This is an article originally printed in the National Post.
For many Canadians with disabilities, it’s the little things that make day-to-day living a bit harder.
Kent Hehr, federal minister for persons with disabilities, knows how difficult things can be. He’s been in a wheelchair since he was 21.
Hehr watched with interest Friday as he attended a Lipsync buildathon in Calgary. About two dozen volunteers gathered to assemble mouth-controlled devices that allow users to move the cursor on a computer or mobile phone.
The event was put on by Makers Making Change, a non-profit initiative that helps the disabled live independent lives. Project manager Zee Kesler said once assembled, the Lipsyncs will be given to individuals who need them.
“Something like this Lipsync would be like $2,000 to $3,000 commercially and this version is only $200 to $300,” she said.
Hehr seemed more excited by smaller devices on display.
“When I signed my name to become a cabinet minister, they had to go like three times to put my pen in my hand and I dropped it three times. I should have actually had this. Then it’s not as awkward for everyone,” he said.
“It’s very cool stuff.”
Hehr said he knows how useful the devices could be.
“Key holders to open your door, an implement to write your name or even just a letter opener. Things like that people just assume they can do themselves, where people with disabilities need a little bit of help.”