Puffin Innovations Not Impossible Limitless Award Winner
[Onscreen] Puffin Innovations
[Remon M. Jourdan, Beta Tester, Puffin Innovations] You hear people say anything’s possible, but if you don’t see it sometimes it doesn’t feel real to you. And if you just spend two minutes with Adriana, you’ll know that anything is possible.
[Onscreen] Due to complications at birth, Adriana was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
[Adriana Mallozzi, Founder & CEO, Puffin Innovations] Growing up I was very dependent on people. But just because I had a disability didn’t mean that I couldn’t do the things that typical children could do. I would just have to do it differently.
[Kirk Joslin, President Emeritus, Easterseals Massachusetts] She’s always had the motivation to do things that probably everyone didn’t think she could do.
[Adriana Mallozzi] I majored in computer science because that was what I was good at and that was something I could do myself.
[Onscreen] In 2015, Adriana was chosen to compete in the MIT Assistive Technology Hackathon.
[Onscreen, exterior view] MIT | School of Engineering
[Onscreen, interior view] MIT | Beaver Works | Lincoln Laboratory | School of Engineering
[Ishwarya Ananthabhotla, Co-founder, MIT at Hack] The Hackathon is really about finding people that live or identify as living with a disability. We match them up with students in tech or in engineering to try to work together with them to identify potential solutions.
[Adriana Mallozzi] I wanted the freedom that everyone else had who use their phone and the computer. And they really paid attention to my knowledge to create this thing that I had in my head for a really long time. So that was the Puffin.
[Onscreen] The Puffin won the 2015 MIT Hackathon.
[Adriana Mallozzi] I said, “Well, I want to keep going with it. I want this.”
[Kirk Joslin] The Puffin really creates an easier interface with all of the devices that someone has to use.
[Adriana Mallozzi] And I’m like, “There has to be a way to make it better.” So that’s what we’re doing. (laughs)
[Kirk Joslin] She put together this free-flowing company where people come in and out and they just keep moving the product forward.
[Adriana Mallozzi] This is our latest prototype. It’s connected to my phone. The left click is the bite and the right click is the hover. So I like to order from Starbucks often.
[Kirk Joslin] But when you can do more things on your own, you take control of your life I think people with disabilities especially want that, because sometimes their control of their lives have been taken away from them.
[Remon M. Jourdan] I was in a car accident in 2002. That was the end of everything I knew prior. In terms of being able to do things on my own and being able to be independent. I honestly at that time thought that I wouldn’t be able to come back to a sense of normalcy, a sense of doing things like I used to do it.
[Adriana Mallozzi] Their life has drastically changed in the blink of an eye, but if they have access to their cell phone and computer they can pretty much do anything.
[Remon M. Jourdan] So the Puffin allows me to open the garage door so I can get into my house. It allows me to turn on the computer once I’m in my house. It allows me to then turn on the phone and make a phone call. It basically allows me to have a normal day and forget about my disability for a little while.
[Ishwarya Ananthabhotla] You know, to think that you and a team of students just brainstorming over here and this thing has become a product.
[Adriana Mallozzi] I feel like this is my baby and it was finally born. I’m a really big advocate for inclusion and I really believe that it’s the best way both for people with disabilities and without to kind of learn that differences are okay.
[Christine Prendergast, Operations Consultant, Puffin Innovations] I want her to be recognized as the pioneer that she is. Because she is changing the disability community.
[Adriana Mallozzi] Our goal is to be ahead of the game. We want it to work with smart cities, or drive an automated car, because we know that will give us a whole newfound freedom.
[Adriana’s Dad] Come on, Adriana, go!
[Christine Prendergast] She’s overcome serious challenges, but she doesn’t let it bring her down, so there is no doubt in my mind how successful she will be.
[Adriana Mallozzi] What I would say to someone who thinks maybe they have a crazy idea, is stay the course. If it’s something that you truly believe in and have a passion for, then it definitely is not impossible.
[Onscreen] not impossible awards