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TOM:SF 2015

  • San Francisco California (map)

Carry Crutches: WHAT IF there was a way for people on crutches or walkers to safely carry around drinks without spilling them? When you're on crutches or a walker, there isn't a way to carry your food or drink without spilling it. Carriers exist, but they aren’t spill-proof. I recently broke my femur and was on crutches for 8 weeks. Since I live alone, moving around on crutches was very frustrating. –Daisy

Quick Speak: WHAT IF Google Glass could give those who can’t speak or type the ability to express themselves in real time? My daughter is nonverbal and has limited mobility. She is very social and engaged, but her biggest frustrations come from the inability to share her thoughts and ideas as quickly as they come. Current communication devices require excessive "scrolling" through information to find what you want to say, or demands someone with limited motor skills to type out individual letters in a message. It’s impossible to communicate in real time. –Tanya

Free2Pee: WHAT IF there was a solution that enabled female wheelchair users to relieve themselves cleanly, safely and comfortably, reducing the need to transfer in and out of their wheelchairs? Disabled women, like all women, need to pee. But wheelchairs are designed as if men’s and women's bodies are the same. Disabled males don’t need to transfer out of their wheelchairs to pee, but women and girls do, which is difficult to do independently. And power wheelchairs don’t have a feature to make it easier for people to pee who can’t get out of their wheelchairs by themselves. I know many women with power wheelchairs who don’t work simply because there is no easy way to use the bathroom. –Corbett

Adventure Kayak: WHAT IF there was an adaptive technology that could allow people with disabilities to safely participate in adventure sports like rafting, kayaking, or canoeing? I would love create a lightweight quick release adaptive gripping system so that people with hand and grasp issues could hold a paddle with agility and confidence so they could independently raft, kayak, canoe, etc. I would also create an inflatable adaptive seat and adjustable back that provides excellent support for people with mobility issues so they could sit upright and paddle a raft, kayak or canoe independently. –Diane

iEat: WHAT IF there was an affordable, reliable, and comfortable way to enable people with limited hand control to independently feed themselves? For a person with limited hand control, holding and using a spoon, fork, or knife to eat is a challenge. Typically, a person with limited hand control must rely upon someone else to feed them, which is logistically unsustainable and costly. There are feeding devices available, but they typically cost thousands of dollars and often promise more than they deliver. I have limited assistance during mealtime and must often eat like an animal once my plate is in front of me. I doubt I need to describe how that makes me feel. I believe that an independent feeding device could make a significant difference in the lives of many people with a similar need. –Zebreda

Kicker Helper: WHAT IF there was an assistive device that allowed children in wheelchairs to “kick” a ball by pushing a button so that they can engage in sports with their able-bodied friends? I’m an adapted PE teacher and work with students with moderate to severe disabilities. Adapted PE has to be creative and challenging, but within their reach. I've created a device that attaches to the side of a student’s wheelchair so when they pull the handle, the target strikes the ball. Students who have lower limb mobility issues can now be included in ball games. But what about students who can't move the handle?

Bridgeit: WHAT IF there was an assistive device that made it comfortable and safe to get in and out of a wheelchair independently, so wheelchair users can be more self-reliant? I use a wheelchair every day of my life. While I am otherwise independent and self-reliant, the challenge of safely moving myself from the chair to the toilet seat is really dreadful. Some existing solutions are impractical in terms of their size or the cumbersome process that I need to go through to use them. It would be great if a simple, safe, light and reliable device could be developed that would help me become independent in this intimate part of my life which we all have to take care of.

Smart Ass: WHAT IF there were thin stickers with sensors on a wheelchair’s seat to map out the pressure points then send the data to your smartphone to prevent pain, pressure sores, and other health risks? (a innovation award winner!) I have a neuromuscular condition, and due to my disability I sit in my wheelchair 14–16 hours every day. Any wheelchair user will tell you that the seat cushion is a critical part of their body/wheelchair relationship. But changes in the body (such as weight, balance, weakness) can create differences in a person's weight distribution in the seat. Inadequate inflation of a seat cushion or lack of support can lead to a list of dangerous health issues, which are magnified by people who have no sensation in their lower body.

Team Crush: WHAT IF there was a medicine grinder that quickly, reliably, and consistently prepared pills to be administered as powder? My little brother receives meds, water, and food through a tube that feeds directly into his stomach. Most of his medication is in pill form so it must be crushed before administered. We currently use a mortar and pestle, but with this method it’s tricky to pour powdered medicine, there’s always some left behind in the mortar, it’s time-consuming and difficult for someone new to learn, and it’s inconvenient in travel situations.

