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Universal Design News:

Bus Simulator Helps Improve Rider Accessibility

First Published in The NFTA Transporter Reporter

idea center simulation bus mockup with people standing and sitting.

Metro has rolled out a new "moving billboard" bus advertisement depicting several people enjoying a ride inside a Metro bus. You might be surprised to learn that the bus used in the ad is not really a bus at all. It’s actually a unique bus simulation device, and it is used for more than just photo shoots.

The bus simulator (see image) is a full-scale re-creation of a standard 40-foot transit bus built and housed at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA) at the University at Buffalo. It was constructed after the IDEA Center received a $4.7 million grant in 2008 to study ways to improve public transportation for people with disabilities.

“The simulator is used to study the specific human factor on public buses,” said Jordana Maisel, the Director of Outreach and Policy Studies at the IDEA Center. “It helps to demonstrate the unique challenges that individuals with disabilities encounter when utilizing public transportation.”

For its research, the IDEA Center invited volunteers with various disabilities, including those with wheelchairs and visual impairments, to take part in exercises simulating regular activities on a bus, such as boarding, disembarking, paying fares and getting into and out of seats.

“We attempted to re-create -- as closely as possible -- the actual experience of riding a transit bus,” Maisel said. “Mannequins, for example, were used to simulate the experience of navigating around other passengers.” Seats, aisles, and boarding ramps were all built to the same specifications as buses currently on the road.

Researchers used motion sensors and video recording equipment to help study areas where the volunteers experienced difficulties.

The initial study showed numerous ways in which current bus designs could be improved. Maisel said the results were distributed to transportation agencies including the NFTA (which, as a “collaborating transportation provider,” assisted the IDEA Center in securing parts for the simulator from various bus manufacturers).

The NFTA, in turn, has begun incorporating some of the study’s recommendations into its latest bus designs.

“The interior of a bus is rife with unintended consequences of design elements,” said Jeffrey Sweet, Equipment Engineer at the NFTA’s Cold Spring Station. “This study helped to show areas where current designs could be improved to assist our riders with disabilities.”

Sweet says the Authority’s latest 1300 Series buses already have two changes recommended by the study: 1) an extended, continuous stainless steel trim toward the front of the driver’s platform (which prevents riders with mobility devices from getting caught as they navigate down the aisle), and 2) a curbside wheel-well bumper to help keep mobility devices squarely on the lift ramp while disembarking.

Sweet says designers are hoping to implement further recommendations, including improvements to seats and fare collection boxes, in future NFTA buses.

“This research has shown us some tangible ways in which we can improve the safety and riding experience for those with disabilities,” Sweet said. “The project has been a home run overall.”

Although the initial study is complete, Maisel said the bus simulator will remain on-site at the IDEA Center for the time being and will hopefully be a part of expanded research in the future.

For more information on accessible public transportation research at the IDEA Center, visit RERC APT Website.

Carnegie Mellon and University at Buffalo researchers improving transit and sidewalk access for people with disabilities

individuals walking along sidewalk, bus driving by.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University at Buffalo are collaborating on a five-year, $4.6 million federally funded project to advance physical access and public transportation for people with disabilities by bringing together computer science technology and the principles of universal design.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Accessible Public Transportation at Carnegie Mellon and UB has received a new grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) that extends the existing five-year grant that concludes this year.

The center will develop ways to empower consumers, manufacturers and service providers in the design and evaluation of accessible transportation equipment, information services and physical environments.

The center’s principal investigator is Aaron Steinfeld, an associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute who works on human-robot interaction and intelligent transportation systems in the Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center, headquartered at Carnegie Mellon.

Steinfeld will co-direct the center with his father, Edward Steinfeld, a professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo who heads the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA). The IDeA Center improves the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safe and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities. The center is a world leader in universal design, an important component of the new RERC’s work.

“Universal design is a human-centered approach to design and business practices focused on creating a more convenient, comfortable, healthier and safer environment for everyone,” Edward Steinfeld said. “It extends the lessons learned in design for disability to all riders, recognizing that the transportation environment presents challenges for all. It not only increases social integration for people who have physical and mental challenges but, by doing so, reduces costs by removing the burden of providing special services, facilities and products.”

