Victoria’s tech community is coming together this week for Australia’s first Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) Makeathon to develop practical solutions to the daily challenges faced by people living with disabilities.
The three-day event at Swinburne University’s Innovation Precinct allows people living with disabilities to engage with engineers, designers and developers to create prototypes that they could use for day-to-day tasks, addressing unique needs not currently being met by industry.
Some of the prototypes set to be developed include a lateral head rest support, a device enabling wheelchair access to stairs and sidewalk curbs, a modified controller to be used with one hand and crutches that can turn into a seat.
The idea behind Tikkun Olam – a Hebrew phrase which translates to “acts of kindness that repair the world” – is to eliminate the one-size fits all approach in the research and development of commercially available solutions for people living with unique disabilities.
Each team has been preparing their design plan for one month and will have a mix of skill-sets tailored to assist them in creating solutions to meet the needs of a unique disability.
The skills include robotics, electronics, 3-D printing, metal work and wood work.
Melbourne’s TOM Makeathon is one of nine that have been held across seven cities globally including Washington DC, Buenos Aires and Calgary.
To date, there have been 1193 makers, 540 challenges and 112 projects involved in the initiative.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis
“This is a shining example of how the tech community can come together to find solutions that will make a difference to the lives of Victorians living with disability.”
“Holding the first Australian TOM Makeathon here in Victoria is a huge vote of confidence in our talented workforce and reinforces our reputation as Australia’s tech and innovation capital.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley
“This is yet another great example of Victorians working together to empower people with a disability to better participate in our community.”
“Good luck to all the teams involved, we look forward to seeing the solutions that are developed over the coming days. These are the products of the future that will make a huge difference to the lives of many Victorians.”