Following on from James's hint that initiatives tend to work best when it's not just everyone yelling at the Foundation to do something, on the user software side I'd consider managing an effort to catalogue and maintain assistive/adaptive access solutions around the Raspberry Pi.
In assistive technology (technology to help people with disabilities, aka "AT") the Raspberry Pi is quietly taking over. If you were to go to the ATIA conference (it starts later this week in Florida) you'd see a bunch of products on the exhibition stands that have that very
distinctive USB and network port pattern that means there's a Raspberry Pi inside. This is refreshing, as there still a bunch of vendors selling 10 year old Atom tablets in a custom assistive enclosure and charging $20,000 just because they can.
Outside the commercial realm, there are neat projects like Ross Porter's Dementia Friendly Music Player
— using a Raspberry Pi to make a memory-loss friendly music player, which is now being used by UK charity Playlist for Life
. But it's not just the hardware: the hackability and longevity of Linux has allowed some really solid assistive/adaptive access software to be written. Without documentation, promotion and maintenance, however, this software might as well not exist. It's certainly not going to be found by the people who need it.
Though I'm by no means an expert in AT, I'm in a fairly lucky position:
- I work for one of the few charities that gets support to develop and promote low-cost open source makerspace-level assistive technologies;
- We also get national (in ) funding for providing tech support for assistive/adaptive modified computers.
It's a huge subject, and I know I can't give it all the time it needs, but it's worth a shot. Assistive tech helps everyone. It's like a curb cut/drop kerb/kerb ramp: what was designed to benefit vulnerable groups can often end up benefiting all of society.
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