With the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip and Israel, the tensions within the middle east are at a boiling point. With Hamas militants bombarding Israel with rockets, and Israel firing back with a response which has been the most devastating we have seen to the Palestinians in quite some time, thousands of civilians are now dead. With the fighting going on between governments (if you consider Hamas a government and not just a terrorist
group), the last thing you would expect would be Jews and Arabs working in conjunction with one another, over the course of several days, in order to help the disabled.
This is just what one organization called TOM, which stands for Tikkun Olam Makeathon (Hebrew for ‘Improving The World’) did last month in Nazareth, Israel. For a 72 hour period, 120 makers and innovators from six different countries, including Arabs and Jews, worked to come up with innovations which would help those who are disabled overcome their disabilities. Using several tools, including 11 3D printers, 2 laser cutting machines and 3 CNC routing mills, teams worked on 13 different projects.
“Our goal in TOM was to engage an interdisciplinary group of people in a marathon of making, creating solutions that will serve the needs of those living with disabilities,” stated the organization.
All 13 projects were exceptional, however, one particular project stands out. An inter-disciplinary group of makers, led by a man named Ilan Sherman, an extremely talented mechanical engineer, and Spair Caduri, a C.S. student from Tel Aviv, specializing in software development, created a 3D printed robotic arm. The arm, which was constructed within a 72 hour span for a paraplegic man, enabled him to use a mouth controlled device to control the arm, pick objects up, and even use a digital camera to take a selfie.
I was able to get in touch with Arnon Zamir, the COO of XLN.org.il, and the Co-Founder of TOM, who provided details of just how big of a part 3D printing had played in the development of this amazing device.
The arm consisted of PVC pipes (drainage tubes), and 3D printed connectors, gears, gripper and stand,” explained Zamir. “It has 4.5 degrees of freedom, and the prototype is operated by electrical pistons and stepping motors.”
In total, it took about 9 hours to print out the main portion of the mechanical arm, and several iterations were done during the 72 hour make-a-thon. All the parts were printed on an Objet Connex350 3D printer, which Stratasys was generous enough to lend to the organization through their local distributor, Su-Pad.
“TOM’s vision is to become a global, regularly reoccurring event. We are in the process of enabling numerous groups to use our experience and connections, as well as the TOM brand in creating their own local events,” stated Zamir. “We are happy to be in touch with groups using 3D printing to create innovative technological events for the benefit of people with disabilities and of humanity at large.”
Let’s hear what you think about this incredible organization and event, in the 3D printed mechanical arm forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below are two amazing videos, the first highlighting the 3D printed mechanical arm, and the second highlighting several of the projects, including a 3D printed hand for a 9-year-old boy, as well as an instrument to create music via brain waves, which were undertaken at the event. This project was the initiative of Reut and Schustermann.
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