AZ Students Wrap Up the Annual MAKERS of Change Assistive Technology Challenge

It’s almost time!

Nine outstanding high school teams will be showcasing their solutions to the 2023 MAKERS of Change Assistive Technology Challenge on Friday, October 20th.

More than 71 teams from 18 different Arizona high schools embarked on this year’s challenge to develop an engaging device, accessory, or tool for young children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) that encourages visual attention, builds motor skills and supports making choices that help the child to experience cause and effect relationships.

Nicknamed the “STEM Challenge with Heart,” the MAKERS Challenge was inspired by work done in our ADAPT Shop, a space where every project begins with an idea based on a need and ends with a life improved.

The 2023 Challenge was designed in partnership with providers from both the ADAPT Shop and Foundation for Blind Children (FBC), who have been collaborating to meet both the occupational and vision therapy needs of children in Maricopa County.

“Our goal in hosting the MAKERS Challenge is two-fold – we hope to both inspire the younger generation to understand and consider the needs of children as they approach engineering solutions and to encourage more students from underserved communities to consider careers in STEM fields,” said Jessica Brandt, Vice President, Services for Children with Disabilities at Southwest Human Development. 

 “Approximately 90% of a child’s learning occurs through vision and imitation.  Children with visual impairments require additional support to foster their learning and active engagement with the world around them.  The MAKERS Challenge offers a fun and creative way to explore the development of new tools to help young children play and learn,” says Alissa Eromae, Director of the Early Intervention program at FBC. “I am proud that our team is part of this partnership.  We are excited to see the inventive solutions that these talented students will develop.” 

There is no cost for schools to enter the Challenge, but corporate support is raised to both fund the program administration and the ongoing needs of the ADAPT Shop. AstraZeneca, onsemi, Cox Charities, Avnet and Valley Toyota Dealers are the 2023 Challenge sponsors.

Each high school team of up to six members was matched with a volunteer mentor who met with them virtually to review their project ideation and execution. A video and poster summary for scoring by volunteer judges representing those employed by Intel, Avnet and onsemi, as well as ASU graduate level engineering students and retired science and engineering professionals was submitted by Oct. 6.

Now it’s time for the top nine teams in three categories to do their Finalist Team presentations!

Teams are evaluated on a variety of objectives such as anticipated cost, usability by both the child and family and integrity of the build. Three teams will win $100 each and there will be one overall “Best in Show” team that wins a $500 prize.

To register to attend the final presentation on Fri., Oct 20 at the Foundation for Blind Children campus at 1234 E. Northern Ave in Phoenix, visit

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