Makers from all walks of life joined forces this weekend to design and create custom, open-source prototypes, to assist in the everyday life of “need knowers” (people with a disability who have a specific unmet need).
The Geelong Tech School was pleased to be the venue partner for TOM: Melbourne and their 2023 Regional Makerthon.
TOM: Melbourne is a part of the global Tikkun Olam Makers movement which aims to provide access to assistive technologies for need knowers by connecting them with a diverse group of makers in makeathons, providing all design specifications and plans online through an open-source network to allow designs to be replicated world-wide and raising awareness and building a community around these goals.
Geelong Tech School staff were very pleased to be assisting the Makerthon teams over the weekend, “We’ve worked for many years to create a versatile space that lends itself well to the act of creating, assessing, and improving designs. For me, there isn’t a happier sound in the world than an active workshop. This is the exact type of creative and impactful technical design work that we aim to prepare our students to undertake in their future careers” noted Lachlan Patrick, a mechatronics engineer, and STEM Program Facilitator at the Tech School.
The Four Projects
- An electronic version of the traditional slot cars game, focussing on customisability to allow all ability levels to compete.
The team had great success utilising electronics prototyping equipment, laser cutting, and 3d printing to create their customised game and controllers as well as an extensive code base ready for replication.
- A custom tricycle for a young girl with mobility difficulties.
The team pulled off a fantastic result with a fully functional prototype completed by the end of the two days, complete with all components, cowlings, covers, pedals, steering linkages, and brakes. The bike will undergo final safety testing and will be delivered to a very pleased young girl soon.
- A method of more easily traversing soft fall matting in climbing gyms.
Though a complex challenge the group found success heavily modifying a hoverboard and hoverboard go-kart attachment to create a low profile self-propelled transport device. Not only will this be a very useful item for a particular need-knower in the short term, but due to the open-source nature of the TOM Makerthons all of the plans and methods for manufacture will be available online for replication and use in similar instances.
- A low-cost replicable mounting for a T-stick hockey stick.
The team was hugely successful in creating a robust and simple modular design making use of aluminium extrusion and 3D-printed brackets to create a robust and low-cost mounting setup that could be adjusted for a huge range of chairs. The design makes use of a large number of off-the-shelf components making it more easily repeated by people around the world and will hopefully be boosting participation in power chair sports soon, opening doors to the many positive benefits therein.
For more information please visit: https://www.tommelbourne.org/about-us
Or if you would like to get involved with TOM: Melbourne for future Makeathons or events please visit: https://www.tommelbourne.org/get-involved