Assistive Labs
A social R&D / Design group developing low-cost hardware for the disabled in emerging markets.


We are a group of engineers, designers, product managers, international development professionals and seasoned social entrepreneurs, working to redesign hardware devices for people with disabilities in emerging markets to be low cost, durable and solar-powered so they can be implemented by NGOs and Foundations in the field. We already have partnered with Handicap International and several foundations in Colombia who have requested 120 units of our first device, which we are currently designing.

In summary, what is your “Made on Coboat” project idea (max. 3 sentences)?

Our first device is a solar-powered tool for people with communication disabilities, using NFC and audio-tags for a symbol and audio-based communication. It is loosely based on the "GoTalk" and "Logan Proxtalker" devices, but at a fraction of the cost. Handicap International expressed a desire to test 30 of them in Togo and 30 in Rwanda, and we have received requests for another 60 test devices in Colombia. We have several further devices planned for people with visual and hearing impairments.

How much of your project can you realistically achieve in 100 days if you will get the chance to stay on the Coboat?

We can finish the prototyping and pilot testing/ implementation of at least one device, as well as start our second device and fundraise for the first proper production run of the first device if proven successful in the field testing with Handicap International and the partnered foundations in Colombia.

Will you complete this project on your own, or will you be working with a together with a team?

with a team of remote colleagues around the world

Why should your project be chosen?

It has the potential for worldwide social impact for an extremely marginalized group (the 1 billion disabled in the world, of which many live in developing economies, most have not attended education and live in poverty).

What does this project mean to you?

We have a deep passion to help what might just well be the world's most marginalized and overlooked group - the 1 billion people living with disabilities. Research from UNESCO has shown that over 90% of this group did not complete/attend primary education and thus many of them are trapped in poverty, especially in emerging markets. This is an absolute shame and disgrace for a global society developing as fast as ours, with as much shared wealth and prosperity as we have managed to achieve.

Why do you want to do this project?

To help a global population few others are addressing or even acknowledging. To make a difference.

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