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By: Nadav, JCDS 7th grader

As part of the Jewish Community Day School’s annual STEM Day we held an Adaptive Technology Design Challenge. First we met with Mohammad Sayed, who has been wheelchair-bound since his childhood in Afghanistan. He now lives in the U.S. and is doing his best to help other people in wheelchairs. Mohammad told us how he wrote the graphic novel Wheelchair Man and founded his company RimPower. He uses a 3D printer to create attachments for wheelchairs, such as cup holders, plate holders, and flashlights. Because of the design, his creations can be put on almost every wheelchair, making them products that could be really useful for many, and he is hoping to soon be able to put them on the market.

Mohammed Sayed, author of Wheelchair Man graphic novel and founder of the company RimPower.

Keeping Muhammad’s innovativeness and helpfulness in mind, we held a Makeathon for the middle school students. Working in groups, we each were given a problem to solve that someone disabled had provided.

For my group, the person had difficulty reaching and pressing the button on their computer. Using the materials that were given to us, we built a contraption that would enable the person to reach the button. The three things on the end can be used for many things. We have tested and made sure that they can turn on or off a light switch, open some doors, and of course, turn on a computer.

Everyone then got together and a few representatives shared their projects to the rest of the school. This day gave us the opportunity to use our creativity for a good purpose, and was a new experience for my friends and me.

Note: the JCDS Adaptive Technology Design Challenge was held in partnership with Ambassadors For Inclusion (AFI) through Gateways and the Ruderman Family Foundation. This concept was inspired by the Tikkun Olam Makers Makeathon at the Ruderman Foundation Inclusion Summit.