Harnessing disability tech

Cofounder of disabilities-focused tech project to visit Cornell
Friday, September 11, 2015

Arnon Zamir, co-founder of Project Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), an initiative that brings together innovation in technology and engineering to design assistive devices for people with disabilities, visits Cornell this month to introduce his work.

Cosponsored by ILR’s K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Employment and Disability Institute, Zamir’s presentation “Programming to Make a Difference” will take place on Sept. 17 at 5:00 p.m. in the Willard Straight Hall Art Gallery.

The presentation will focus on TOM, a hackathon project that invites developers, technicians, therapists, and people with disabilities to design machines and aids that facilitate independence and quality of life.

Hackathons are known in the tech industry as events in which those involved in both software and hardware development collaborate intensively on technology projects. TOM hackathons began in Israel and have since taken place all over the world.

Some of the new products developed to assist those with disabilities and resulting from TOM hackathons include the Internet-of-things Crutches that capture data for walking efficiency, the Ultrasight hat for assisting the visually impaired, and the Stair Climbing Walker that rotates to allow the user to safely climb steps.

 “EDI is excited to cosponsor this event that focuses on the power of creativity and the collaboration of disciplines to enhance the lives of people with disabilities at the workplace and in the community,” said Judy Young, associate director of training and development at ILR’s Employment & Disability Institute.

“As technology continues to evolve and improve quality of life and productivity, ILR students will develop a deeper appreciation on how this can impact the world of work,” Young says.

For more information on Zamir and TOM, please visit http://www.tomglobal.org/.