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon will use Tiramisu Transit, an app developed under the prior RERC, to understand how real-time trip information and community dialog can empower accessible travel. Buffalo researchers will continue design research to make boarding and disembarking buses faster, safer and more accessible.

Another project will leverage existing technologies supported by the Traffic21 program at Carnegie Mellon to develop software systems to help riders during multi-modal trips. Collaborations with industry also are planned, continuing the team’s prior work on vehicle designs with the Gillig Bus Corporation and starting a new effort with the Dallas Smith Corporation. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in Buffalo and the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh continue to assist the researchers as they develop new technologies and concepts.

“As with our first RERC grant, we think it is critical to include input from transit users in all of our projects,” said Carnegie Mellon’s Aaron Steinfeld. “Transit is a community that includes riders, service providers and industry. Each has an important voice and valuable perspectives.”

For more information on the RERC on Accessible Public Transportation, see http://www.rercapt.org/.

About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Pittsburgh, Pa., California’s Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico.

About the University at Buffalo’s IDeA Center: The IDeA Center at the University at Buffalo is dedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities throughout their life spans. Originating in the practices of accessible or “barrier free” design and “normalization,” the concept of universal design seeks to make the everyday world more accessible and usable to a broad range of people, including people with disabilities and other often overlooked groups. The IDeA Center provides resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design, facilities management, and the social and behavioral sciences to further these agendas.

When HCI Meets Architecture

Dr Lesley McIntyre

Monday, October 21 Room 104 Deifendorf, University at Buffalo 1-2pm

Lesley McIntyreIn this seminar I will talk about SiDE and our research projects, introduce my PhD research and explain how the methods developed in this work have lead me, an architectural researcher, to working within the field of HCI.

The SiDE Research Hub, based between the University of Dundee and Newcastle University, researches four areas: Accessibility, Connected Home and Community, Creative Industries, and Inclusive Transport. I will present a selection of in-depth examples from our projects, such as the Portrait Project, the Ambient Kitchen and the SiDE Driving Lab, which capture SiDE’s focus and exemplify our collective objective: Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy. I will give an overview of my Architectural PhD research, ‘The way-finding journey with a large Public Building: A user centered study of the holistic way-finding experience’. This study investigated the social, spatial, temporal and physical ‘hot-spots’ (enabling and disabling elements of a building), as experienced by people with a range of visual impairment. I will present the methods developed and findings uncovered in this research, before discussing how they were the starting point for new research within realm of HCI through our newly fundedproject BESiDE.

BESiDE: Built Environment for Social Inclusion in the Digital Economy, the Accessibility team’s most recently RCUK funded project, is where Human Computing Interaction is meeting
Architecture. Partnering with architects, professional bodies and care home providers, and working across disciplines of computing, architecture, medicine and design, this research will
address a knowledge gap in how to design the built environment to better support older people. Adopting a range of methods, including observations, critical analyses fromstakeholder interactions, and data from personal and ambient sensors in conjunction with floor plans of project partner care homes, we will provide understanding of care home designs that enable mobility.

This seminar will be of key interest to anyone immersed in the field of human-centered design, as well as those working within fields of rehabilitation and enablement, and those interested in
themes of wellbeing, technology, independence and mobility within the built environment.

Click here for more information >>

Libby and the Cape of Visitability by Eleanor Smith

Libby and the cape of Visitability coverLibby, Aria and Benjamin have been best friends since they were babies.   Now Aria has moved to a new house.   Libby, who uses a wheelchair, doesn’t get invited to Aria’s birthday party because the house has barriers.     Hurt feelings follow…    Then the kids meet Everett, an adult wheelchair athlete, who tells them how the disability rights movement gained successes through years of public demonstrations and pressing for laws.    Everett shows them a photo from the 70’s showing people with disabilities blocking inaccessible buses.   The kids are inspired to create their own version of public action to achieve the goal of a step-free entrance and wide bathroom doors in every new house.     Learn how the kids get on the front page of their hometown paper, as their method gets them in trouble -– and how they achieve a sweet victory.

