Congratulations to Dr. Alyssa Spomer on earning her Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering! Dr. Spomer’s PhD thesis dissertation was titled Evaluating multimodal biofeedback to target and improve motor control in cerebral palsy. Congratulations and best of luck as you move forward as a Clinical Scientist at Gillette Children’s. Best of luck in Minnesota!
Many University of Washington Mechanical Engineering student clubs had to think outside the (toy)box and overcome disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, but few have adapted as well as HuskyADAPT lead by the SteeleLab’s very own Alyssa Spomer and Nicole Zaino.
This year they pivoted to have virtual workshops to continue providing students with hands-on-experience modifying toys, and contactless donation events to keep up the distribution of free adapted toys throughout western Washington.
Way to go Alyssa, Nicole, and all HuskyADAPTers! Keep it up!
HuskyADAPT toy hackathon event with Microsoft
Alyssa Spomer along with HuskyADAPT (Accessible Design & Play Technology) hosted the first-ever adapted toy Hackathon with Microsoft. The event combined design and toy adaptation, as teams of HuskyADAPT students and Microsoft employees worked together to adapt toys and develop new designs for adapted toy switches and switch mounts.
Over 25 Microsoft employees joined 20 students, including the Steele Lab’s own Alyssa Spomer, Nicole Zaino, Charlotte Caskey, and Elijah Kuska, in the CoMotion MakerSpace for this community-focused and adaptive driven workshop.
During the day-long hackathon, over 20 toys were adapted to incorporate a new switch mechanism to facilitate play and several new inexpensive switches, toy-type converters, and switch mounting systems were designed and prototyped. Thank you to the Microsoft employees, for their willingness and commitment to assist those in need, the CoMotion MakerSpace volunteers, for allowing us to use their space, and our HuskyADAPT team and lab members, for their dedication to outreach events.
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.
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):
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.
The fancy graphic from IdeaGen for serving on the panel.
HuskyADAPT featured on GeekWire
The HuskyADAPT Inclusive Design & Engineering Showcase was last week where students presented the projects that they have been working on for the past year. These ranged from a kayak paddle attachment for individuals with upper limb differences, an accessible and functional stylus for individuals with muscular or cognitive impairments, and a universal wireless switch for adapted toys.
Read more here: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/inclusive-design-accessible-tech-spotlight-univ-washington-student-showcase/