Skip to main content

TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers 2023 Make-A-Thon


Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), is a global movement of communities that creates and disseminates affordable solutions to neglected challenges of people living with disabilities. The TOM: Vanderbilt Make-a-thon is an annual event, held at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Center for Innovation, that pairs teams of Makers with Need-Knowers to build solutions for challenges that have long been neglected. Click here to learn more about TOM. 


2023 Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) Presentations

Team 1 –  Revolutionizing Liam’s Dining Experience: Liam, a seven-year-old living with Kleefstra Syndrome, faces mobility and communication challenges. Team 1 worked tirelessly to create a portable diaper-changing space that could attach to his family’s car to allow for privacy on long road trips. They also adapted silverware, ensuring it securely holds food, even when turned sideways, offering Liam greater independence during mealtime. View their presentation here. 








Team 2 – Navigational Aid for Robby Barbieri: Robby Barbieri, a Vanderbilt Alum, faces paralysis from the shoulders down due to a spinal injury. Team 2 successfully designed a durable, user-friendly computer/phone navigation tool, crucial for both Robby’s work and daily use of technology. View their presentation here. 









Team 3 – Safety Vest for Sushi and Jameson: Jameson, an elementary school student accompanied by his service dog, Sushi, required a new vest to keep him safe. Team 3 engineered an innovative vest design to ensure that Jameson remains close to Sushi, thereby enhancing his safety. View their presentation here. 











Team 4 – Adapting a recumbent bike for Oscar: Road cyclist Oscar faced a hemorrhagic stroke, affecting the functionality of his right side. Team 4 adapted his recumbent bike to assist him in changing gears without the use of his right hand. View their presentation here. 













Team 5 – Sensory Swatting Station for Helen: Seven-year-old Helen faces challenges related to seizures. Team 5 created a sensory swatting station that was adjustable and padded. View their presentation here. 















Team 6 – Accessible Music and Water Station for Susanna: Five-year-old Susanna, who is non-verbal and in a wheelchair, needed an accessible place to play. Team 6 Designed an adjustable music and water station. View their presentation here. 










Team 7 – Collapsible Wheelchair Ramp: Team 7 worked with an ambulatory wheelchair user to develop a collapsible ramp to facilitate travel with her new wheelchair in smaller vehicles.











Team 8 – In-Clinic Device for Head Leveling:  Team 8 assisted rehabilitation specialist Elise with an in-clinic device to project a horizontal line, assisting stroke patients in practicing head leveling. View their presentation here. 










Team 9 – Foot Brace for Gait Training: Rehabilitation specialist Kate needed an aid for patients with immobile legs. Team 9 designed a durable, easily attached foot brace  to aid therapists during gait training sessions. View their presentation here. 











Team 10 – Adaptive Mobility Aids for Mary: Mary faces challenges due to EDS syndrome. Team 10 adapted a collapsible and fashionable walker and cane, providing more practical options for her work environment. View their presentation here. 













Team 11 – Adaptable Grabber for Hugh: Hugh has club hand syndrome, and needed a grabber to pick up objects in various situations. Team 11 designed an adaptable grabber that allows him to grab items in the shower, hold his lightsaber, and even play with lego pieces. View their presentation here. 










Team 12 – Modified Gaming Tools for Mathias: 14-year-old Mathias recently had his arms and legs amputated. Team 12 modified an Oculus and created a stylus with attachments, allowing him to play video games and interact with devices from his hospital bed. View their presentation here. 








Team 13 – Personalized Go Baby Go Cars: Team 14 crafted personalized Go Baby Go cars for three children struggling with mobility issues, providing independent mobility through features like a “Go” button, safety measures, and parental control.









“This is the genius of the TOM:Makeathon process. When a team only focuses on the needs of their client instead of a population of users, they have very fast feed-back cycles and can make decisions faster to converge on solutions that work,” commented Prof. Kevin Galloway, Director of Making at the Wond’ry.