IdeaGen: Inclusive Design

Dr. Kat Steele and lab alumni, Dr. Heather Feldner, were on the The Accessible Technologies & Inclusive Design Panel at the IdeaGen Global Innovation Summit hosted by Micrsofot on June 7, 2019. Scott Saponas served as the moderator, asking tough questions about how to encourage and expand inclusive design. A large portion of the summit celebrated the increasing inclusion of women in tech and entrepreneurial fields, while also highlighting the remaining barriers and challenges. We hope our panel also sparked reflection on ability as an important dimension of diversity that has important implications for the design and engineering of inclusive products, environments, and experiences.

Kat Steele with microphone seated next to Jacob Wobbrock and Oscar Murillo on the panel.

The panel also included Dr. Jacob Wobbrock from UW and Oscar Murillo from Microsoft. This was another reminder of the powerhouse of accessibility researchers at UW and in the Seattle-area. An artist was capturing the summit through illustration – the whole day (it looked amazing and exhausting):

A white poster board covered with sketches of the speakers, quotes, and notes from IdeaGen. The bottom left corner includes sketches of the panel.

One of the challenging questions Scott asked was our favorite examples of successful inclusive design. I still find it disappointing that this is a challenging question. We have our classic examples – curb cuts, closed captioning, power toothbrushes, Oxo products – that have made life easier for many, but were originally conceptualized through the inclusion of individuals with diverse abilities.

There should be many more examples of success. This should be an easy question where we can quickly call to mind all of the outstanding examples in the world that celebrate the inclusion of individuals with diverse abilities in the design process and make our daily life more inclusive.

What are your favorite examples of inclusive design?

What technologies make you excited for a more inclusive world?

You can learn more, find resources, and join the community through AccessEngineering.

Kat Steele speaking on panel with microphone and a pink shirt. Quote reads: "Disability should be celebrated as a part of diversity and a multifaceted community."

The fancy graphic from IdeaGen for serving on the panel.

Claire Mitchell, Karley Benoff, and Makoto Eyre present at the Mary Gates Research Symposium

On May 18th, Claire Mitchell, Karley Benoff, and Makoto Eyre presented their research at the Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Symposium. These three students worked on year-long projects and showcased their hard work during a campus-wide poster session.

Claire’s research focused on creating a website and server framework for clinicians and researchers across the country to use for calculating muscle synergies for motor control analysis. Muscle synergies are an incredibly complex and computationally expensive analysis of electromyography data but provide quantification of motor control and assist in therapy prescription for movement disorders.

Claire Mitchell, and undergraduate student in the Steele Lab, stands in front of her poster at Mary Gates Hall during the undergraduate research symposium. Claire is wearing a white and blue floral blouse. She is in the middle of describing her research project to four community members who have taken an interest in her research.

Makoto Eyre and Karley Benoff stand nearly back to back in front of their poster at Mary Gates Hall during the undergraduate research symposium. Makoto is facing to the left of the poster, and is wearing glasses, a white button up shirt and black slacks while conversing with members of the community outside of the images capture. Karley Benoff has shoulder length brown and blonde hair and is wearing a pink blouse while helping to fit a member of the community with her 3D-printed device at the elbow. Karley and the female community member are making sure the device's elbow joint is aligning well with the community member's elbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karley and Mako’s research focused on designing and testing a 3D-printed elbow-driven orthosis for individuals with limited hand function. They drew inspiration from upper-extremity prosthetic devices and evaluated a voluntary close and voluntary open mechanism to assist an individual’s dominant limb.

Great work Karley, Mako, and Claire!

The interior courtyard of Mary Gates Hall has interior windows and a combination of new and old architectural elements. This is the location where hundreds of undergraduate presenters and community members discuss research accomplishments and next steps.

Go-Baby-Go project is named an awardee for the Mobility Unlimited Challenge Discovery Award!

Toyota Mobility is sponsoring ten teams who aim to break into the assistive technology market with $50,000 of seed funding.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge attracted nearly 100 applications worldwide, and we are proud to announce our joint team was selected!

Our team here at the University of Washington, together with Oregon State University, submitted a joint application. Highlights are included below. To learn more about Toyota’s Challenge or the other nine fellow awardees, click here.

TITLE: Enabling Independent Mobility and Social Play for Young Children with Mobility Impairments

CHALLENGE: There is a demonstrated lack of commercially-available pediatric mobility devices that promote early mobility and socialization in 1-3 year-old children with mobility impairments. The team proposes an intelligent powered mobility device that enables independent mobility and encourages social interaction and play among young children of different abilities. The device will employ artificial intelligence to ensure safety, while satisfying four key requirements of being (1) low-cost, (2) durable, (3) adaptable/customizable, and (4) aesthetically and functionally desirable by children with all abilities.