By: Kyla Aquino Irving- Communications and Marketing Manager, CFILC
Adriana Mallozzi, CEO and Founder of Boston area-based Puffin Innovations, is on a mission to empower people with disabilities by providing innovative assistive technology (AT) devices.
Adriana grew up with a disability at a young age and was exposed to AT by an occupational therapist at the age of 7. For the first time, AT allowed her to do tasks on her own. That was when she became addicted to AT. She realized that having AT meant becoming independent. And today, Adriana helps others with disabilities become more independent.
“Puffin Innovations’ goal is to empower individuals with disabilities by giving them tools and access to the devices they need, which lead to a better life, integration to their community,” said Adriana. “Our other goal is to change the mindset of society; remove stigma for people with disabilities. In this day and age, if you can get to a computer, you can work.”
Adriana went from an early AT adopter to an innovator and entrepreneur getting international recognition three years ago. The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was seeking persons with disabilities on how to solve a problem. As one of 14 accepted in Hackathon, Adriana submitted her proposal and won first place of entries!
The Puffin Sip, the original prototype of a wireless sip and puff (SNP) joystick for Android, allows users to navigate their phones and interact with the multitude of apps such as ones designed for home automation, allowing users to control their environment.
Today, Puffin Innovations is expanding to develop a variety of AT solutions beyond just SNP related devices.
“The original device was a SNP, said Adriana. “Now it’s a completely different device that incorporates innovative and newer technology with a physical button and optical button.”
Beyond the technology, Adriana believes that Puffin Innovations is all about empowerment. She hopes to create a scholarship fund to empower other women, especially those with disabilities, to continue their education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM.)
“People with disabilities are marginalized; women are marginalized. Being women in tech is empowering,” said Adriana. “We are strong women who are mission-driven.”
Get the latest news on Puffin Innovations by subscribing to its blog via puffinsip.com. And if you’re a person with a disability in the Boston area, you may also sign up to become a product tester via puffinsip.com.