Bay Area Makeathon offers tools for development of assistive technologies

Desktop 3-D publishing company MakerBot has announced a partnership with nonprofit group, Tikkun Olam Makers, to host the Bay Area Makeathon, a 72-hour event in which engineers, developers, designers and hobbyists meet to develop assistive technology.

The event will take place Sept. 11 to 13, 2015 in San Francisco, and will feature advanced manufacturing technologies, such as MakerBot 3-D printers, to help participants develop solutions for people with physical disabilities. Final projects will be presented before a panel of judges and final designs will be posted on Makerbot Thingverse, a 3-D design online community.

“Desktop 3-D printing democratizes medical innovation and opens up a whole new world of possibilities for disabled people around the world. Low-cost [prostheses] such as the Robohand have already made a significant impact and improved the lives of many,” Yuri Salnikoff, MakerBot’s chief marketing officer, said in a press release. “We are excited to partner with TOM [Tikkun Olam Makers] to showcase the power of 3-D printing and push the boundaries of assistive technology. We cannot wait to see what the participants create.”

“Our aim is to gather the best minds in technology and design to address the needs of people with disabilities,” Sefi Attias, TOM chief technology officer, said. “We gather to solve problems together and hope to change the world in 72 hours, or at least make it a slightly more livable place.”

The project judges for the event will include Anupam Pathak, senior engineer at Google Life and founder of Liftware; Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media; Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot; and Tom Chi, former head of product experience at Google X.

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