""Libby and the Cape of Visitability"" is the diary of Libby, a KWD (Kid with Disability). Written for children ages 8-13, this book raises awareness of the exclusion created when houses are not built with simple features that allow mobility-impaired people to visit or live in them.   For those grownups (teachers, parents and others) who engage in meaningful dialogue with children, this book provides not only a captivating story and relatable characters, but a Reader's Guide with discussion questions and resources as well.

Written by Eleanor Smith, a well known civil rights worker, and Nadeen Green, a teacher, writer and blogger on the topic of fair housing,

"Libby and the Cape of Visitability" is an e-book available for Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad, etc. For those  without e-readers the book can also be loaded onto a computer as a PDF.

Click here to find out how to purchase the book


 

Online Continuing Education Courses Begin June 3, 2013 - Earn 15 CEU Credits

The IDeA Center has 11 online courses in its continuing education program, each offering 15 hours of continuing education credit. Register anytime! The following 2 courses begin June 3:

UD and Housing 1: Policy and Trends

group of older men talkingThis course is an introduction to the basic concerns of accessibility and the building codes and standards that address accessibility in housing. The course begins with an overview of accessible housing policies, such as the set-aside approach and adaptable housing, and important trends in housing policy such as visitability. The needs of aging individuals in the housing market are explored as well as the importance of the neighborhood in the universal design of housing. AIA members will receive 15 CEU Credits for completion of this course. Click Here to Register


Design for Human Performance

wheelchair user participating in laboratory lift studyThis course examines the concept of human performance, the ability of people to complete activities and tasks, through the investigation of the four key bodies of knowledge that make up human performance: anthropometry, biomechanics, perception, and cognition. Each body of knowledge is summarized in relation to universal design, and key strategies for design are provided. Note: This course replaces Human Factors 1 & 2. AIA members will receive 15 CEU Credits for completion of this course. Click Here to Register

 

Registration is always open. To enroll in the June 3 courses, please register by May 30.

The courses will last 4-weeks, 6/3 - 6/30. There is no required log-in time so you can take the courses on your schedule. Courses require about 15 hours of study over the 4-week period, including readings, videos, discussion, projects, and tests. Courses cost $250 (USD) each, plus the cost of textbook (available in e-book or hard copy). The same textbook can be used for multiple courses.

Please visit our website for more information, or contact Jonathan White at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (716) 829-5907.

 


Time to Think Differently

By Edward Steinfeld, AIA, Arch.D., Director, IDeA Center, University at Buffalo, SUNY

In this installment in our design for aging guest writer series, Edward Steinfeld, AIA, Arch.D., discusses the need to practice “community design for aging”.

group of older men talkingSince the 1960s, there has been a steady increase in the development of environments built specifically for older people including retirement housing, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), memory care centers, and assisted living facilities. This occurred because economic development made long life more common. But while this demographic shift was occurring, enormous growth in suburban sprawl created low-density communities, and health care for elders evolved into a facility-based model. Now, the only places designed to accommodate old age are specialized facilities and neighborhoods separated from the rest of the population. Is this a new form of segregation? Does it reflect “ageism” in American society?

Read More at Architectural Foundation >>


New Degree program at University at Buffalo offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in “Humanities - Interdisciplinary” with a formal concentration in Disability Studies

Degree program in disability studiesThrough an interdisciplinary curriculum, this innovative program provides students with the knowledge base and theoretical means to question conventional understandings of the “normal” body and mind. Both core and elective courses analyze disability and the lives of people with disabilities as they are represented in history, literature, sociology, anthropology, architecture and other humanities-based disciplines.

The program is a perfect complement to an education in the medical and clinical fields, for professionals and pre-professionals in fields such as rehabilitation science, occupational and physical therapy, nursing, social work, and various support services. The program will also be of interest to public school teachers and administrators developing curriculum for primary and secondary schools in disability-related subject matter; and to those graduate students in other disciplines who may be interested in thinking in complex ways about the body, gender, sex, sexuality, and race.

Click here to find out more >>


Design for All Newsletter, edited by Dr. Edward Steinfeld.

