The Meaning of "Inspire"
I (Annie) have been at the Microsoft Inspire conference this week. The word Inspire is mainly aimed at the commercial: inspiring the Microsoft partners to better use Microsoft technology for their customers. However, on the last day of the conference the UK keynote had something that gave the word a full meaning.
We heard from Ben Ryan, founder and CEO of Ambionics, a tiny company making affordable hydraulic prosthetics for children. What's the link to Microsoft? He uses a Microsoft Xbox Kinect device to properly scan the children's limb, so the prosthetic fits perfectly. Without doing this,, there's a high rejection rate in children.
Cool tech, but what's so inspiring? He was a Psychology teacher, when in 2015 his first son Sol was born (Ben's legs and other son are cropped in the picture). Sol's arm was damaged in labour, and lost a few days later. Instead of accepting the situation, Ben immediately set out researching the options for his son - knowing those early years are so formative for a child. Using his creativity and learning from "the University of YouTube" (as he put it), he now engineers hydraulic limbs for his son, fitted perfectly, and made on a 3D printer.
He had little or no engineering background before this. It's amazing what people can achieve. You can see the brief video of his story on his company's home page or here.
Not content with only helping his son, he's set up the company to help other children. He found a 10+ year waiting list in some places in the world - he can help accelerate that in an affordable way.
Ben, Sol and the rest of the family joined Microsoft on the stage today, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Sol is three now and a real character - he more than stole the show.
I'd urge you to take two minutes to watch the video - it's lovely to see how he's progressed. Ben's looking for some crowdfunding on his page as well to help support his work with families round the world.
In more mundane matters, the rest of the conference day was hard work but good - then the after conference party let us unwind well. At the Las Vegas Speedway track and with Bruno Mars performing, it was hot but fun.
Poor old Chris spent the day travelling to Yorkshire and back for an away day he was running. A long and tiring day. At least I'll be re-joining his timezone soon!