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TOM:DC 2016


Nova Labs proudly hosted TOM:DC 2016. During the 72 hour makeathon they developed hardware and software product prototypes designed to meet needs that people with disabilities identify are important to them. By bringing together people who understand the needs (‘need-knowers’)alongside engineers, designers, developers and makers, and providing a space for innovation and prototyping, teams successfully created solutions, made new connections and shared unique experiences.

Projects completed at TOM:DC

John Gluck, 8 years old and going into 3rd grade, John was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was in Kindergarten.

(Project 1) Team Elevator Button - John’s parents Charles and Jennifer installed an elevator in their house so John would have an easier time moving around. But as time goes on, it is becoming more challenging for John to push the elevator buttons. Together with a team of Makers from Booze Allen Hamilton Consulting Firm, they created a voice activated system to activate the elevator without violating the elevator warranty.  

Makers: Anand Pardeep, Arjun Pardeep, Thomas Muse and Jonathan Constantinies.

(Project 2) Team Active Shelves - Max Painley, 21, and Noam Platt, 26, formed a team to address John’s mobility needs, Painley is a senior at James Madison University studying engineering, with a minor in robotics, and Platt works as a healthcare designer in Lafitte, Louisiana. John uses a wheelchair and cannot reach much beyond his lap. This means that more often than not, he has to ask for help when he wants to reach for something. And so they came up with the idea of an accessible shelf: a system of shelves that would go up and down to the right height, and then slide out for John to reach into. The team is planning to continue this design and make it voice activated!

Makers: Noam Platt, Max Painly, and Fred Briggs

Read more:

Team Paper Towel Grabber -  Mana Momen, from Ashburn, Va., is a graduate student at George Mason University studying human factors and applied cognition. She was part of a team building a prosthetic hand for Jordan Reeves, 10, from Columbia, Mo. Jordan was born with a left arm that stops just above the elbow. For Jordan, she finds it challenging to pull paper towels from dispensers when her hand is wet. The team took on this challenge and really ran with it. They made a cuff that would wrap around Jordan’s arm, then worked with a GoPro mount so that they could screw on a modified selfie stick to the cuff. The selfie stick would serve as Jordan forearm, and at the end of the selfie stick various contraptions are attached to perform different tasks. They made a clipper that would help Jordan grab and pull paper towels, a backscratcher to get those elusive itches, and even something to hold playing cards with.

Makers: Mana Momen, Jade Garrett and Tony

Check out Jordan’s mom’s blog:

(Project 1) Air Tube Team - Judy uses a portable oxygen tank. Generally users are given about 15 meters of tubing, allowing them to walk around comfortably (this is great for walking around the house). Sometimes the tubing gets caught on an object resulting in the nasal cannula being pulled out - which can be painful and hazardous. Erica, Nick, and Sarah sat together with Judy and designed a magnetic connector midway through the tubing so when caught, the tubing will separate and Judy can comfortably re-attach.

Makers: Erica Kane, Nick Sipes, and Sarah Pickford

(Project 2) Team Air Flow Button - This team created a remote for a portable oxygen tank to increase or decrease the airflow.

Makers: Jessica Hott, Heather Button, Daniel Slaski, Becky Button and John Button

Holo Lens Team - Holo Lens is the newest Microsoft Augmented Reality System with less than 5000 released around the world - it’s set to hit the market in a year and a half. Steven cannot hear from his left ear and was looking for a way to identify sounds in his surroundings. The Holo Lens Team, developed software that uses sound recognition to alert Steven about what the sound is and where it is coming from. It is exciting to see this new product being used to help people with disabilities.

Makers:  James Ethan Fayne, Vinay Pai, Sam Winkelstein, Michael Barbine

Mobile Device Holder Team - Ian is a Maker and a Need Knower. He lost a leg from health complications and uses a motorized wheelchair. A few months ago Ian created an add-on connecting his phone to the wheelchair battery so he could charge his phone on the go. Ian was our most dedicated Maker at TOM:DC and was onsite for the full 72 hours; he was the go-to volunteer for anything anyone needed help with. Ian worked with Kathryn, who has CP to design a cell phone case that she can easily hold in her hand. 

Maker: Ian

3D Printed Hand, Aesthetic Prosthetic Team  - Using the e-NABLE design, Jade and Maria created two hands for a young veteran that lost her hand when she was in the military. Maria is a scout leader who drove in from Maine with girls to take part in the Makeathon. 


Meet the Makeathon Organizers: Bo Pollett, Brian Jacoby, and Fred Briggs

Thank you to the TOM:DC partners:

Earlier Event: June 3
TOM:Vietnam 2016
Later Event: August 25
miniTOM:JLM 2016 for Wounded Warriors