Participatory and Inclusive Assistive Technology Innovation Clinics in Design Schools

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Bhatnagar, Tigmanshu (1); Patel, Rohit (2); Roopchandani, Bhavik (3); Ashraf, Faisal (4)
Series: ICED
Institution: University College London
Section: User-centred design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


People living with disabilities can have needs for Assistive Technology (AT) that are out of the scope of occupational therapists, commercial markets and charitable distributions. For such needs, designers, engineers, makers and clinicians in the local community can design and fabricate AT through an inclusive, participatory, user centred design process. By tapping into the skills, creativity, facilities and knowledge of local design, medical, engineering and management schools, we can make clinics for AT innovation, practical design education, business incubation and product provision. Through two case studies, we demonstrate the necessary steps towards this novel approach to compassionately design, fabricate and deliver bespoke and scalable AT innovations. The practice is multidisciplinary, it empowers people with disabilities to creatively challenge their problems, contributes to design education and requires a system to ensure product quality and follow ups. We envision that over years, this practice can become a movement that is able to systematically knit the patched ecosystem for AT, while contributing to the global understanding of design for people with disabilities.

Keywords: Inclusive design, Design process, Participatory design, Innovation


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