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Access to Technology: Design Through User Empowerment
The Taskar Center for Accessible Technology is working to help more people with disabilities gain access to the technology they need by empowering non-engineers to “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) and create, modify, or build. This is a big paradigm shift in the acquisition of ‘assistive technology’ in the U.S., where Medicaid is the largest payor for AT. The workshop will illustrate that it is possible to custom-build Assistive Technology, and will argue why empowering users to make their own Assistive Technology can improve the adoption process (and subsequently adoption rates) of the technology.
We will discuss DIY experiences and impressions from individuals who have either built Assistive Technology before, or rely on it. We found that increased control over design elements, passion, and cost motivated individuals to make their own Assistive Technology instead of buying it. We discuss how a new generation of rapid prototyping tools and online communities can empower more individuals. We will let people know how they can become involved either in our community of practice, or other efforts, to help promote future DIY-AT success.