Building assistive tech devices is not a skill typically used by Royal Bank of Canada(RBC) staff. However, this month employees can add some new skills to their resumes! As one of our major partners, RBC generously grants funds to Neil Squire‘s Makers Making Change program for education outreach through their Future Launch program. Through this grant, Makers Making Change funds outreach activities such as build events and educational curriculum for youth under 30. Read more about some of our educational resources here. 

Sandy an RBC staff member is building the MMC60 Switch. She is wearing goggle and using tools to assemble the purple switch

Above: Sandy Kwong, Regional Manager of Marketing, Brand & Communications builds an assistive device during a virtual buildathon event.

The RBC Assistive Tech Buildathon Series 

Staff from across Canada are building assistive tech devices virtually! The recent series of buildathon events took place in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and Western Ontario (MSNWO).The events were initiated by Mandi Taylor, the Regional Director, Community Marketing & Citizenship in discussion with Suzanne Winterflood, our Regional Coordinator in Manitoba.  Events were coordinated with help from Susie Aruda, and Roger Norberg managed the distribution of the build kits! Volunteer staff members are from Manitoba Saskatchewan and Dryden in Western Ontario.  

“Engaging RBC employee volunteers in the Makers Making Change program was an absolute highlight and an excellent example of virtual volunteering during these unusual times. Not only did our employees learn some new skills in making the adaptive switches but knowing that these switches are helping to support social inclusiveness for people with varying abilities was so meaningful to our team. This is an invaluable program and it is a privilege to play a small role in it.”-Mandi Taylor, Regional Director Marketing & Citizenship.

November 5 MMC60 build with RBC employees

Nov 5  Buildathon: The Round Flexure Switch

At the first event, 10 RBC staff built 10 Round Flexure Switches! These switches are great for people with disabilities who have difficulty with fine motor control. The flexure in the design allows the user to press, hit, or smash on the switch with a high degree of force. The flexure design also allowthe top of the switch to be pressed from all angles if targeting is a challenge.

instructions and a set of 3D printed parts used in our switches. There are two switches in the photo, one is black with a green top and the other is black with a yellow top

 Nov 25 Buildathon: The Light Touch Switch

At the recent buildathon event, 10 RBC staff built 20 Light Touch switches. The light touch switch is ideal for those with low finger strength. The open source version RBC staff are building is is $10 vs $75+ commercially. It is a great switch to pair with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

The switches will be donated to the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, The Movement Centre and Recreational Therapy at Health Science Centre in Winnipeg. 

screen shot of RBC employees on zoom building assistive the devices they built at a virtual event

Moving Forward with RBC: What’s Next? 

RBC is inviting Neil Squire and Makers Making Change to extend opportunities for staff to volunteer via their internal myCommunity platform that showcases volunteer opportunities powered by Benevity. This program is accessed by all RBC staff across Canada.  RBC continue to support the work of Makes Making Change and Neil Squire. As such they encourage RBC employees to continue to provide virtual volunteering.  We are looking forward to the possibility of more virtual builds in the future! 


Need an Access Switch?

Request a switch from our open source assistive device library. Just use the filters on the left hand side of the screen to find the right device for your needs.

Sponsor a Virtual Buildathon Event with Your Workplace  

Learning to build an assistive device is a great team building activity! Also, when you sponsor a virtual buildathon event, devices go to individuals or organizations in your community that work with people with disabilities.   

We’ve hosted team building workshops with SAPGoogleTelusBellMicrosoft, and Electronic Arts to name a few! 

Contact Chad Leaman, our Director of Innovation if you’ve like to learn more about this opportunity: [email protected] 

Join or Start a Chapter in Your Community!  

Are you a Maker or a Disability Professional who cares deeply about helping people with disabilities?  

Check out our list of chapters and get in contact with your local chapter leader. Also, be sure to introduce yourself to other chapter members in the forum by replying to a thread in your area.  Also, check out our events listings and join our mailing list to stay informed of upcoming local events!  

Don’t See a Chapter in Your Area?

Apply to Become a Chapter Leader!   

To learn more about this rewarding volunteer role, read the Chapter Leader Role Description. If this appeals to you, apply here to become a Chapter Leader. 


Picture of the Makers Making Change Request a build work flow. 1. Request device 2. volunteer maker responds 3. maker builds device 4. reimburse maker for material cost. 5. receive device