TOM:IL: Technological solutions for people with special needs
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TOM:IL: Technological solutions for people with special needs

TOM:IL: developing 16 technological solutions for people with special needs

150 makers, industrial designers, carers and people with special needs from Israel and overseas developed products to help people with special needs to integrate into the wider community.

150 makers came together to work for 72 hours on developing products and solutions, using tools at the cutting edge of technology from around the world, such as 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC (computerized numerical control) machines. The event was hosted and sponsored by Stefan Wertheimer at the Tefen Industrial Park.

The TOM event at Tefen was the seventh in a series initiated by The Reut Group, in conjunction with the Schusterman Foundation ROI Community. TOM is part of a new and growing global movement of using new technology to develop solutions personally suited to people with special needs, enabling them to carry out everyday activities they could not do previously. TOM focuses on developing solutions for needs which do not currently have a solution on the market, or whose existing solutions are very expensive and inaccessible.

At previous events (which have taken place in Israel, Brazil, Canada and the USA) teams developed a prosthetic arm suited to the needs of a 9-year-old boy, a robotic arm to help those with paralyzed limbs, and more. This time the teams will focus on developing products which will help people with special needs become more independent and active in their communities.

Challenges for TOM at the previous event included: special bicycle brakes for a boy whose fingers had been amputated, clothes to allow children living with autism to play musical instruments, a device which enables paralyzed people who cannot speak to communicate during hydrotherapy treatments, a chronically ill patient’s breathing machine which they tried to make mobile, and more.

Prior to the event, Beit Issie Shapiro hosted a precursory event where makers were introduced to the challenges for the first time, and divided into work groups in preparation for the upcoming Makeathon (marathon for makers).

The Reut Group’s President Gidi Grinstein said “TOM’s uniqueness is in its ability to connect innovative technology and social goals. I believe that Israel can lead the world in the next technological revolution, and that it is our responsibility to fill the social role which will manage to help and influence the whole of humanity”.

The event’s main supporters and sponsors this year were: Stratasys, Makerbot, Bank Hapoalim, The Ministry of Health, and the project’s partners: Ledico, Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel Aerospace Industries, Milbat, Keter Plastic, the Shapira High School in Netanya, the Onn School, XLN and Moona. Supporters at the various events have included Google, Stratasys, Intel and others.

More information can be found at www.tomglobal.org