"At the HACKademy there are interesting cases, nice people and good input from experienced coaches. I would take part again at any time!"

Nadia, HACKademy participant

At the Open Health HACKademy, interdisciplinary teams with students from different disciplines, people with disabilities and Makers jointly develop open-source hardware solutions, so-called Careables. Because many people with disabilities lack the tools they need to live and work.

The development teams are accompanied and supported by experienced coaches from the fields of electronic prototyping, coding, digital fabrication and design thinking.More Information and Registration for the next Open Health HACKademy can be found here:



The event is organized as part of the projects Match My Maker (www.matchmymaker.de) and Careables (www.careables.org) by the non-profit organizations be able e.V. and Prototypes / Agile Heap e.V. in cooperation with the Wissenschaftsladen e.V. and the D.School / Hasso Plattner Institute Potsdam.



Our Cases/Design Challenges of the last HACKademy

Case - Footbike - with Sven Kocar

Sven describes himself as an optimistic realist and one of his bigger dreams is to ride a bicycle. He used to ride one in kindergarden. However that was a slightly ugly disability bike. He thought far from optimal. That's why he wants to ride a recumbent bike. For this he needs a few disability-related adjustments. The biggest challenge is to make it possible to brake with your feet. Because of his spasticity Sven does a lot with his feet - e.g. eat and take pictures. Spasticity comes along with a damage in the central nervous system, which leads to an impaired fine-tuning between muscle tension and muscle relaxation. Sven for instance has more fine motor skills in his feet than in his hands. Normally, he is around in his hometown Berlin with his red wheelchair as an independent inclusion consultant and foot photographer. Now he would like to have the additional opportunity to ride a bicycle in favor of his fitness and health. I you want to learn more about Sven here is his website.

Case - E-Scooter for wheelchair users - with Adina Hermann

Adina loves traveling. Together with her husband Timo, she enjoys exploring the world and sharing her travel adventures with a wheelchair on her blog www.mobilista.eu During a walk with her brother-in-law, who is also a wheelchair user, the new e-scooter trend has made them curious: What if you could use the practical little car as an additional drive for the wheelchair? You would be much more mobile, free and could easily get additional power as needed. Also the fun factor seemed tempting. The idea was born! Through her work as a graphic designer at social heroes e.V., she knows that such projects are: "Just do it!" Thus, Adina would like to develop a solution within the framework of the HACKademy with resourceful inventors to secure wheelchairs on the e-scooter and thus make a fun and safe journey possible.

Case - Hack my wheelchair joystick - with Jonas Morgenroth

Jonas is an engineer who tackles challenges with entrepreneurial spirit, pragmatism and curiosity. Since earliest childhood he drives a power wheelchair. However, he is not only interested in wheelchair issues from the user's point of view, but also from a developer's point of view. As part of the HACKademy Jonas wants to specifically deal with wheelchair controls. He wonders why they are so unergonomic and rigid, and whether they can not be modified to fit the requirements of different hands and uses. Jonas wants a joystick that can be operated intuitively and blindly when needed (for example under tables). The starting point is a joystick similar to a gamepad. With more buttons in different positions, an ergonomic handle and a holder that offers more flexibility.


Call for Cases/Design challenges

If you have an inclusive design challenge that could be tackeled in the next HACKademy email us your ideas to Hackademy@be-able.info

Cases from the first Hackademy

The first Open Health HACKademy took place in FabLab machBar Potsdam from 1st. to 17.th of March 2019.

Case "Eisbrecher"

Thomas, 29 years old, studies interface design, is deaf from birth and therefore German Sign Language is his native language. He likes to live in the deaf world, but he also seeks to exchange with hearing people, for example, when he wants to attend network events, to get to know people and to get ahead professionally. These are challenges for him, because smalltalks cost him overcoming a barrier of verbal speechlessness. In order to address others, he shows typed text on his smartphone and relies on the other side communicating as well. It eliminates eye contact and tapping messages requires more concentration than speaking or gesturing. Unfortunately for many listeners, this type of communication is too unusual and exhausting. He wishes to address this everyday challenge in the HACKademy and also wants to make it a topic of his BA-work. The Goal is to develop an "interface and Hardware design for the overcoming of threshold fears between deaf and hearing people". A"cool" object that acts as an icebreaker between deaf and hearing people and helps in a pleasant way to exchange and keep eye contact.

Case "Belly Button"

Laura is 21 years old and lives with personal assistance. She herself is the employer and thus responsible for the training of her employees. Laura is supported by a direct access to the stomach (Button). This "button" is a kind of connection valve for an artificial nutrition system and needs to be changed regularly. This is not such a big deal, but many, especially new employees still have respect of it. Understandable! Together with Laura we would like to develop a dummy on which the personal assistants can learn and practice changing the button.

Case "Reading out loud"

Rosemaria is 83 years old and still very active despite her advanced age. She was diagnosed with macular degeneration at the age of 74 years. In this disease, which often develops in old age, the field of vision of the affected person and thus the ability to read is reduced. Reading, especially letters from doctors or authorities, are a major challenge for them. Special reading aids, are associated with high acquisition costs. Therefore, her grandson Kai began with the development of a reader that Rosemaria should support in everyday life as part of his computer science studies years ago. The aim now is to develop an aid that should be both cost-saving and easy to use for the elderly. In addition, it should be developed as an open hardware product to be available to other people in similar situations.

Case "LazyEye"

Many people (around 400 million) only use one eye at a time. The eye that isn’t being used falls to one side - which is commonly called “Lazy Eye”. This robs them of depth perception, and often a certain amount of self-esteem among other issues. This is a neurological issue. Normally our brains learn to fuse the input from each separate eye into a single mental image when we are babies. If the baby’s brain received signals from each eye that were so different it couldn’t correctly fuse them (e.g. one eye being much stronger/weaker than the other) the brain suppresses one eye. Ben Senior, the Case Provider is an inventor, problem solver and general asker of awkward questions. His background is computer science, interdisciplinary research, software engineering and construction. His son has a "Lazy Eye" and so Ben has started developing a training program for Lazy Eyes. The software is already quite far. To use them you need a VR headset with 4 cameras. We want to develop an ergonomic, inexpensive DIY kit for VR that allows people who have solved the basic physical problem, such as glasses, to re-train their visual system.

More Infos here:

And a Speech from Ben about Lazy Eye and his Idea at 35C3:

Photos by be able and Andi Weiland | HKW