How Technology Can Create a Barrier-Free Environment For The Disabled
Franco Lin is one of 20 recipients of the Gen.T X Credit Suisse Social Impact Awards. The awards recognise Gen.T honourees who have made significant contributions to Asian society in the fields of social impact, sustainability or innovation.
Franco Lin’s med-tech startup Honeycomb is working to create a barrier-free environment for the disabled.
“Our mission is to use tech to help everyone lead a better life, no matter their physical ability,” says Lin. “There are 85 million disabled people and 240 million elderly citizens in China—a huge population.”
Lin founded Shenzhen-based company Honeycomb in 2007 to develop proprietary rehabilitation and entertainment products. Today, its technology is sold in 40 countries worldwide.
The company also educates the public and professionals in the special education system on the benefits of the technology in rehabilitation and education.
“For example, people with motor neurone disease can’t move, they can only move their eyes, but their brain is unaffected by the illness,” says Lin. “We use technology controlled by eye movement so they can connect to the computer to control the wheelchair, meaning they can be mobile and no longer bedridden.”
Honeycomb also uses proprietary technology to help disabled and elderly people access the technology most of us take for granted, such as social media and e-commerce, which Lin argues is just as essential to be fully integrated in today’s society.
“We are now in the Internet age, where we can’t live without computers. We are focusing on the brain-computer interface, which uses brainwaves to connect with computers. This is going to be the future trend,” he says.
For Lin and his team, it’s all part of Honeycomb’s wider mission. “We need more people to be aware of how technology can help these people reconnect with society and improve their quality of life—that’s why we never stop innovating.”
To see all winners of the Gen.T X Credit Suisse Social Impact Awards, visit the Social Impact Awards hub.