September 2019


Topic of Inquiry

Ability & Tools that Help

Our theme this month is Ability & Tools that help. Can you calculate the Force needed to move an object? What is a mechanical linkage & how does it work? How have advancements in technology affected a society's cultural perspective of it's citizens with disabilities? What impact has computation had on the development of assistive technologies?

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Force, Light, Sound

This month, we're playing with Force, Light, & Sound. We'll explore how we can use these materials to build with PURPOSE - Assistive Devices & Mechanisms that help.



People, Products, & Places

Johnny Matheny (pictured above) is the first person to live with an advanced mind-controlled robotic arm. Listen to his amazing journey and how his experience led him to create The Starfish Prosthetics Foundation, which works with physicians to spread advanced prosthetics to more patients.

DIYAbility, a NY-based org, has the goal to create a community for people who believe that technology is world opening. They want everyone to know they have the right to participate in the design & making of technology – having the opportunity to make your own ‘stuff’ can lead to increased quality of life, maintaining independence, perhaps a new career and staying curious about the world.

Looking for something a bit more local…well the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC), located in Berkeley across from Ashby Bart, is a national and international model dedicated to disability rights and universal access. The ERC is a universally designed, transit–oriented campus. The intent of Universal Design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal Design benefits people of all ages and abilities.

Also, here’s our curated list of books you can get from your local library (we love MCFL) for further research and inspiration this month as we explore Ability & Tools that Help. And this article about why and how to design universally is a fabulous read!