Medadata: WHAT IF there was a way to understand exactly how medications taken affect the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease so that the drugs’ benefits are maximized? I have Parkinson’s Disease, and take medications to treat my condition. I would like to have a better overall understanding of how my medications actually impact the shaking resulting from Parkinson’s. I would like to know how long it takes until the medicine impacts my shaking, and how long the effect lasts. I’d also like to find the optimal time to take my medication and maximize those benefits. Ideally, this product will also generate data which can be utilized and shared with drug companies and medical providers to better the drugs they provide. –Drew

Braille: I am blind and would like to use a refreshable Braille display with my computer or smartphone. However, Braille displays are extremely expensive, costing an average of from $50.00 to $100.00 per Braille character. For example, one could spend from $2,000 to $4,000 for a Braille display that shows a single line of 40 Braille characters. There is a need to reduce that cost per character by a factor of from 5 to 10 ($200 to $400 for a 40 character display.) Many have tried to break the Braille display price barrier, but nobody has successfully brought a really affordable display to market. Can you make the breakthrough?

DoorMan Assistant:  I work at a place that doesn't have automatic door openers. Because of my Cerebral Palsy, I am in an electric wheelchair. Because the right side of my body is affected by CP, I primarily use my left hand. I would like to be able to open doors by myself without having to rely on other people for assistance. The team created a very simple hanger shaped  plastic device that keep the door open so she can push the door open.

Sign to Speech: Julia Valmarrosa  is deaf and only communicates through sign language and an interpreter. She is looking for a way to live independently with poeple easily understanding her. The team developed a device and algorithm to translate her signing to text on the screen.

Seismiclink: Many patients with seizure disorders will rapidly draw their arms into their chests during seizures. I am proposing a discrete armband that simultaneously monitor heart rate and has a has a motion sensor to detect when there is rapid arm movement from the waist to the chest. If some pre-determined threshold is exceeded then it should alert a loved one's phone (similar to this fall alert device:, which is frequently distributed amongst senior citizens).

NowMobility: How can you motorized a manual wheelchair and meneuver? Motorized Wheelchairs are very expensive, not everyone can afford them, and many users only need a manual wheelchair. The team added a battery, arduino board and some gears and now every weelchair can transform into an electric wheel chair controlled by a smartphone.

Grabber: Kim Lathrop was born without arms or legs. She lives on her own and as you can imagine, every day is a challenge. She was looking for assistive technology ideas to better aid her around the house, i.e. cooking, cleaning and most importantly opening and closing doors so that she is able enter and exit her home when she need to. The team created a device that she can grab things with her mouth and bring them closer for ease of use.

GoCar! Adapting children cars for children with disabilities.

Flash Light: FlashSight is software application created for people with visual impairment. It is a simple and intuitive way to explore, to assess, and to recognize the surrounded environment with the help of virtual audible signs. A world without access to printed signs and surrounding landmarks often leaves people with vision loss lacking the necessary information to successfully navigate the physical environment. Flashsight helps fill in the gaps left by location or routing applications: - These applications focus on spatial language (Ex: North, 2 o'clock) which is more cognitively taxing or users are left not sure if the direction are accurate ("Is it my 2 o'clock right now, or when I first loaded the directions?"). - These applications focus on street intersects and don't provide users with a sense of context and their environment. Telling a user to turn left at the coffee shop (which they might be able to hear and smell) may be more meaningful. - These applications not provide the customize level of Categories temporary or permanent status. - These applications not support the selective level receiving information from high to low. Give the User possibility to listen only POI's Name or More details gradual. - They don't provide users with larger landmarks that can help orient a user in the larger area. When we see the tall buildings of downtown, we have a better sense of where we are. - They don't address the smooth transition and connection between outdoor and indoor orientation. - Points of interest are listed linearly based on the developer's choice (ordered alphabetically, on popularity, on distance, on time, etc.). - Finally, none of these applications not give User opportunity to create, edit, share, and delete their own audible signs and landmarks. Our mission was to create FlashSight App that will using an iPhone as a receiver for virtual transmitters that mark signs and landmarks in the real-world environment within “sighted” directional distance. The goal was to produce FREE software for people with visual impairment by utilizing the potentials of audible augmented reality technology, by optimizing the native features of mobile devices, and by integrating the psychoacoustics research.

Beity: The project is a self-contained miniature toy house, which narrates pre-recorded trauma therapy for kids suffering with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the Syrian civil conflict and resettlement. The device is called Beity, which means "my home" in Arabic.

Earlier Event: March 15
TOM:TLV 2015
Later Event: September 11
TOM:Calgary 2015