We rely on assistive technology for everything from holding utensils better to using a complex communication device. Makers Making Change is helping to create both custom and affordable assistive tech for all abilities and needs.
In this episode, Jen talks with healthcare architect Noam Platt about Makers Making Change, an organization that is creating affordable assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. They discuss how this program works, types of assistive tech that are being made to order, as well as tech designs that can be downloaded and made at home.
Additionally, mentioned in the podcast, they discuss 3D printing and generative design, for those interested in learning more about how this process works, check out the courses offered by PrintLab.
Jen Lyman (00:00):
Welcome to Cerebral Palsy Health. I'm your host, Jen Lyman. And on today's episode, I'm going to have my friend and super interesting guy, Noam Platt, talking about an organization that he's involved with called Makers Making Change that helps people with disabilities and their caregivers design and create affordable assistive technology, which is two things that I never thought I'd say in the same sentence, affordable and assistive tech. So, it's something we desperately need. It's something I love talking about, and I'm thrilled to have Noam on the show, and I hope you all enjoy the show.
Jen Lyman (00:38):
Welcome to the Cerebral Palsy Health podcast. We dive deep into health topics that impact people with cerebral palsy, such as stem cells, genetics, neuroplasticity, exercise and fitness, nutrition, accessibility, issues that can be confusing or controversial, and those that offer hope but might not live up to the hype. I'm your host, Jen Lyman. Join me in conversations with leading experts as we separate fact from fiction, tackle tough to understand topics, and try to shed light on how best to maximize and optimize health participation and quality of life for those with cerebral palsy.
Jen Lyman (01:16):
Noam is a healthcare architect and chapter leader for Makers Making Change, New Orleans. He has participated in a number of events to design and produce assistive technology. His goal is to bring people together to engage in assistive design, to create a flourishing community of makers and need-knowers. His inspiration is his cousin, who currently is filming a TV show in Israel, making custom ability devices for kids. You can find Noam hanging with his dog, Zeke, on his computer 3D modeling, or in his garage throwing some pottery. I'd also like to add that Noam was formally a counselor and administrator at Camp Dream Street for kids with cerebral palsy. And a fun fact about him is that he's been the state fencing champion, and he's currently or maybe thinking about currently teaching adaptive fencing, and he's trying to get Bauer to become an adaptive fencer. Welcome, Noam.
Noam Platt (02:08):
Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to be here. I'm very excited, and I appreciate those additional addendums on my bio. That's very, very nice. Thank you.
Jen Lyman (02:17):
Absolutely. And it's a small world thing because the way we met took us around the world and back, and it turned out that we have a very close connection to Camp Dream Street. My son is a camper there, and it turned out that your brother was a counselor there. And we met because I found you in an article in the Washington Post about seven years ago. And I contacted you because I was in the process of designing and creating adaptive portable toilet for people with poor trunk control.
Jen Lyman (02:51):
And I was working with a physician at Johns Hopkins, and one of his medical students who was also an engineer, and we were trying to come up with this design and then all of a sudden, I get this article from my cousin and it's talking about you and this Makers Making Change or TOM, this other organization that you're involved with. I saw that you were from New Orleans and I just had to send you an email, and we've been sitting on the toilet together ever since. I think I've got to joke about that. I think I've been sitting on this toilet for seven years, and I finally have some movement.
Noam Platt (03:27):
[crosstalk 00:03:27] finally, something's moving along. Absolutely.
Jen Lyman (03:29):
Absolutely. So, how did you get into this? What was your inspiration?
Noam Platt (03:34):
That's great. And as you mentioned, that article was about a make-a-thon that was held in Virginia by an organization named TOM, who runs these make-a-thon forces of technology. I really got into this starting at Camp Dream Street really. As you said, I worked as a counselor and then administrator at Camp Dream Street. As people who've been involved with Dream Street knows it's the best week of the year, and it's absolutely so much fun and great. And my little brother as well experienced that as well. Dream Street really informed me as a professional going into architecture.
