A small market shouldn't mean a forgotten market.
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Welcome to Nau's 2nd annual $10,000 Grant for Change.
After six weeks of open nominations, 124 nominees, an exciting voting period, support from hundreds of communities, interviews with our ten finalists, and much deliberation, we are excited to announce our second annual $10,000 Grant for Change Grantees:
Congratulations to Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney and their project Truck Farm.
All of the 124 nominees utilize design as a tool for positive change. Our nine Finalists bring specific aspects of design to the conversation table. Our Grantees bring design to your doorstep, and with it a humorous and edgy spin to the conversation around food.
Please, take a deeper look, and see what we are so excited about. We look forward to the upcoming year of storytelling, mobile farm movements and the urban agriculture conversation. We hope you will join the discussion.
Visit the ‘how it works' tab to learn more about this year's Grant for Change cycle. To view the other 114 nominees, click the ‘all nominees' tab.
We want to help launch the next big thing.
So who, or what, inspires us, as the current big thing?
Think Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design, a nonprofit made up of designers, architects, and builders engaging locally through partnerships with social service organizations, communities, and schools to improve the quality of life for the socially overlooked.
Think Kevin Farnham, David Lipkin and Christian Omania, founders and developers of TED.com, a web resource and conference itinerary devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED started with the goal of bringing together people from Technology, Entertainment and Design industries. It now gives millions of knowledge-seekers around the globe direct access to the world's greatest thinkers and teachers.
Think Dr. Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), an organization that manages over 350 engineering projects in over 45 developing countries around the world. EWB started in 2001 with a single trip to San Pablo, Belize, with the goal of bringing clean water to one community. Since then EWB has been harnessing the power of professional and student engineers to complete low-tech, high-impact projects in other developing countries.
Think Mark Gorton, Founder and Executive Director of OpenPlans, a social enterprise that builds software for forward-thinking civic agencies around the country, using an iterative, agile process, and nurturing the communities around the software. Their result is software as a public resource: technology that is widely available and that satisfies civic needs.
Think Eye Writer Project, an open source low-cost eye-tracking apparatus/software that allows paralyzed and handicapped artists to create art using only their eyes. Instigated and developed by Tony Quan, Evan Roth, Chris Sugrue, Zach Lieberman, Theo Watson and James Powderly, the Eye Writer re-defines the physical parameters of artistic movement.
Get the idea?
Here's how it works:
Step 1: Instigate change
The nomination platform was open from May 10th ‘til June 24th. We asked you to nominate your friends, or nominate yourself. You responded with gusto and we are wow'd by the results.
Step 2: Learn.
It's still an open process. Have a look at the other nominees. See what's happening across the country, or in your own back yard. Get inspired. Pass the stories on to your friends, so they can be inspired, too.
Step 3: Vote.
We wanted to know what you think. We asked you to vote for the nominee of your choice, and rally your people to do the same. You only got one vote but you could change your vote at any time, until July 6th.
Then we took the public's Top five, added them to our own Top five, et voila, we now have our top ten Finalists.
Step 4: Watch.
You gave us some time. The ten Finalists had a few weeks to tell us more about their work. As their stories rolled in, we passed them on to you.
Step 5: Hoo ha. (YOU ARE HERE)
We celebrate. Our grantees have been selected and we are going to throw a party in Portland for them in the fall. We hope you'll come.
Step 6: Track.
The G4C Grantee sticks with us for the next year. We become the soapbox, receiving updates on the effort, which we'll pass on to you via our newsletter, Off the Grid, and our blog, the Thought Kitchen.
Step 7: Restart.
Come this time next year, we'll do it again.
Why the Grant for Change? Why now? And why Nau?
Designing for positive change is at the core of who we are and what we do. Beauty, Performance and Sustainability are infused into every level of our product, our model for business, and how we interact with each other and the world.
With these elements we strive to be an effective agent for positive change, to inspire creative peers of all industries to design in a smarter, more sustainable way.
Beauty: A passion for the aesthetic in all things. We design for lasting beauty - product colors, details, and shapes are minimalist, modern, and timeless.
Performance: Meeting or exceeding an intended use. We design products that protect from the elements, and establish a visual tone that allows for multifaceted use - styles look as good on city streets as they perform well in the wild.
Sustainability: Balancing the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. We design for social, material, and aesthetic sustainability.
Every great movement begins with a voice. Given our driving vision for positive change; our ongoing conversation with a radical and inspiring collection of athletes, artists, and activists; and our position as a national brand with a nationwide reach, we can't help but want to crank up the voices that are calling for positive change, so they can call for that change with a little more boom.
We love our potent sliver of design friends and peers. They inspire us, collaborate with us, and challenge us to give our best. But we don't know every designer out there, and, more importantly, they don't always know about each other.
Acting as both a community organizer and a platform, we hope this year's Grant for Change will bring together the members of the design community who are working tirelessly, challenging assumptions about the way even the most basic things are done, using design to bring lasting, positive change to their communities.
Want to share the G4C with your community? Download any one of the following printables and help us spread the word.
We appreciate the publications, organizations, blogs and zines that help us spread the word about the Grant. As stories roll in, we will share them with you here.