Innovation That Matters

Solving disability challenges with creative tech

Work & Lifestyle

TOM's Makeathons gather professionals to use their expertise for community benefit by solving everyday problems faced by people with disabilities.

Recognizing the multitude of ways in which people with disabilities are challenged in their everyday lives, and the lack of personalized tech, TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) is a non-profit organization that hosts Makeathons to inspire community-led solutions.

TOM’s Makeathons are 72-hour events that bring together professionals and their knowledge, as well as access to the latest technologies to work in partnership with individuals living with disability. Each event begins months before the actual build with a ‘call for challenge’ and a ‘call for talent’. Applications must meet criteria that ensure technical feasibility and social benefit.

Organized and run entirely by volunteers, the Makeathons use open source design and coding to create new, customized and practical accessibility solutions, which are a direct response to personal challenges that are often encountered daily. TOM provides individuals and communities wanting to run their own event with a Makeathon-in-a-box toolkit that helps organizers manage the process. Prototypes of solutions produced at each event are free to download from the TOM website.

At the TOM Sao Paulo event in 2015, an eye-tracking software let wheelchair bound users move their mobility vehicle by looking left and right.

We have already seen a makerspace for nurses — in what other industries could cutting-edge technology be used to create personalized solutions?



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