Noam Platt (04:10):
And then, as I moved through my architectural career and gained more design skills, I was thinking about some of the things, some of the challenges that we see at Dream Street, and some of the things that technology that could benefit the campers at Camp Dream Street. And my cousin actually started this organization named TOM in Israel. And TOM stands for Tikkun Olam Makers. Tikkun Olam is a Hebrew word, a really Hebrew phrase for making the world a better place. And so, these are makers who are then making the world a better place. He really got me to sign up for the first TOM event in the United States, which was in San Francisco. And then, I did the one in DC a couple of years later, and really, that's how I got into this kind of work. Yeah.
Jen Lyman (04:54):
That's super awesome. It's neat to see somebody get inspired by kids like my kid and by this amazing camp that has been such a huge part of our lives for 10 years now. So, can you tell me a little bit about Makers Making Change?
Noam Platt (05:12):
Absolutely. So, Makers Making Change is a Canadian organization that started about three years ago, and they're actually spawned from one of these TOM events that would took place in Canada, and they're run by the Neil Squire Society. Neil Squire was a star student athlete, I believe, in the 80s, and he got, unfortunately, in a really bad car accident and was a tetraplegic from then on. And so, his friends and family who had skills with technology and were inventors and things like that built him a mouth stick device so he could communicate in Morse code, and they built a computer system that would translate this Morse code to text. So, this was a very early computer system and really was one of the first devices like this. That same group of people kept on doing this kind of work, and they formed the Neil Squire Society. So, Makers Making Change is a program of the Neil Squire Society, and Neil Squire Society as a whole, Makers Making Change is one of their programs. They also have a lot of computer access programs for people with disabilities and people who can't necessarily afford computers.
Jen Lyman (06:19):
So, what is Makers Making Change actually do? How does it work? And maybe I should back up a little bit and ask, what is assistive technology? What are the types of things that is being made by this organization?
Noam Platt (06:38):
Sure. I mean, assistive technology is a really broad term, and I like to define it as broadly as possible, and it's really anything that can help anybody do a task a little easier with a little more comfort. That includes everything from computer assistive devices, mouth stick controllers, all the way to pen holders, or even a device I'm working right now to help engage and disengage a zipper easier. Those are all examples of assistive technology. One of the big problems now, and I'm sure many of your listeners know as well, is a lot of the technology can be very, very expensive and cost-prohibitive, and it's tricky to get some of this covered with insurance and things like that. So, Makers Making Change really fills the gap between the need and then the ability to actually get this technology into people's hands.
Noam Platt (07:28):
And the way it works is there are communities that are all across North America and Canada and the United States of makers, and then people who are requesters, who are requesting the technology, the different items that are hosted on the Makers Making Change website. So, as requests come in, the chapter coordinators of the specific communities will coordinate with the local makers to 3D print or making a traditional shop some of these devices, and then distribute them to the people who need them. It's really a peer-to-peer network distributed manufacturing across North America is really what it is and its people who are working on these devices for people with disabilities. A lot of these devices are very useful to people who might be elderly or may have trouble holding a pen or things like that. So really, a whole range of devices and a large universe of people making them as well.
Jen Lyman (08:28):
So, it brings me to the idea of this project that you and I have going on together with the portable adaptive toilet because I'm getting to see the process from me bringing you my idea, and then you putting it on this platform, and then all of a sudden, we now have lots of people that are involved in this process that are now able to help with the design process, put, give their input into the process, listen to me and what our needs are. You've brought in... Now, we have a team in New Orleans that has come to my house, and we're going to be having a make-a-thon in July to do this. Maybe you could elaborate a little bit more on how the behind the scenes works. And also, I know this is happening in all these different communities, and they're all over the United States and Canada at this point. I believe that our listeners would just Google or put Makers Making Change in the website, and then they can look for their local chapter, and then go from there. But let's backtrack and talk about how that process works a little bit.
Noam Platt (09:42):
Sure. So, everything's run through the Makers Making Change for them, and I encourage everyone to go check it out. That's really interesting. And Makers Making Change does have a large library of a few hundred devices that are ready to go that they test and test for their veracity, but just like you, there's lots of people that have needs for devices that don't exist. And so, one of my favorite places on the website is the request area, where people post ideas for things that have yet to be invented or yet to be designed and posted. And that's really what the one to go, and the portable adaptive toilet seat is, it's a new request for new device. So, this is a interesting section of Makers Making Change. And one that I hope they grow more is this real design work that we're undertaking. I think we're a little bit unique in national chapters to have this close relationship with the design team to move your idea through a prototype and a model and everything to a product that hopefully you can actually use.
