A 10-year-old Israeli boy named Ido has partial paralysis in one hand and can’t do many basic classroom activities such as using rulers, cutting paper and taking the caps off markers.

Ido had an unusual opportunity to participate in creating several solutions for his dilemma at TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers’ recent 72-hour makeathon held in Haifa: a device that holds paper for better control while cutting; a magnet to steady a ruler; and a keychain tool that easily removes caps.

More than 180 volunteers from the United States, Canada, England, China, India, Sri Lanka and Israel worked with Ido and 19 other people with disabilities to develop technological solutions for their everyday challenges.

TOM:Israel 2017, held in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, was the largest makeathon in world history and the first international makeathon in the growing global movement which expands across Israel, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia and Vietnam.

Throughout the three-day event, teams of technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities created prototype solutions in a specially designed workspace at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, featuring advanced tools such as 3D printers, laser-cutting machines and computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing machines.

More than 180 volunteers from seven countries designed inexpensive solutions for people with disabilities at the makeathon in Haifa in January 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers
More than 180 volunteers from seven countries designed inexpensive solutions for people with disabilities at the makeathon in Haifa in January 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers

At the end of the event, the “need-knowers” (people with disabilities or their caregivers) took home their solution for personal use. All designs will be uploaded to the Open Makers Market beta site, to be made available, free of charge, for anyone to adapt for their needs.

“With 1.1 billion people living with disabilities, there is an astronomical number of neglected challenges hindering independence and inclusion,” said TOM Founding Director Arnon Zamir. “The strength of TOM is the powerful connection of dedicated community mobilized and ready to develop solutions for everyday challenges.”

These are the 17 devices created at the makeathon:

Back to Biking adaptive biking technology for riders with below-the-knee amputations.

Amir Bartua and Ilan Sherman fitting a prosthetic leg in the Back to Biking project at TOM:Israel 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers
Amir Bartua and Ilan Sherman fitting a prosthetic leg in the Back to Biking project at TOM:Israel 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers

Sensory Eye Fix, a safe and stable platform for eye-gaze augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices for children.

Wise Control adapted AAC device for children with poor upper body strength and cortical blindness.

Chair Call, an app to call a wheelchair to one’s bedside or out of the way to clear space for visitors.

Water Simon Says, a rehabilitative water game.

Coffee Break, a unique coffeemaker for a person with a hand tremor.

One Hand Crafting, a collection of small tools that adapt everyday school activities (this was the one for Ido).

A ride-sharing app connecting people with disabilities and drivers of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Tube Opener, a special paint-tube opener and closer for individuals with poor fine-motor skills.

Winter Challenge 1, an umbrella designed for wheelchair users; and Winter Challenge 2, wheelchair wheel cleaners.

Drew McPherson of Berkeley, California, ideating about placement of umbrella in the Winter Challenge at TOM:Israel 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers
Drew McPherson of Berkeley, California, ideating about placement of umbrella in the Winter Challenge at TOM:Israel 2017. Photo courtesy of TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers

One Hand Sony, an adaptive device for PlayStation.

Gamification of Achilles Tendon, a fun rehabilitation game for a child.

Toilet Seat Assistance portable seat for children needing additional support.

Plane Seat Assistance, an in-flight supportive vest, neck brace and leg support for children with cerebral palsy.

3D-printed prosthetic arms.

Removable Mobile Arm, an adapted iPad communication device holder.

“There is currently technology available for people with disabilities but only about 10% of them can really use it, as it is very expensive,” said Shira Ruderman, director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, one of the makeathon’s supporters. “With technology being such a crucial part in the role of inclusion in all aspects of life, the products created at TOM:Israel 2017 provide affordable and innovative solutions to everyday needs for people with disabilities.”

TOM:Israel 2017, a strategic initiative of the Reut Group  in Tel Aviv, also was supported by the ROI Community of the Schusterman Foundation, the Technion, the Ministry of Health, IngDan, Bank Hapoalim, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Wix.com, Stratasys, Su-Pad, Beit Issie Shapiro, Alyn Rehabilitation Hospital, IAI, XLN, FabLab Haifa of MadaTech, Sears Israel, Philips, General Motors, ACAT, Hachevra Hacalcalit of ASAT, Makerbot, Circuito, Social Hub Technion, Link 20 and Palgi Orthopedics.

TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers was launched in 2014 as a global movement bringing together people with disabilities and “makers” in order to address neglected challenges and develop open-source technological solutions for people in need around the world — thus fulfilling the traditional Jewish value of tikkun olam – repairing the world.