top of page
Grey TOM banner.png


TOM 2019 Sunday High Res -348.jpg


We work with people with disability who have a specific need (‘Need-Knowers’) and connect them with a diverse group of professionals, including engineers, industrial designers, health professionals and tradespeople (‘Makers’).

Together, they co-design a solution that aims to solve a complex problem and improve the everyday life of the Need-Knower. The intellectual property for every design is then shared through open source digital files, so others can replicate or iterate it. Participation is free.

Keep reading to find out how to get involved!
About the program

Event Stages

Event Stages Banner Final.png
  1. Apply - During this phase, individuals with disabilities (Need-Knowers) identify a challenge that might be improved with a prototype and submit them, while professionals and volunteers (Makers) apply to offer their skills and creativity to develop practical solutions. Anyone can apply!

  2. Define - Makers and Need-Knowers can get to know each other, discuss the assigned challenges, commence designing solutions together. Continuing design work outside these sessions is encouraged.

  3. Refine - These sessions allow Makers proper time to plan and prepare the making of the product. If needed items are 3D modelled and ordered prior to the making. 

  4. Make - Teams spend 1–2 days creating their prototypes using rapid prototyping techniques. Teams document the assembly of their designs as they go; these files are then shared on our Design Solutions page.

  5. Evaluate - The TOM team will evaluate the created prototypes based on whether they are safe and fit for purpose before handing it over to the Need-Knower. If needed, further refinements might be made by our team or through another design event.

  6. Showcase - A celebration where teams proudly present their innovative prototypes to the wider community. It's a chance to highlight their achievements, share the impact of their work, and inspire others with their creative solutions.

Please note: whilst it is our aim is to ensure each team has the best possible chance of developing a solution that the Need-Knower can continue to use after the Makeathon, we cannot guarantee Need-Knowers will receive a working prototype solution given the nature of the program's limited time and resources. For any unfinished prototypes, we will work with the team to determine next steps. 


TOM 2019 Saturday High Res -215.jpg


Do you like problem solving, innovating and thinking outside the box? Do you want to volunteer your skills to make a real difference in the lives of those living with a disability?

Makers are engineers, designers, software and hardware developers, health professionals, hobbyists with a passion for social change.

Makers are placed in small teams and connected with Need-Knowers (individuals living a disability, support workers, family members, health professionals etc.) who will present their challenge.

Steve Wheelchair Bag System - TOM Melbou


Do you or someone you know or love, live with a disability? Do you have a specific challenge that you face on a daily basis?

Need-Knowers are individuals living with a disability, support workers, family members, allied health professionals, anyone with an intimate understanding of a neglected challenge. 

Need-Knowers join forces with teams of Makers with a passion for social change and problem solving to create a solution for a challenge presented by the Need-Knower.

Submit an Expression of Interest

bottom of page