This month we’re putting the spotlight on Engineer and 2021 TOM: Melbourne Makeathon participant, Yow Wai Tham. Yow Wai graduated as a Mechanical Engineer and developed a career designing medical devices and automotive automatic transmissions. He has always been drawn to using his skills as an engineer to give back to the community.
Image description: Yow Wai smiling in front of a grey background
How did you hear about TOM: Melbourne? I first heard about TOM: Melbourne in my travels as an engineering student. I found them through their university campaigns and initiatives. TOM: Melbourne occupies the intersection of engineering and supporting the community – one which spoke deeply to me and I have not lost touch of them since! I’ve wanted to participate in the Makeathon since its inception in 2016. What was your role in Team Brenton? I started off as the Team Lead for Team Brenton and later decided to became a Maker given my mechanical design experience.
What was the challenge, and the solution in the end? Our challenge as Team Brenton was to find a way to enable Brenton to independently put on a pair of gloves for use while gardening. We designed a 3D printed assistive device onto which somebody assisting Brenton could roll a glove. Brenton could then independently use the device to position his hand in the glove and pull the glove onto his hand himself. The benefits of this were twofold: he could gain independence during this activity and since it could then be done with minimal supervision, freed his carer to do other things at the same time. How did you find the overall experience? In a nutshell – rewarding! I’ve always wanted to use my skills in service of the community. Being able to see such a direct impact was incredibly rewarding and was truly a privilege. It was extremely heartening to see the sheer number of people (Makers and Need-Knowers) volunteering together in service of our community. I loved seeing the diverse skill sets, perspectives and ideas come out of such multi-disciplinary teams. What are your top takeaways from your Makeathon experience? There’s massive community support and TOM: Melbourne is a rallying banner under which people can collectively gather - I have learnt that this is a hugely important role to play in the community. I have a newfound respect for the power of grassroots/bottom up movements – especially with much more affordable and democratised engineering resources today. I would do this again and am excited for what TOM: Melbourne has in store for the future!