Design for All Institute of India Newsletter
Prof. Edward Steinfeld, director of the IDeA Center, edited the latest issue of the Design for All, Institute of India newsletter. In it, you'll find some recent and past work highlighted including Anthropometry of Wheeled Mobility, Human Factors of Boarding and Disembarking Vehicles, Accessibility of Pedestrian Environments in Cold Weather, Product Usability, LIFEHouse™, Wounded Warriors Housing, Multisensory Interactive Model Project, Tiramisu, Home Modifications, and Educational Programs. Click here to view the newsletter >>



Tiramisu Receives FCC Award for Advancement in Accessibility

Federal Communications Commission
December 19, 2012
2pm

Tiramisu transit application iconEight projects representing significant innovation in communications technology benefitting people with disabilities will receive the FCC’s Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility, presented by Chairman Julius Genachowski during a ceremony at 2 pm on Dec. 19 at FCC headquarters.

Awards will be presented for the development of mainstream or assistive technologies, the development of standards, and the implementation of best practices that foster accessibility. The awards focus on six categories: Consumer Empowerment Information; Mobile Applications; Civic Participation Solutions; Education: College or University; Video Programming; and Geo-Location Solutions. In addition to the winners in these categories, two honorable mentions will also be recognized.

The Chairman’s 2012 AAA Winners are:

  • Consumer Empowerment Information -- Project StAR: Accessible Radio 2012/The Narrator
  • Mobile Applications -- WGBH National Center for Accessible Media: “Media Access Mobile”
  • Civic Participation Solutions -- Prime III: A Universally Designed Voting Machine
  • Education: College or University -- Project: Possibilities SS12: Code for a Cause
  • Geo-Location Services -- Tiramisu Transit
  • Video Programming -- Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)

The Chairman’s 2012 AAA Honorable Mentions are:

  • Civic Participation -- Google+ Hangouts
  • Mobile Applications -- Virtual Braille Keyboard

The winning projects will be displayed in the FCC’s Technology Experience Center along with other cutting-edge technologies that provide access to persons with disabilities from Dec. 19-31. The Technology Experience Center is open to the public and offers the opportunity for visitors to experiment with these technologies.

The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. Individuals interested in attending this event are asked to send an RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please include your name, title, organization affiliation (if any), and contact information in the e-mail.


TENURE-TRACK POSITIONS IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND PLANNING FOR HEALTH

 

rough sketchs of a Plaza in Kensington Heights neighborhoodUniversity at Buffalo, State University of New York School of Architecture and Planning
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Two Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Faculty Positions
With Special Emphases on Historic Preservation and Planning & Design for Public Health

Our faculty invites applicants for two tenure-track assistant professor positions. The appointment is expected to begin in Fall 2013. Review of application, by a committee of Architecture and Planning faculty, begins on November 28, 2012 and will remain open until the position is filled. Women and minority candidates are highly encouraged to apply.


In the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the selected candidate will be expected to contribute to existing research and teaching strengths, which include Master’s level specializations in:

Community Development and Neighborhood Planning
Economic and International Development
Environmental and Land Use Planning
GIS and Computer Applications
Urban Design and Physical Planning

And PhD-level strengths in:
Advanced Technology, Information Systems and Methods in Planning
Built Environment and Environmental Change
Declining Cities and Distressed Urban Communities
Disasters and Extreme Events
Health, food systems, human abilities, and environment
The department is searching for applicants whose research and teaching interests focus on the following areas of emphasis:

  • Historic Preservation, with potential interests in preservation planning, cultural landscapes, and adaptation and regeneration of architecture and urban environments.
  • Planning and Design for Public Health, including potential interest in roles of environment, design, neighborhoods and neighborhood distress, and public policy in health behavior, health risk factors, and health outcomes (including mental health outcomes). Candidates with an interest in planning to promote public health among people with special needs are encouraged to apply.