Noam Platt (10:44):
I think it's really important, and I hope people listening out there will reach out to their architect friends and their designer friends, and ask them to help with some of these things that haven't necessarily been made yet because I believe that there's just not a large visibility in the design community for this kind of work to begin with. And then, just like we've discovered, once we start showing it to people, it really engages them and they want to join and help out. We do have a local team, and we have members participating from Israel and Canada, and it's a really fun collaborative process too. It really is just another segment of design. This is my background as an architect played into this, but really, I don't think of myself as so much a designer. That word carries such like a cachet of a black turtleneck and this and that. It's really more about just being able to listen and have some empathy to understand what your needs are on a really basic level, and then draw something and come up with something to help address that.
Jen Lyman (11:50):
We all are certainly doing it. It's been remarkable to have these meetings and see the different iterations as we're creating this toilet. And hopefully, we'll have a prototype soon, and then we'll be able to put this as... I guess, another part of this is that it's open source, so once the design is out there, I believe that people would have the ability to 3D print it or manufacture it for themselves or hire somebody to manufacture it for them. And maybe you can elaborate a little bit more on that. Part of the problem that I found was that there is no product that existed that met our needs that was also affordable. I did a large survey of families and that was one of the huge things that kept on coming up, was number one, there wasn't anything. There was one product on the market, but it was so prohibitively expensive, and insurance didn't cover it, and it didn't suit the needs of the family.
Noam Platt (12:48):
It didn't quite work correctly.
Jen Lyman (12:49):
It didn't work. So, it wasn't truly portable, so you can't lug it through an airport and you have to check it. So, we were definitely trying to find a solution. I'm hopeful that through this process, we'll be able to have something that's affordable for families that they can... If they've got friends that are makers or engineers, or know how to 3D print stuff, this would be something that they could get relatively inexpensively, which leads me to a question off a little bit, but we've talked about 3D printing, and I've never seen anything 3D printed ever. And I know that you need to show me, but could you maybe explain to the listeners a little bit about how that works?
Noam Platt (13:38):
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I'll just talk about the open source idea first.
Jen Lyman (13:43):
Noam Platt (13:43):
This is really important. Makers Making Change, it is about having this open source environment. The idea is to finish this design or get it to a really good point, and then have people at Makers Making Change test it, and then have other people in the community test it and refine the design and just make it better and better. The idea is for it to be democratized and available to everybody. I just wanted to make sure that people understand that.
Jen Lyman (14:09):
And that it's tested.
Noam Platt (14:11):
And that it's tested and safe. It's very, very, very important.
Jen Lyman (14:15):
Yeah. These are engineers. They are architects and people that actually know what they're doing.
Noam Platt (14:22):
As far as 3D printing, I think just a larger discussion about how manufacturing is changing and additive manufacturing is the industry term for it. Really, the barrier to entry to a 3D printer or to do some basic computer modeling is really quite low. 3D printer, for those of you who haven't seen one is it looks like a desktop printer, but there's a plastic spool hooked into an extruder head or a print head, and it can make a 3D object relatively quickly, few hours for something the size of your phone or something like that.
Noam Platt (15:02):
The great thing about it, that it allows for quick iterations and you can print something and test it and print it again. For example, the zipper assistive device I was working on last weekend. I could print about five or six versions in a day, so I could really use it and try again and try again. And so, that's a really important part of our process that we're undertaking. It's really available to everybody. The printer I have at my house is not anything extravagant. It's a $200 model. For everything on the Makers Making Change website, it's ready to be printed.
Jen Lyman (15:36):
That was going to be my next question-
Noam Platt (15:37):
Yeah. So, you-
Jen Lyman (15:37):
... was if you found something like a sip puff or an adaptive joystick, for example. I know I've seen lots of different joysticks up there and some pretty adaptive controllers for your video games, things like that. Those are things that people could just go on the Makers Making Change website and download, and then print.
