MOUSE Corps Design Retreat at Cooper-Hewitt = Awesome

MOUSE Corps students, tech and design mentors, staff and program participants from United Cerebral Palsy of NYC all teamed together for an all-day design-a-thon at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center.

The day began with a “Design Desert Island” activity facilitated by Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum educators which helped get the group into a creative frame of mind.  John Schimmel, an adjunct professor from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and assistive/adaptive designer,  shared his work adapting the PS3 game controller to respond to eye movement for gamers whose hands are unable to use the standard 17 button-controller.   MOUSE Corps teams then each hacked remote control toys to learn to build more accessible switches for children with disabilities.

By the afternoon, attendees divided into 4 teams to turn the stories, research, interviews and observations collected at United Cerebral Palsy of NYC over the past several months into great MOUSE Corps Legacy Project ideas.   Teams had only an hour and half to brainstorm as many ideas as possible, decide unanimously on the top idea, create a rapid prototype and 2-minute pitch.  By the end of the event, teams pitched four awesome starter Legacy Projects, fielding questions and feedback from their peers and design pros.  MOUSE Corps teams will spend the remainder of the school year prototyping and iterating upon the ideas from the Design Retreat.

Team A: 

  • Brainstorm-guiding question: How might we use technology to help photographers w/ CP be more independent?
  • Idea: A deconstructed point-and-shoot camera with the viewfinder closer the face, and the camera mounted on a rotating disc that is controlled by a single handheld button/joystick.

Team B: 

  • Brainstorm-guiding question: How might we use technology to enhance communication (written and spoken) for people with CP?
  • Idea: A custom gesture communication device.

Team C: 

  • Brainstorm-guiding question: How might we use technology to help Hannah (an artist with Cerebral Palsy) best express her artistic vision independently?
  • Idea: A remote-controlled painting and collaging device with a joystick mounted to Hannah’s wheelchair.

Team D: 

  • Brainstorm-guiding question: How might we use technology to improve dexterity and independence for people with cerebral palsy?
  • Idea: An walker-mounted reach-extending tool, using a laser-pointer to increase precision.

More photos here:


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