The selected candidate may be given responsibilities in both graduate and undergraduate instruction, with assignments in the general curriculum as well as in specialized courses. Background in professional practice and interest in studio or workshop instruction are an asset. Candidates are especially welcome if they can span research and teaching interests in planning and architecture.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in urban planning, architecture, or a related field. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. Our university also offers excellent benefits packages. The duties of a faculty member involve a combination of research, teaching (two classes per semester) and service. Course relief and research support are available for faculty in early stages of their career. The hired faculty member will be subject to expectations for excellence in scholarly productivity, teaching, and public and university service.

Please click here for more information on the >>

 


Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments

Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments textbook

The new standard text on the topic, Universal Design introduces designers to the principles and practice of designing for all people. From the foundations of accessibility and aging to the practice of designing interiors, products, housing and transportation systems, all aspects of this growing field are explored. It covers best practice examples to demonstrate the value of universal design as both a survey of the field and reference for researchers.

You can purchase a copy at or Wiley, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Instructors interested in using this book for a course, please contact Sharon Kucyk at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 201-748-8796.

For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Tauke takes prize for home for boomers

By PATRICIA DONOVAN
Published: February 13, 2012 (UB Reporter: SUNY at Buffalo)

living room living room and kitchen

A concept home designed with the help of UB faculty member Beth Tauke has received a coveted 2012 Best of 50+ Housing Award from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Council for a home that meets the physical needs and lifestyle of baby boomers.

The team received its award last week during the 2012 NAHB International Home Builders Show in Orlando. A second LIFEhouse®, now under way, will be donated to a severely disabled veteran through the “Wounded Warrior” program.

Tauke, associate professor of architecture, is a project director for UB’s pioneering and internationally recognized Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center). She worked on the home under a grant awarded to the UB Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education.

The Best of 50+ Housing competition is the industry’s most prestigious national awards program honoring excellence in building, design and marketing of housing for boomers and beyond. The awards are viewed by the industry and media as a showcase for innovation, emerging trends and quality housing for a mature demographic.

LIFEhouse, the work of Tauke and her sister, Chicago builder Susanne Tauke, is an aesthetically pleasing, flexible, well-appointed home designed to suit the needs of different family configurations, ages and levels of physical ability, especially those in the 50+ age bracket. The Taukes also credit Jean La Marche, associate professor of architecture at UB who also is associated with the IDeA Center, for his important contributions to the project.

LIFEhouse® is located in Newport Cove, an award-winning, planned community of 67 homes located on 42 waterfront acres along Bluff Lake in northern Illinois’ famous Chain O’ Lakes. It is the first in a series of universally designed concept houses to result from a collaboration between Susanne Tauke’s company, New American Homes Inc., and the IDeA Center.

“The house incorporates multisensory perception and universal design (UD) principles,” says Beth Tauke, “so it can comfortably accommodate a young family with a live-in elderly parent, disabled individuals, aging persons, an owner who needs a live-in caretaker or even families with young children or whose adult children have come back home. In other words, it is universally designed, designed for everyone.”

The 1,992-square-foot ranch style LIFEhouse® has a two-car garage and an open floor plan for the kitchen, dining room, living room and sunroom. Its extra-wide, accessible entries, hallways and doorways—along with an elevator to the basement, garage and finished lower level, and specially designed kitchen and bathrooms—make it particularly convenient for anyone with compromised mobility.

The home also offers multiple amenities to accommodate residents of many ages, heights and physical abilities. These include lever door handles; stair handrails with lighting underneath; alternating colored low-pile carpet on stairs; hardwood flooring; no-slip porcelain tile; accessible light switches and outlets; a minimum of four lighting sources, plus daylight in all living spaces; a multisensory security system; no-step entrances; an accessible container garden on the back patio; and bathrooms designed to ensure a sanitary, care-free environment with high-end fixtures, mirrors of varying heights, self-closing drawers, and showers designed and built to promote ease of access.

kitchen sinkThe kitchen, too, includes numerous UD features: appliances installed at appropriate heights, light/sound controls in easy-to-reach safety panels, an easy-load dishwasher and an easy-to-use microwave, induction cook top with automatic safety turn off and a refrigerator with almost universal access to frozen and refrigerated areas.

