Some 70 talented innovators – including artists, engineers, designers and occupational therapists – in their 20s and 30s will run a very different kind of marathon in Israel, as they compete to invent prototypes of tools for people with disabilities using cutting-edge digital fabrication tools including 3-D printers, laser cutters and other rapid manufacturing equipment.
The “Tikkun Olam Make-a-thon (TOM),” featuring the slogan “72 hours to make a better world,” will take place today through Tuesday in Nazareth, with participants hailing from seven countries including Israel, the U.S., Argentina, Chile, India and Singapore. Participants were selected from more than 200 applicants.
Working in a specially constructed laboratory called a “makerspace” in the recently-opened Nazareth Industrial Park founded by Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer, these young inventors will create open-source tools that allow innovators worldwide to build on and enhance the models.
This event is part of a growing global movement that democratizes the manufacturing process by sharing access to and knowledge of new technology. TOM organizers also expect the event will inspire follow-up gatherings and meet-ups throughout Israel and around the world.
“A TOM-produced design to help a quadriplegic more easily sip from a straw could then be improved upon by innovators in San Francisco, New Delhi or Lima,” said Arnon Zamir, TOM Co-Founder. “Disabilities transcend borders, and so do solutions.”
TOM was created as part of Schusterman Connection Points, an initiative launched by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and is being organized in partnership with the Reut Institute’s Cross Lab Network (XLN), which aims to place Israel at the frontier of the 3D printing and manufacturing revolution.