Noam Platt (16:02):
Well yeah, especially the more simpler assistive technologies like a pen ball or a key turner or a grocery bag holder. These are all relatively simple devices. Those are ready to go. You click print, the printer does the printing, and that you're ready to use them. An item like a sip puff controller has quite a big electronic component. And Makers Making Change can supply you with the entire circuit board and everything you need to solder minus a soldering iron and very great instructional videos about how to put that together. But if you're not a maker or versed in that world of programming, I think it's a little challenging. But they will sell you one fully assembled for about $250 or $200, which is still [crosstalk 00:16:49] of the price.
Jen Lyman (16:51):
A huge difference. Exactly. I know. Yeah, your insurance company isn't going to necessarily buy you a second one if you break your first one.
Noam Platt (16:57):
That's right. And Makers Making Change, the events they like to throw are build-a-thon. As opposed to a make-a-thon, which is more of an innovation event, a build-a-thon is more of let's build 10 sip puff controllers. Here's a group of students from a university or high school, and they all are learning how to solder, so let's build a hundred switches, adaptive switches. And they're really great and very successful too. So, we're hoping to have some events like that in New Orleans when people request that amount of items or we find the need that amount of items.
Jen Lyman (17:32):
Noam Platt (17:33):
Jen Lyman (17:33):
So, as far as the products that are being made at these build-a-thons and actually the stuff that's also available on the website as far as people are, if they're downloading it, how are they different than what people would buy if they went on one of the special needs websites or assistive technology websites that are out there? Is it just the price? Can you explain a little bit of the difference?
Noam Platt (18:02):
Sure. Yeah. So, definitely price is a factor in a lot of these things. I think on some devices, the assistive technology marketplaces are probably the right place to go. I think one of the main things is there's a support community built around all of these devices. You can ask questions, you can ask for modifications, too, and there'll be people from Makers Making Change who will modify the models. If you need something maybe more ergonomic or it needs to fit on a specific chair or to a specific system, they'll help modify that and send it to you and prototype it for you. I think that's a big difference as well. And then also, like I said, the requests. I mean, requests, I've seen them go from requests to an item on the Makers Making Change website on the library in a couple months based on who's working on it and the complexity. So, I think that's a big difference as well. It's really a lot more interactive than just like a store. It's a really community that you're engaging with.
Jen Lyman (19:06):
Yeah, it's definitely... For me, I've purchased plenty of equipment off of random websites. And you're right, it's that it's this specialty design and the thing... I find that I'll get things in the mail and then I'll still have to modify them even more. To have the ability to work with somebody on the front-end and have it come and not have to put a little extra duct tape on it or some pool noodles or whatever because it's come to you, customized for you, and it's cheaper, it's a pretty cool feature of Makers Making Change. Do they interact with TOM still?
Noam Platt (19:48):
That's a great question. They did run a build-a-thon together in New York, a TOM and Makers Making Change build-a-thon. I believe it was a couple of months ago in February. The organizations are definitely interacting, but something interesting to note is that TOM started in Israel in 2014. Makers Making Change started, I believe, in 2017 or '18. And so, they're relatively new organizations. When I say there's a lot of innovation in this space, I'm not just talking about the new devices or technologies. The way these devices are delivered is still being worked out, and they're still coming up with new ways to do it.
Noam Platt (20:28):
Makers Making Change's one model, where you have chapters, and each chapter works together to produce for their local needs. TOM is going to be starting a new website where it's going to be a little bit more like a typical consumer website where, say, you want to buy a key turner or a pen ball and you could click buy. It can say, New Orlean's Makers Making Change can do it for $5 and you'll get it in two months time, or this commercial 3D printing company could do it for $20 and you'll get it in three days. So, that's something they're coming out with soon.
Jen Lyman (21:07):
That's a neat idea.