The home made quite an impression on one visitor, who became an anonymous donor and, with the assistance of the Chicago NFL Retired Players Association, the Chicago chapter of HomeAid, the foundation of the National Home Builders Association and the Newport Cove community, is donating a second LIFEhouse®, now under construction, to a severely injured service member. Ground for that home was broken in November.


The iDAPT Centre for Rehabilitation Research Opens

Aerospace technology meets rehabilitation research to help people living with the effects of aging and disabling injury and illness.

There is nothing else like it in the world. A six-degree-of-freedom motion simulator located four storeys below ground that can recreate different environments, like winter blizzards and bustling streets, and outperform most flight training simulators. That is just one feature of what is the most technologically-advanced rehabilitation research centre in the world. And it is here in Canada.

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab), part of the University Health Network (UHN), today officially opened its $36-million-dollar research centre - iDAPT (Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology). Located in the heart of Canada’s ‘Discovery District’ in downtown Toronto, iDAPT is approximately 65,000 square feet of new and renovated space.

Led by Dr. Geoff Fernie, Institute Director, Toronto Rehab/UHN, iDAPT laboratories will help “revolutionize rehabilitation science.”

“iDAPT research will produce new knowledge, more practical technologies and innovative treatments that will reduce accidents and illness and help people overcome disability. We can help people live healthier, more active and more independent lives,” said Dr. Fernie. “This research will push the boundaries of rehabilitation science in Canada and beyond.”

Scientists and research students from a broad range of engineering and clinical disciplines all work collaboratively to develop solutions that will help restore independence and quality of life for people recovering from injury or illness. Falls are a major cause of injury and disability for older adults so researchers at iDAPT are studying how people walk up and down stairs, and how they walk on icy sidewalks in order to determine how to prevent falls.

“We are redefining rehabilitation. It is now about preventing you from having an illness, accident or injury in the first place,” said Dr. Fernie. “And if you get sick or have an injury, rehabilitation is what will get you back home, back to work and back to the activities you enjoy doing.”

The number of Canadians over the age of 65 will double in the next two decades. Globally we are facing a healthcare challenge: how to care for a rapidly aging population when long-term care is not an option.

“Our research includes a big focus on finding ways to help family members care for each other and remain in their own homes as they age,” adds Dr. Fernie.

“Much of the work Toronto Rehab is doing here will help people remain in their homes longer. The HomeLab, for instance, is a living environment where new assistive devices and adaptive technologies are being developed to help people stay safely in their home for longer,” said Nancy Lefebre, Senior Vice President, Knowledge and Practice, Saint Elizabeth. “Supporting people to stay in their homes will reduce the burden on the healthcare system.”

“I know iDAPT research will have a remarkable impact on preventing injuries and disabilities. I'm confident that this new centre will lead to advancements that will make a real difference for patients and their families. I’m excited to see how this research will enable Ontarians to thrive in their homes longer and live healthier lives,” said Minister Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“Our government knows that investing in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs will keep Canada’s economy growing,” said Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “Researchers at this state-of-the-art facility will develop leading-edge treatments and assistive devices to help people with disabilities live healthier, more independent lives.”

iDAPT’s integrated network of 13 different state-of-the-art laboratories, workshops and other research spaces, are housed at the hospital’s University Centre (550 University Ave., Toronto) and Lyndhurst Centre (520 Sutherland Dr., Toronto) and in the Rehabilitation Sciences building at the University of Toronto (500 University Ave., Toronto).

The iDAPT Centre is part of Toronto Rehab’s multi-million dollar capital redevelopment of its University Ave. site. This project, funded by the Ontario government and Toronto Rehab Foundation involved the construction of a new patient care tower, with expanded inpatient and outpatient areas and renovations to the existing facility – the recent integration with University Health Network will mean that additional rehabilitation beds will be opened within the University Centre. Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care supported this renovation and expansion and the hospital remains publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable.

iDAPT is funded by the federal government through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and by the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Innovation Trust and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Local, national and international private sector partnerships provided in-kind contributions. The growing research program at Toronto Rehab is supported by the Toronto Rehab Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab), part of the University Health Network (UHN), is one of North America’s leading academic rehabilitation sciences centres. It is a teaching and research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, visit www.torontorehab.com.

