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Constructing GO Kart 2.0

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One of our concept drawings for GO Kart 2.0! We’ll be unveiling the final design in the coming weeks!

Huge news, Gamers Outreach supporters! We’re excited to announce we are building a 2.0 version of our GO Karts!! We’re working directly with a U.S. based manufacturing company to create a cart that is entirely and truly designed for our purpose. The end goal? We’ll be able to build way more GO Karts, way more efficiently – which ends up meaning way more hospitalized kids will have access to recreation!

Ready to get super nerdy about medical carts with us? Great! Here’s what all that means…

When we built our first GO Kart for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital back in 2009, we never anticipated our efforts would extend to facilities outside our hometown. Our first GO Kart was intended to be a one-off project. We just wanted to help our local hospital easily provide kids with access to video games.

If you’re familiar with our history – you know the story from here. It didn’t take long for a neighboring hospital to hear about our efforts and request a GO Kart of their own. Shortly after, gamers began to come forward with a desire to help install GO Karts in their local hospitals.

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Gamers Outreach crew members assembling a GO Kart for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

To build the first GO Kart, we worked with a medical-supply company and re-purposed an existing product. In their original form, GO Karts are actually a type of hospital cart frequently used to help staff dispense patient medications and keep track of medical records. We stripped away all the gear that’s normally attached to the GO Kart, and found a local metal fabricator that was able to help us create and attach storage trays for gaming consoles.

At the time, this was the most efficient way to deliver a high quality product to Mott that would ultimately benefit the hospital’s patients for many years to come. We maintained this build method as we began to support other hospitals outside of Michigan.

However, in recent months, as our deliveries have become more and more frequent, we’ve found it difficult to properly scale the GO Kart program. Building carts one-by-one can be time consuming, and generally leads to increased costs per delivery, rather than enabling us to reinvest and expand the program. On one hand, building GO Karts as we have (to this point) has been an efficient way to learn about the hospital environment, collect feedback, and validate the program’s effectiveness. Building an entire product from scratch takes significant funding, and our present process has allowed us to make an impact in the lives of many children and families without a high initial investment.

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Patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland playing some games on one of the hospital’s GO Karts.

In the long-run however, it’s much more efficient (by that we mean timely, less expensive, and intentional) to engage in the manufacturing process and create a new medical-grade cart that is unique to gaming and our purpose. The base model carts we’ve been re-purposing are created by an independent company. To some extent, GO Karts (by default) are equipped with items or parts that aren’t necessary for our purpose which contributes to a higher price point. By manufacturing the carts entirely on our own, we’ll be able to specifically control the design of the cart, and improve its function.

At the moment, Gamers Outreach is fully engaged in the manufacturing process to build a 2.0 version of our GO Kart. Our expectation is to construct our first new demo units in July / August, with the first batch of new GO Karts rolling out in late Fall, 2016.

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A photo from a recent visit with our manufacturing partner! GO Karts will be constructed right here in the USA!

In between now and then, we’ll be posting blogs every few weeks with updates on our progress. We also anticipate having a presence at most of the game-industry trade shows later this year. More on that as time goes by, but if you have plans to attend any major conventions – you’ll likely be able to see our new GO Karts firsthand!

Got a hospital in mind that would benefit from Project GO Kart? You can start fundraising today to help place GO Karts in a hospital of your choosing! All funds raised for Project GO Kart between now and Fall 2016 will help expand our pre-order list as we move to complete the first batch of GO Kart 2.0 builds! If you donated to any of our streamers who managed to reach the $4K goal at Gamers for Giving, you can expect to see their deliveries fulfilled when our first batch of new GO Karts are ready to go this Fall!

If you represent a hospital that is interested in acquiring a GO Kart, you can email us directly at contact@gamersoutreach.org . We’ll add you to our distribution list to keep you posted of all the latest updates regarding GO Kart 2.0.

We’re so excited to finally share this news with you all! While this process will take a bit of time, the end result means we’ll be able to deliver GO Karts at widespread scale. Our big mission is to help ensure games and activities are easily manageable within the hospital environment. The end result? Restoring a sense of normalcy for children and families facing treatment, and giving hospital staff helpful tools to provide therapeutic recreation to the patients they suport.

We can’t wait to share more as the project progresses! Be sure to check out our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to keep up with all our latest updates.

More to come!