Noam Platt (21:07):
Yeah. I think the organizations themselves are coming up with new ways to find people who need the devices and engage with them and make it more streamlined as well. And TOM, I want to mention, does also have a library of assistive devices. Many of them are prototypes. They're not finished. Some are. I encourage everyone to go look at both libraries because they're really, really neat, and a lot of the ones in the TOM libraries came from the make-a-thons. The ideas came from there. One of my favorite on there is a bowling ball thrower that's controlled with a few buttons, and it launches a bowling ball at pretty fast velocity. It's really neat. All the instructions are on there, too, if you want to make one yourself. Those are really great resources, and there's lots of really interesting devices on both websites.
Jen Lyman (22:02):
I think one of the devices that you worked on is the shelving that changes heights. I know that that's something that so many families would be interested in. Is that on, which one? That's on TOM?
Noam Platt (22:16):
Yeah. That's a great project, and that's the one that I worked on in Virginia. This is a project for a young man named Jonathan, who now is an actor. He really wanted a shelf that would come up to his lap height for him in his chair and then pivot out so he can maneuver to the shelf and grab tissues or candy or whatever else he wanted to keep on the shelf. And so, we had a working prototype through a TOM event within a few days. His mom, also named Jen, is a Master Electrical Engineer, so after we had the mechanical part done with make-a-thon, she made it voice-controlled from John's chair. They went through a number of iterations. She kept on working on it. And unfortunately, I think it eventually broke, but Jen has an amazing website, jenmadeit.com. I'm going to plug that here.
Jen Lyman (23:11):
Noam Platt (23:13):
She's been designing assistive technology for her son for many years, and that's the repository of all her blog and notes and everything. She does have an instructable on the robotic shelf that is worth checking out. Yeah.
Jen Lyman (23:29):
Cool. All of this, TOM and Makers Making Change and jenmadeit will all be on my website in the show notes as well for folks' access. Some of the cool things that I've seen or the ideas that I've come up with just talking to you, there was, I think, recently in the newsletter was event tray holder, which is a fascinating thing to me that people would need that because you would think that that would just come with your wheelchair, it would come with the vent, but apparently, that's something that people need. And then, just specialized trays like lap trays. For my son, having a specialized lap tray that would hold his drink where it wouldn't fall out or something like that is something that any of these that could be made through this process.
Jen Lyman (24:19):
You've brought the pinball to my house. Like I said, I've seen all the joystick designs, but I can't talk enough about how cool this process is and how being able to really hold the stuff, see it, and see that it actually is really high quality. It's not just cheap junk that you're getting. You're getting really well-designed equipment at an affordable price, so that's super cool to me. I guess, moving forward, what do you think is going to have the biggest impact from these organizations?
Noam Platt (24:58):
It's a really great question, and I think there's a human answer, and I think there's technology answers too. I think the technology answer is, like I mentioned earlier, a lot of the design tools are becoming much easier to use for people from all walks of life to participate in the process, and it's a lot less mystified. And so, I think going forward as really advanced tools like generative design, things that are way out of my wheelhouse.
Jen Lyman (25:27):
What does that mean?
Noam Platt (25:28):
Generative design is inputting a certain set of parameters into a model for a computer to then come up with thousands of ways to do it. This is a process they use much higher tech manufacturing than what we're discussing now, but it's starting to become a lot more accessible to consumers, people like me and you.
Jen Lyman (25:49):
So, like AI? Is that what-
Noam Platt (25:51):
Yeah, it uses an AI where if I was to do a design, I could come up with maybe five or 10, it could do that many thousand times over, and then could come up with the best forms based on the forces at play.
Jen Lyman (26:05):
Noam Platt (26:06):
Yeah. So, this might be too high tech to keep in, but for instance, I want to see a future where you could basically measure the forces of somebody sitting on a toilet seat and the computer would come up with a very efficient design for those exact forces. And so, it wouldn't be so much as something we came up with, something kind of the computer design. Those are the kind of the things in the future, I think, that are going to make these technologies much more effective and easier to produce in the long run.
Jen Lyman (26:39):
Yeah. And I've imagined the idea of being able to somehow scan somebody's body and have the computer look at that scan and be like, okay. It's almost like our Invisalign braces or something like that. They can look at our teeth and somehow create a plan for how to straighten them. Kind of a similar thing. You could take that toilet seat. You could have somebody sitting in the toilet seat position and say, okay, this is the way the toilet's going to best support their body. That would be-
Noam Platt (27:09):
It could all be done digitally.
