Can Technology Change the Lives of the Disabled?

Physical therapists, innovators, and technologists meet in Tel Aviv to develop problem-solving machines for the handicapped.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Crutches to use cell phones while relieving shoulder pressure
Crutches to use cell phones while relieving shoulder pressure
ZOA Productions

Dozens of innovators and makers gathered in Tel Aviv this week for TOM:TLV, a three-day technology marathon where participants built models and prototypes of aids for people with disabilities. The organizers intend to develop these products further, making them available for widespread use in the near future.

TOM:TLV, began on March 17 at the Tel Aviv Port and culminated Thursday, March 19 at the Tel Aviv Hilton, bringing together technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities  who developed ideas and products that address the challenges of people living with disabilities, their family members, and health-care professionals.

The make-a-thon took place in a specially designed workspace at the port’s Hangar 11 and featured advanced technology - including 3D printers, laser-cutting machines, and CNC machines (computer-operated milling devices). The closing event showcased prototypes to investors and representatives of philanthropic and social organizations.

This prototype turns physical therapy into a game, allowing users to play while making significant progress in their rehabilitation. ZOA Productions

TOM:TLV is the latest in a series of events created by TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers), an initiative of the Reut Institute and ROI Community. TOM is a movement of makers, technology developers, and innovators who seek to solve unmet social challenges in disadvantaged communities and nations, fulfilling the traditional Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. 

 The Ruderman Family Foundation, who is spearheading innovative efforts to include people with disabilities throughout the global Jewish community, joined TOM:TLV as a strategic partner, with the hope of producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.    

This system allows people who are paralyzed from the neck down to turn pages in a book. ZOA Productions

Last summer’s TOM make-a-thon in Nazareth marked the very first TOM event, where teams of volunteers developed a robotic arm for a nine-year-old child, accessories aiding paralyzed limbs, and a hat that alerts the blind to physical obstacles.

The most recent event focused on product development teams to help people with disabilities be more independent and get more involved in their communities.