For more information, videos, and high-resolution photos, go to the iDAPT social media news release: http://www.torontorehab.com/News---Media/iDAPT-Opening.aspx

For broadcast quality video, download at: http://cnw.pathfireondemand.com/viewpackage.action?packageid=497

To book an interview with our researchers, please contact:
Carolyn Lovas
Media Relations Specialist
Toronto Rehab
416 597 3422, ext. 3837
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information on iDAPT facilities, please contact:
Bruno Maruzzo
Commercialization Officer
416-597-3422 ext. 7898
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Edward Steinfeld

Dr. Edward Steinfeld will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2012 Universal Design Summit. Each keynote speaker was asked to answer the following question: “What is the biggest challenge for universal design today from your professional viewpoint?" According to Dr. Steinfeld, "the primary challenge in the field of universal design is to clarify the concept and demonstrate its benefits to all. By broadening outcomes from usability to include social participation and wellness, we can overcome the perception that universal design is a narrow technical specialty. And, by addressing diversity and social justice issues beyond disability, we can expand the constituency for universal design practice and also emphasize that disablement is a universal human experience that intersects with many other conditions. Ultimately, the goal should be to develop a sustainable and global community of practice that serves as a home for those interested in design that empowers people and addresses the diversity in human populations. Getting from here to there will require establishing an infrastructure for communication, information sharing, and effective tools for research and practice. A twin focus on evidence based practice and encouraging innovation will provide a strongest foundation for this field to prosper in the context of contemporary civilization." He will expand on this issue in his lecture entitled "The Goals of Universal Design" at the conference.

Click here for more information about the UD2012 conference >>

GUDC Announces New Appointments

global universal design logo
The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), a not-for-profit corporation established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services, is pleased to announce the appointment of James Schmeling as its interim executive director. Schmeling is managing director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University (SU), which he co-founded. He will coordinate collaboration between these and other organizations to benefit stakeholders.

In his role with GUDC, Schmeling will collaborate with the board of directors and the committees working on standards and ratings, focus on creating opportunities for current and new members, and promote use of the standards by business and industry, non-governmental organizations and others. Schmeling has extensive experience with the GUDC, having worked as the liaison to GUDC from the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at SU since GUDC’s inception. As managing director of IVMF he will bring a special focus on Veterans and their families, and inclusion of wounded Veterans and caregivers.

“This is a natural focus for my volunteer service activities, given my background work at BBI in disability law and policy,” says Schmeling. “As executive director of GUDC, I will give voice to the needs of the Veteran and military families’ community as they relate to Universal Design (UD). UD workplaces will attract the best and brightest Veterans and their families as employees. Further, my appointment positions GUDC to have direct and immediate impact in the Veteran services community.”

University Professor and BBI Chairman Peter Blanck, also GUDC chairman, said “James has been at the forefront in the creation and growth of other university research centers, and it is a great privilege to partner with James again, given his strong expertise in building organizations; he will be instrumental in helping the GUDC continue its growth and impact.”

Also joining the GUDC staff is Jordana Maisel, MUP, to serve as interim deputy director, a position in which she will continue her work with the standards committee and ratings subcommittee as well as expand to other committees as they form. Maisel is director of outreach and policy studies at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center) at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York (UB). She has been instrumental in the progress of the standards committee and in development of the proposed ratings system, working extensively with ratings subcommittee chair Greg Patterson of Procter & Gamble. Maisel also serves as co-director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design in the Built Environment at UB, a project director for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT), and is adjunct assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning at UB. With her new appointment to the GUDC, Maisel brings skills as an urban planner and interests in improving the built environment to foster neighborhood development and revitalization and developing public policy. Maisel also is editor of the IDeA Center's e-newsletter and is responsible for the monitoring and assessment of RERC programs.

“I am eager to take a leadership role within the GUDC. My eight years at the IDeA Center and my GUDC committee work over the past three years have reinforced the importance and need for Universal Design standards,” Maisel notes. "I believe this will allow me to support ongoing efforts, and work closely with James, the board, the committees and other experts to explore new and exciting strategies to ensure GUDC’s continued success.”