Jen Lyman (27:11):
Noam Platt (27:11):
And then, like you mentioned, scanning, that 3D scanning is another one of these technologies that becoming much more affordable to do and is done a lot in this development of assistive technology, especially for people who are missing a lower limb, to do fittings for lower extremities and other things that touch your body. One of the best ways to do is to 3D scan and then 3D print that body part and then design using that so everything is custom fit. That's another way it's changing.
Jen Lyman (27:48):
Yeah. I think I've heard about that. Prosthetics, right?
Noam Platt (27:51):
Jen Lyman (27:52):
What do you think, what gives you the most hope?
Noam Platt (27:55):
Can I answer the human part of that question?
Jen Lyman (27:58):
Noam Platt (27:59):
Yeah. And then, the other flip side of the coin of that, I think, is just bringing more awareness to assistive design as something that everybody should participate in. It's not just people who are designers or engineers, really anybody. I like to say it, the make-a-thons, it's a mix of healthcare professionals, the need-knowers, the requesters, their families. Those are the people who really have the knowledge. Then also, I like to say people off the street. There's no base skill level you have to have to be a good designer or be a good listener and have good ideas. I just want to encourage everybody to look and see if there are make-a-thons and feel empowered to participate in them because you definitely have something valuable to add. And I think the more people realize that and the more events there are, you're going to have a lot more, and I hope professional, in quotes, designers undertaking projects like the one to go in their communities and really spending more time thinking about these issues and working on them.
Jen Lyman (28:59):
I think you've said it before. I know that we're all touched by disability at some point in our lives. Even if you twist your ankle, or on crutches for a little bit or something like that and you realize what it's like to have to function in the world with a disability, or having to use wheeled mobility for some reason and how access changes for you. I feel like it enlightens a lot of people. So, being part of this process and seeing what some of the struggles that families go through and some of the needs that they have, this is a way to raise awareness and help people understand things a little better.
Noam Platt (29:43):
Absolutely. And there's some really great chapters of Makers Making Change who have a lot more involvement with elementary school students. And I've seen some great presentations in our monthly chapter meetings of kids who are 9 and 10 learn about 3D design and do challenges for this one classroom, I believe it was in Ohio, did a challenge for a pediatric cancer patient who wanted to bring his bike into the hospital. And he can't bring a bike and have him ride around the hallway, so they built him a Peloton stand for his bike so he can use it in his room.
Noam Platt (30:23):
Yes. And this was middle schoolers who designed and made this, and they're led by their teacher. Those are the kind of things, I think, give me a lot of hope because that's at a very young age, these kiddos are already understanding the impact they can have and the value of that. I think the more that those children are going to grow up knowing that and being involved with this, I think those are the kinds of things that give me a lot of really good hope for the future that these issues will become more into the mainstream consciousness, then people will work on them more.
Jen Lyman (31:02):
Yeah. And I think it's just schools are becoming more inclusive. Students have more friends with disabilities. From a very young age, they're starting in kindergarten with their peers that might have cerebral palsy or have Down syndrome or whatever disability it is, autism, and they're growing up with them. And Bauer has been in an inclusive school his whole life, and I feel like his friends at his school know. They all know how to drive his wheelchair. They all know how to help him. So, it's created a more empathetic society and certainly, they recognize and they fight for them. They're going to be protective. With this kind of technology, I can see where it would also think... They'd be ones that would think of things that you and I wouldn't think of because we're adults and we're boring.
Jen Lyman (31:51):
Kids are seeing things like, oh, wait a minute. He might need this. This is something that I would love. So, I think you're right. That gives me a lot of hope too. Thank you. That's great. That makes me very happy and hopeful. I think we're at the end of the podcast. I can't thank you enough for being here with me and also working with me on the one to go, the portable adaptive toilet. And someday, I hope that everybody listening, if you have a need for one of these, we'll have it soon. We really are trying to make it so that people with complex trunk control issues can travel and use a toilet with dignity. It's been an issue for us as a family. We travel a lot, and it's always a struggle when we're trying to take Bauer to the bathroom. My husband and I either have to hold him on the toilet, and it's embarrassing for a 16-year-old. So, this is a solution for our need that's been a big, a great need in our life, and I know it's a great need in a lot of other people's lives.
