3 Ways Social Enterprises Use Tech For Change

You might have heard of the Google Cardboard: a cheap, easy-to-assemble device that promises a virtual reality (VR) experience from just a smartphone. VR has become very accessible today. But for one social enterprise in Hong Kong, it isn’t quite enough to use VR to see another reality. They want to use VR to change reality itself.

AESIR creates games and interactive solutions for people with special needs using augmented-reality (AR) and VR technologies.

While often conflated with each other, VR and augmented reality (AR) are quite different. VR involves immersing yourself in a completely different reality, which often means putting on a large headset that block out the world around you. AR, on the other hand, adds to our reality.

By using these emerging technologies, AESIR hopes to support the special needs community in the education field, where traditional education still has huge gaps in fulfilling their needs. By harnessing the immersion that VR and AR provide, AESIR’s games and programs help children with special needs cultivate life skills, aiding their personal development.

Technology and innovation truly have the power to change landscapes in a way we never could before. It can fill in gaps in the society in a way our resources and capacity back then could not.

0fenbei from China hopes to harness big data to do good. What exactly is big data, you ask? Essentially, big data is simply enormous datasets. With so much information, big data can help make predictions about the future. The idea is that the more data points you have, the more accurate relationships and patterns you can make. With that, you can create solutions to problems that are yet to exist and you can make better decisions to efficiently plan for the future!

0fenbei uses big data to deal with poverty more efficiently. Their platform connects communities in need with resource providers such as NGOs, local governments and commercial institutions, thereby facilitating the channelling of resources to address pertinent poverty issues. That way, these organizations no longer need to spend too much time analyzing and worrying about the best way to allocate their funds, or how much to allocate. Through 0fenbei’s apps, they get detailed analytics on the impact of their spending and can be assured that the money is used to alleviate poverty in areas and communities that need it the most. Faster and smoother facilitation of this process means that help can be more effectively delivered and solutions can be quickly implemented.

This intelligent, data-driven technology is revolutionary.

Tware, a Singaporean social enterprise, also uses technology to better the lives of others. Their product, TJacket is a result of their innovation. The jacket is a wearable touch technology which helps people with anxiety, sensory disorders or autism. The vest comforts its wearers by applying deep pressure. For people with ADHD and anxiety, TJacket makes them feel calm, enabling them to function in stressful settings.

Pictured: The Tjacket is controlled via a smartphone application.

With a grant from DBS back in 2013, Tware conducted further research and testing to prepare TJacket for a larger market. Today, TJacket is sold in 9 markets, and used by occupational therapists worldwide for treatment, providing that physical and emotional comfort to help those in need.

Indeed, the possibilities that technology is capable of are endless! From technological gadgets to data-driven intelligence, technology opens up doors, creating space for innovative solutions to solve problems on an unprecedented scale.

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