MakerBot Partners with TOM to Support Bay Area Makeathon for Assistive Technology

Volunteers Prototype Assistive Devices for People with Disabilities September 11-13 at TechShop San Francisco, Thingiverse Community to Further Develop Makeathon Designs

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — September 2, 2015 — MakerBot, a global leader in the desktop 3D printing industry, today announced a partnership with TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) to support the Bay Area Makeathon focused on assistive technology, sponsored by Engineers, developers, designers, and hobbyists will come together to develop hardware and software prototypes designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Participants will have access to advanced manufacturing technologies, such as MakerBot 3D printers, to develop solutions that address the challenges of disabled individuals who can’t find off-the-shelf products. MakerBot Learning 3D printing experts will also provide on-site support to assist participants in their projects.

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Tikkun Olam Makers Makeathon focused on disability. (Photo: Business Wire)

Tikkun Olam Makers Makeathon focused on disability. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Bay Area Makeathon takes place September 11-13 at the San Francisco branch of TechShop, a national chain of member-based workshops. The event is organized by TOM and UCP of the North Bay. MakerBot is the official desktop 3D printing partner. The Bay Area Makeathon is open to the media on September 11 - 13, 2015. Please RSVP to

“Desktop 3D printing democratizes medical innovation and opens up a whole new world of possibilities for disabled people around the world. Low-cost prosthetics, such as the Robohand, have already made a significant impact and improved the lives of many,” said Yuri Salnikoff, CMO of MakerBot. “We are excited to partner with TOM to showcase the power of 3D printing and push the boundaries of assistive technology. We can’t 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,” said Sefi Attias, CTO at TOM. “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.”

Part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, the Bay Area Makeathon brings together people with disabilities and makers from various backgrounds to build new connections, share experiences, and develop prototypes. For 72 hours at TechShop, they will work with modern fabrication tools, such as MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, CNC mills, laser cutters, and sandblasters. The teams will present their projects to a panel of judges on the last day of the event (September 13) for a chance to win prizes. The judges include:

  • Anupam Pathak, senior engineer at Google Life and founder of Liftware
  • Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media
  • Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot
  • Tom Chi, former head of product experience at Google X

Following the three-day event, the assistive technology designs will be posted on MakerBot Thingiverse, the largest 3D design community in the world. The Thingiverse community will be able to participate in a challenge that aims to further develop and enhance the designs that come out of the Bay Area Makeathon. Thingiverse already hosts a large amount of assistive technology designs, such as the Robohand project, which started on Thingiverse and has been further developed and remixed by the community.

TOM is a non-profit group specializing in running makeathons for assistive technology around the world, and MakerBot provides 3D printers for TOM events. Desktop 3D printing has introduced a new model for innovation to the medical field, in which anyone can turn ideas into physical objects and develop new products. Innovations from past TOM events include walking devices, connected crutches, a book-reading device, and more. MakerBot Replicators have also been used by researchers to develop 3D models that help surgeons prepare for surgery, grow cartilage to repair tracheal damage, fabricate customized dosages from pharmaceutical filament, and make low-cost prosthetic hands.

MakerBot® Replicator® 3D Printers are used by educators, engineers and designers to enhance education and transform the design process through Real-Time Prototyping™. MakerBot provides the most comprehensive 3D ecosystem in the desktop 3D printing industry to make 3D printing more accessible. The MakerBot 3D Ecosystem includes MakerBot Desktop software for preparing prints, the MakerBot Mobile app with cloud platform to initiate and monitor prints remotely, and MakerBot Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community. The MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder is a groundbreaking innovation that minimizes printing downtime by enabling users to swap a worn extruder in minutes. The Smart Extruder also allows users to adapt quickly to new innovations in the evolving world of 3D printing. When MakerBot introduces new materials like MakerBot Composite PLA , customers will be able to purchase a Smart Extruder made to handle the new filament, instead of having to buy an entirely new printer.

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