Cooper Hewitt Showcases Innovative Accessible Design
The Access+Ability exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt museum showcases innovative, life-enhancing products that help people with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. The show reflects the move towards inclusive design, and features items highlighted in our report Design for Disability: Transformative Tech.
Self-expression is key. Hands of X – a collaboration between DJCAD at the University of Dundee and the Institute of Making at University College London – lets users customise prosthetic wooden hands with unique woods and leather accents. Last summer, London eyewear brand Cubitts hosted a pop-up kiosk for the service in its stores.
Other pieces address entertainment. Portuguese designer Miguel Neiva’s Uno playing cards for Mattel denote colours with symbols to assist people who are colour blind (see also Samsung App Aids TV Viewing for Colour Blind).
Wearable tech features prominently, such as Maptic by London-based designer Emilio Farrington-Arnas. The tactile piece of jewellery uses voice technology, GPS and an iPhone app to send vibrations to the wearer, offering a discreet wayfinding system for people who are blind.
Meanwhile, BrainPort – an oral electronic vision aid from US company Wicab – consists of a camera attached to a pair of sunglasses, a hand-held controller, and an electrode array that sits on the user’s tongue.
The camera translates digital information into patterns of electrical stimulation – a sensation that resembles the bubbles in fizzy drinks. Interpreting these patterns allows users to perceive the shape, size, location and motion of objects – essentially enabling them to see with their tongues.
The exhibition runs until September 3 2018.