Noam Platt (33:03):
Well, it's really an honor to work on it with you. And it really is one of these projects that I can just tell is of monumental importance, probably more than any other project I've worked on, to be honest with you. There's got to be thousands and thousands of people who would benefit from this. It's unfortunate it doesn't exist already. When I say it's the least we could do, I mean that. It's just a very important thing that needs to happen, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the process through.
Jen Lyman (33:40):
Noam Platt (33:40):
Absolutely. I think we have some really great events planned for the summer that are really going to be impactful, and a lot of people are going to respond well to, and going to help move this design to the point where it's something very, very useful for lots of people.
Jen Lyman (33:55):
I recently heard somebody mentioned carbon fiber. I found out that you can also 3D print carbon fiber and I'm thinking, oh my gosh, this would be the lightest weight toilet ever. My brain is just turning around over here thinking about all the different ways that we can make this thing. I'm tremendously grateful for everything that you're doing for me and for the world. Getting this chapter start in New Orleans is very, very exciting because I think we're a innovative, creative city with lots of fascinating people who have lots of great ideas. We face a lot of hardships in New Orleans that are weird hardships, and I feel like it somehow makes people a little bit more creative learning how to do things. As you're building out this chapter here, I think you're going to get a lot of really cool folks involved.
Noam Platt (34:51):
Yeah, I hope so. Just in the few months I've been working on this chapter down here, we have had a lot of buy-in from the community in many different facets of the community. I think people really understand that it's a really simple way to help other people and there is a great need out there, and it's not a developed sector in our society of assistive technology and it's far overdue.
Jen Lyman (35:19):
Noam Platt (35:20):
So, I think that if more people recognize that, I believe, it's just technology in general will just gain momentum and gain a wider awareness just within our society, and that's just a win for everybody. So yeah, it's been a lot of fun.
Jen Lyman (35:35):
Yeah. I'm thrilled. I keep on going. That leads me to another thought. I was in a meeting last night and everybody on the meeting was in different states and Canada, and we were working on a presentation that we'll be giving in October. All the parents on the call said, the number one thing they wanted was somebody to come and talk about assistive technology that they could easily get, that would help them within the home, that's off the shelf, just simple things that they could use in the home immediately. And I'm thinking, gosh, why are we still asking these questions and still asking for these? And you're right, just the time has come. It needs to be mainstreamed, and you're making it happen, and I really am thankful.
Noam Platt (36:25):
I'm just doing my little part I can. And yeah, like you said in my bio, I'm inspired by my cousin, and he's traveling around Israel, filming a show, doing ability challenges for kids. I think something like that's going to come to the US and just continue doing the awesome work that every Makers Making Change chapter and TOM chapter are doing around the country.
Jen Lyman (36:48):
I think you're going to need to do a show.
Noam Platt (36:52):
I think so.
Jen Lyman (36:52):
Well, thank you so much for being on this show. I'm so grateful, and I'm looking forward to working with you all through the summer and moving this whole project forward and helping you with Makers Making Change and getting the word out. And yeah, I can't thank you enough, Noam.
Noam Platt (37:06):
Thank you so much for having me. It's been a real pleasure.
Jen Lyman (37:10):
Thanks for listening to the Cerebral Palsy Health podcast with me, Jen Lyman. If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. You'll find the links in the show's description. Please, feel free to email me with comments, questions, and topics you'd like to learn more about at jblyman@mac, that's mac.com. This podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for a medical doctor or any other medical provider. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it is not constitute medical advice or services. We encourage all of our listeners to have an open, honest discussion about the topics presented on this podcast and/or any other medical concerns with their personal medical team.
There's no base skill level you have to have to be a good designer or be a good listener and have good ideas. I just want to encourage everybody to look and see if there are make-a-thons and feel empowered to participate in them because you definitely have something valuable to add.