Link December 2017 Link DEC 2017 - Page 29

people The TOM:Melbourne event is Mandy said being a part of technologies for everyone’s use. a 72-hour makeathon, where 10 TOM:Melbourne had been an “TOM:Melbourne is a global teams of designers, engineers incredible experience – “energetic, pioneer mobilising local talent and and developers gather to help a positive and huge amounts of fun”. resources in Australia to help local person with disability. Over the “It was three days of mayhem, people that experience neglected frantic three days, each team is fun and overwhelming support. To challenges that have no market tasked with conceiving, creating and have an entire team of designers, solution and no government manufacturing a prototype device engineers and makers all working solution,” Mr Weil said. that overcomes a specific challenge. towards creating a solution to what Using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, such as “By creating a specific and was previously an unachievable dream extremely affordable open-source was simply mind blowing,” she said. solutions to a specific problem, 3D printers, laser cutters, fabrication tools and electronics, teams work to create an innovative technological I think the biggest thing I took away from the TOM makeathon was the value of an able-bodied world understanding what life is like for somebody with a disability. solution that solves a real-world challenge. Mandy’s team came together to get her back on the bike, and that meant remaking a bicycle that was tailor made to her needs. The bicycle frame was altered to accommodate her prosthetic legs, which could only bend to a 90-degree angle, and the “I still am astonished that these and then making it globally handlebars were lifted. The team strangers would all work so hard to available, every team can help also added an electric motor from a help me. tens of thousands of other users cordless drill to aid pedalling. “It was a great chance for the worldwide, supporting a global community with disability to have an network of communities collectively a bike Mandy could ride there and impacton the able-bodied world of working together to improve the then, and take home to ride with her design and manufacturing. Hopefully lives of millions of people living with family. now, these people will take into disabilities.” The work was a success, creating “To get on the bike and have a pedal was just fantastic,” Mandy said. “I’ve got primary school aged kids, so to go on a family bike ride was absolutely magic. I’ve been able to get their careers an understanding of TOM:Melbourne is on again the impact that both good and bad in December 2017 at Swinburne design can have. We can have a world University of Technology and Mandy that is fully inclusive.” is back, taking part with a new team Mr Weil said that following the of makers to build another bespoke back to an active life as a mum with event, the plans for Mandy’s bike young kids because of what they did.” were uploaded to the tomglobal.org Mandy said her story is proof that website, where they remain available grow, with TOM: Queensland held in the TOM movement is creating a alongside plans for devices created November in Brisbane. more inclusive world. at every TOM Makeathon held around “I think the biggest thing I took away from the TOM makeathon was the globe. Mr Weil said that this way, TOM solution. And the movement continues to To learn more about TOM: Melbourne, including the value of an able-bodied world is not only providing real, tangible opportunities to take part or understanding what life is like for solutions for participants, but is donate, visit the TOM website, somebody with a disability,” she said. creating a library of free assistive www.aus.tomglobal.org linkonline.com.au people 27