Ballarat resident Jo Smith is hoping a weekend 'makeathon' with a team of innovators will result in improvements to her independence.
A team of tech-savvy inventors from Ballarat and Melbourne will work with Ms Smith across two days in November to create a solution for two of her daily challenges - putting on her shoes and tying her shoelaces.
Ms Smith lives with a neurological degenerative muscular disease which limits her mobility in her arms and legs.
It is meant I can be independent.Jo Smith
She said a device to help hold her shoes open so she can easily slide her feet in and a device to help her undo and tie her laces without support would be life changing.
"Someone has to put my shoes on for me at the moment," Ms Smith said.
"A device to help me do this would mean I am not depending on others."
The Makeathon will be hosted in Ballarat by TOM: Melbourne.
TOM stands for Tikkun Olam Makers, a Hebrew phrase for acts of kindness.
It is a global movement of innovators that creates and builds products to improve the lives of people with a disability, where there is no obvious or current solution in the market.
See the explainer video from the global TOM movement explaining its purpose below.
Debbie Dadon AM, philanthropist and director of TOM: Melbourne, said she was excited bring the global Makeathon challenge to Ballarat.
"The ideas and solutions that are generated are simply phenomenal", she said.
"The beauty of these Makeathon's is that the designs can be replicated and go on to help many thousands of other people living with disabilities around the world, whose problems would otherwise go unnoticed and unsolved."
Ballarat Hackerspace Vice President Rob Layton will be working on 'team Jo' throughout the Makeathon weekend in Ballarat, alongside some of Ballarat's top designers, architects and occupational therapists.
Mr Layton said joining the Makeathon was appealing as he enjoyed creating new things and solving problems.
"I help run the Ballarat Hackerspace, so my hobby is building things. It is good to have an impact rather than build something for the sake of it," he said.
Mr Layton said he and others at Ballarat Hackerspace had long been thinking about the potential for technology, particularly 3D printers, to create solutions for others.
"Everyone who has a need has different needs and being able to build specific solutions is what the goal of 3D printing is," he said.
"3D printing is not a mass produced system, it is about designing one offs. There are a few groups out there doing 3D printing for prosthetic arms.
"It is difficult for businesses to make a profit off this level of customisation so it is up to community to do these things."
Since the launch of TOM: Melbourne in 2016, 28 prototypes have been developed by more than 300 makers and more than 30 people living with unique challenges.
Ms Smith participated in a Makeathon in Melbourne in June where makers created a specially designed toothbrush that wraps around her hand and a toothpaste dispenser that releases toothpaste without having to squeeze the tube.
The TOM: Ballarat Makethon takes place on November 23 and 24 at the Ballarat Tech School.
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