IPRO 217

Assistive Solutions for People with Full or Partial Physical Disability at IIT (A Technological Innovation IPRO Project)

Instructors: Dr. Mahesh Krishnamurthy and Dr. Eun-Jeong Lee

Assistive Technology for Students with Dyslexia wins 2016 Best Social Innovation award

Course Purpose: This IPRO identifies challenges faced by students with disabilities faced at institutes of higher education. It will particularly consider STEM education, which is typically more tactile in terms of instruction, involving laboratory and hands-on project and research work. The team will consider issues often ignored or not fully appreciated, such as partial blindness, partial hearing, and other possible limitations. The team will conduct secondary and primary research, ideally having conversations with those who have a disability. The instructors have experience in this area, including expertise related to people with disabilities. Current projects include assistive technologies for physically disabled people in the form of power assisted wheelchair. This includes an IIT WISER grant for "Using Psychology to Train Technology" focusing on assistive technology, but using the entire wheelchair system as the focus (not only the powertrain). As the next step, we are now expanding our scope to consider STEM education to determine how partial to full disability affects students in the engineering environment as a test case.

The research phase can then lead to identifying insights that inspire potential concepts and solutions. This will lead to prototyping and iterative testing of concepts with intended user groups. The ultimate aim is to enable students with disabilities to participate in projects and research activities comparable to students with no disability.