Big life fixers join us

We’re pleased to confirm that life-changing inventors from BBC2’s acclaimed Big Life Fix series join us on stage at our Impact Awards in London on March 2 – alongside beneficiaries of some of those inventions. Julian Blake reports.

p04jknbwAn understanding that technology can and does change lives for the better is at the heart of DigitalAgenda’s work. It’s also the thinking behind BBC2’s groundbreaking Big Life Fix, screened on TV this winter.

So we’re pleased to confirm that a team from the show joins us at our Impact Awards in London on March 2.

In the three-part series (available to stream on iPlayer), some of the UK’s leading inventors created tech-driven solutions to people’s real and everyday problems – working directly with people in need of help to build the products they need. It’s a great example of how user-centred design can and does change lives for the better.

For London-based graphic designer Emma Lawton, Parkinson’s Disease has massively restricted her ability to draw by hand – but as a result of working with Haiyan Zhang – a designer and technologist and innovation director at Microsoft Research Cambridge – a prototype watch was developed that makes her forget that she has a tremor.

Watch Emma Lawton’s story

Emma’s watch is an early prototype and Zhang and the team is exploring how it could be made available to more people in future.

Other ‘fixers’ on the show include Ruby Steel, a senior design strategist at Smart Design. Steel worked with Graham – who has locked-in syndrome following a stroke – on a ‘reaction pad’ app that would help him reconnect with the world around him.

Watch Graham’s story

Steel also worked with Shamreen, whose vision is impaired by rare Cone Dystrophy, on ‘Breadcrumbs’, an app that helps her find her way around.

Alongside personal challenges, the show looks at the problems faced by communities, including the lack of connectivity in rural communities, and the tech response to that.

DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, celebrate UK digital innovations that improve people’s lives. Also joining us on March 2 are:

* Mike Bracken – head of digital at the Co-op
* Nominet Trust – tech for good showcase
* More to be announced.

An afternoon awards event is followed by an evening reception in the Barbican’s green room and conservatory.

Come and join us on March 2.

BBC: Big Life Fix
Haiyan Zhang: @haiyan
Emma Lawton: @ems_lawton