Nur-Sultan Makeathon to build tech for people with disabilities

NUR-SULTAN – Creative innovators will attempt to solve challenges set by people with disabilities in just 72 hours at the capital’s Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM): Nur-Sultan Makeathon Oct. 25-28, reports the Nazarbayev University press office.

Photo credit: nu.edu.kz.

TOM Makeathon is a 72-hour marathon that unites makers, such as engineers, programmers, craftspeople and doctors, to develop assistive technology solutions for ‘need knowers’, people with disabilities. It has been brought to the capital by the Nur-Sultan Akimat (city administration), Nazarbayev University’s Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory), Tel-Aviv University Friends Association and Astana Jastary.

Teams of makers will meet with need knowers to brainstorm ideas for an innovative solution to an everyday problem at PreTOM Sept. 20. The teams will finalise their chosen idea over the next month by consulting with experts. They will develop and present their prototypes during the 72-hour marathon Oct. 25-28.

TOM Makeathon in Nur-Sultan in 2018. Photo credit: kazakhstan.tomglobal.org.

The hope is that TOM Makeathon participants will also go on to have careers where they will apply the knowledge and skills gained in designing with and for people with disabilities. For example, a team created a suspension system for rehabilitating people with musculoskeletal disorders at a TOM Makeathon in Karaganda and later installed it in the city’s rehabilitation centre LUCH.

Launched in 2014 in Israel, TOM aims to improve the lives of 250 million people in the next decade. Kazakhstan’s contribution to this vision has grown since its first TOM Makeathon in Pavlodar in 2017. 

Since then, a soft exoskeleton for rehabilitating people after a stroke was created in Pavlodar, a device assisting people with paralysis to conduct hygiene procedures was created in Nur-Sultan, a device for calling the attention of people with hearing impairments to prevent street accidents was created in Almaty and a white cane for people with vision impairments that costs a mere 10,000 tenge (US$25.78) was created in Karaganda.

Individuals or teams of three to five people of any age and profession from Nur-Sultan may apply to participate in the TOM: Nur-Sultan Makeathon at www.kazakhstan.tomglobal.org Aug. 15-Sept. 15. The selected applicants will be announced Sept. 17.