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TOM Project 

48-hour Makeathon
Team Project 


Brief: Design a product or system addressing a daily challenge for an individual with special needs within a 72-hour timeframe.


In March 2019, I took part in a 72-hour makeathon challenge organized by TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers), a global movement dedicated to creating and sharing affordable solutions for overlooked challenges faced by individuals with impairments ( The event was hosted by the American College of Sofia. My team, Phoenix, designed and constructed a portable lift platform for Ivan, a talented young actor with special needs. Ivan encountered difficulties accessing most theatre stages without the assistance of his colleagues so his task for us was to find a product solution for his daily issue. 

Our lift platform consists of three key components: a wooden platform equipped with safety flaps and ramps on all sides, a collapsible metal frame that supports the platform's movement, and a motor engine responsible for lifting the platform. The collapsed frame and flat-packed platform can be conveniently stored in Ivan's van, enabling easy transportation to various theatre venues.

Ivan, a talented young Bulgarian actor, entrusted Team Phoenix with the mission of creating a device enabling him to independently navigate stage theatres in his wheelchair, alleviating the need for assistance from his fellow actors. 

The main challenge was to design a device that is both lightweight and portable for transportation in the theatre group's van, yet sturdy enough to carry Ivan, his wheelchair, and equipment.

Building the portable lift platform was done in three stages: constructing the steel frame responsible for raising and lowering the wooden platform, crafting the wooden platform with safety side flaps and two primary flaps for easy access, and finally, refurbishing and integrating a compact motor to provide the lifting power.

At the 72-hour makeathon final pitch, Team Phoenix showcased our design prototype to all teams, contestants, and American College of Sofia sponsors, presenting our concept and demonstrating the working product in the school stage auditorium.


TOM taught me that you can't fix the world in 72 hours, but you can sometimes redesign and hack it and make it a much better and more friendly place for someone!

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