Recap: Legacy Design Retreat at Cooper-Hewitt

Our friends at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum opened up their under-renovation-y doors to host our 2nd annual MOUSE Corps Legacy Design Retreat on Saturday, January 24th, 2012.

During this all day design-a-thon, students put to practice the ideation process they learned at IDEO and work with pros from the assistive technology world.

We started the day with Katie Koch, co-founder of Project: Interaction, who lead an activity challenging the students to  communicate words (like “Surprise” or “Fear”) with only touch and sound.

Students met designer/hacker/programmer/friend-of-MOUSE Joe Saavedra who are recently joined the team who created the Eyewriter: a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes.

They also heard from Andrew Chepaitis, the CEO of Elia Life Technology who have designed a new tactile language using elements from the roman alphabet in hopes to serve as a more intuitive alternative to braille.

These innovators, along with Dawn Suvino, the Director of Workforce Development/Youth Services @ Visions, arts/theater designer Elizabeth Greenman, Cooper-Hewitt design educators Marianna Siciliano & Monica Harriss and restraunteur/visually-impaired advocate Marco Valente, teamed up with groups of students to spend the last half of the day brainstorming new technologies for the blind.

It was an inspiring event – big thank yous to everyone who came out on a snowy Saturday and an especially ginormous thank you to Cooper-Hewitt for hosting, feeding, providing creative materials & facilitation. Students left excited to start  prototyping and testing their new projects.

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