[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: Numerous Cornell University partners in the Israel-based organization TOM, Tikkum Olam Makers, teamed up to sponsor a make-a-thon and hack-a-thon in Brooklyn that is having a far-reaching impact.
BEN STERNLAR-DAVIS: You can see the difference being made in someone's life. You know that there's a challenge out there, and you come up with solutions, but you don't really realize how impactful it is until you see the person you're helping interact with your device. And there's just nothing that compares to that.
AMI STUART: I think one of the most amazing things about an event like this is when you see students from all the different colleges come together in a really diversified team and come up with some really amazing solutions.
SUSANNE BRUYERE: One of the most exciting parts of this event for us is that we are working with colleagues from several entities at Cornell. The Yang Tan Institute Team is able to work with folks at Cornell Tech and with Entrepreneurship at Cornell.
Having events like these allows us to teach our students about inclusive design, about the needs of individuals with disabilities, and infuses in them an appreciation of how they can use their talents and creativity to design products that are ones that serve the interests of people with disabilities.
SPEAKER: Over three days, 17 challenges that people with disabilities face on a daily basis were solved, thanks to the hard work of volunteers, including Cornell students and staff. Each group came up with actual devices or software programs for people to use.
SAMUEL FEIBEL: Any time I have the opportunity to do something hands-on, I really like to take it. And it just seemed like a really great program. We're doing really great things for people who need it.
SCOTT FAVER: We have a daughter who's 11 who has Angelman Syndrome. Allie has a tendency to head thrust, so as she's in her walker or a gait trainer, she would throw her head back, which we feel kind of hurts her neck a little bit. When she walks up the stairs, she can throw her back out towards us. So we're just looked for somewhat a safety feature that we can apply some mild pressure to the back of her head to help her keep straight.
SPEAKER: Allie's experience is just one example of how Cornell is using its expertise to help solve real-world problems.
JANE SWANSON: One of the commitments that Cornell Tech made to the community was to research ways, to have our students research ways that technology could improve the lives of older adults and people with disabilities.
SCOTT FAVER: They're a breath of fresh air to us. They're compassionate. They're kind. They've taken Allie, they welcomed her, treat her so well. And I mean, they're almost here 48 hours straight, sleeping here, to come up with a solution to help someone that they don't know. We really appreciate that.
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Cornell students, faculty and volunteers teamed up at an April 21-23 makeathon in New York City to create technologies that can improve the lives of people with disabilities. The event was a collaboration among Cornell Tech, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the ILR School's K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, the New York City Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities and TOM Tikkun Olam Makers.