A three-day “Makeathon” to create technology for people with disabilities will be held at Swinburne in December under a partnership between the university and the world-renowned Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM).
To be held at Swinburne’s Advanced Technologies Centre, the 72-hour event will be supported by Swinburne Innovation Precinct to bring together teams of engineers, designers, health professionals, developers and students to solve a specific problem for someone who has a disability.
TOM: Melbourne is seeking both makers and people who have a personal understanding of living with a disability, or “need knowers”, to take part and are encouraging those with all knowledge and skill levels to register.
During the 2016 Makeathon, teams at Swinburne created technologies that allowed a quadruple amputee to ride a bike again, helped a young wheelchair user to traverse steps and curbs, and enabled a gamer with limited hand movement to take up the controls with ease.
Prototype designs created during the 72-hours are uploaded onto the internet for free use worldwide.
Partners in Innovation
Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic says the TOM Makeathon strongly aligns with the vision and objectives of Swinburne Innovation Precinct.
“Our Innovation Precinct focuses on connecting people to the knowhow they need to solve problems and create innovative solutions that have social and economic impact, and this is exactly what TOM is all about—bringing people together to share knowledge, ideas, and expertise to create novel technology that has real impact for the end user,” Professor Subic says.
“The exciting part is that in solving a problem for one ‘need knower’, the teams are also potentially solving a problem for thousands of others around the world.”
Cutting edge facilities
TOM Melbourne project manager Kylie Appel says that after the success of the 2016 Makeathon, TOM was thrilled to partner with Swinburne Innovation Precinct for a second year.
“Teams will have access to cutting edge tools of modern manufacturing to develop assistive technologies, addressing everyday barriers.
“We look forward to working with Swinburne to find the best problem solvers to take part—those with a passion for engineering-orientated pursuits and a hunger for real change,” she says.
“Last year's buzz was incredible, so much creative energy and passion and I can't wait to see the magic that unfolds in December."
Swinburne staff will support the teams through the soft prototyping process and will also allow them access to engineering workshops and specialist equipment.
Registrations to participate close in early September.