“Ms. Maisel has been a terrific asset to the GUDC over the past few years and has supported the standards committee and ratings subcommittee. This appointment recognizes her valuable contributions to date, and her ability to advance GUDC’s agenda,” says Joshua Heintz, GUDC co-founder, board member and treasurer. Professor Ed Steinfeld of UB, an international leader in UD and a GUDC board member, said “Jordana has been instrumental in the effort to develop consensus standards and a rating system for the GUDC. She has the knowledge of universal design as well as the leadership skills to help move the GUDC forward into further standards development activities, certification and accreditation programs. “

Universal design makes things easier, healthier and friendlier to use for everyone. The GUDC is currently developing UD voluntary consensus standards for commercial buildings, livable communities and products, which will expand access to buildings, communities, products and services for all people. The standards will guide corporations and government entities in the creation of environments free of barriers to social participation, providing diverse users with access to commerce, public services, entertainment and employment opportunities.

For more information on the GUDC, see http://globaluniversaldesign.com/.

 


University at Buffalo's Greiner Hall

Universal Design features implemented in University at Buffalo's new state-of-the-art Greiner Hall

Sustainable, Plyboo walls. Floor tiling made from recycled soda bottles. Man-made ponds designed to capture rainwater before it enters an overloaded sewer system. Electrical outlets high enough to be easily accessible to wheelchair users. Classrooms and lounges suitable for educational programs and social gatherings.The usability and effectiveness of Greiner Hall’s universally designed components will be tested as part of a research project that UB’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center) is conducting with the goal of evaluating and improving new universal design standards for public buildings. Read More >>

 


designer hugh herr

The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs

Hugh Herr's legs were amputated below his knees in 1982 after a climbing accident. From his knees down to the floor, he's completely artificial.

"I'm titanium, carbon, silicon, a bunch of nuts and bolts," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "My limbs that I wear have 12 computers, five sensors and muscle-like actuator systems that able me to move throughout my day."

Photo by Len Rubenstein/Crown Business

Read More >>

 


2011 YAF/COD IDEAS COMPETITION: UNIVERSAL DESIGN

student project of mix used building complex

The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Young Architects Forum (YAF) and Committee on Design (COD) have selected the recipients of the second annual YAF/COD Ideas Competition, sponsored by TOTO. Results in addition to images of the awarded projects with brief narratives from the designers can be found after the break.

Submitting teams were asked to explore the principles of Universal Design as well as their overlap with the values of social and environmental sustainability. Read more >>



BUFFALO FIRM HELPS MANUFACTURERS GET ON BOARD WITH ACCESSIBILITY

wheelchair user participating in bus usability studyYou might not have heard the term “universal design," but pass through a doorway, walk down a hall, or step into an elevator, and you're surrounded by it.

It's about making the world more accessible for people with disabilities (and everyone else), and a western New York organization has played a key role in spreading the principal. Read More >>

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED: FICCDAT ABSTRACTS NOW DUE JAN. 4 2011

Abstract submissions for The International Conference on Best Practices in Universal Design are now due January 4th! The conference is part of the Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology (FICCDAT), which will bring together six important and different conferences June 5-8, 2011 in Toronto, ON. Abstracts for all six conferences are due January 4, 2011.

The International Conference on Best Practices in Universal Design will be Co-Chaired by Ed Steinfeld, Director of the IDeA Center and Co-Director of the RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment and the RERC on Accessible Public Transportation, Peter Blanck, Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, and Aaron Steinfeld, Systems Scientist in the Robotics Institute (RI) at Carnegie Mellon University and Co-Director of the RERC on Accessible Public Transportation.

Click here for more information about FICCDAT, the International Conference on Best Practices in Universal Design, or to submit an Abstract.

 


THE NEXT GENERATION ACCESSIBLE BUS DESIGN COMPETITION

competition bannerPublic transportation plays an important role in creating an accessible society because it is critical for ensuring employment, citizenship, social role participation, and social interaction for people with disabilities. This design competition challenges the public (students, transit professionals, designers, and futurists) to think creatively about what they envision for “The Next Generation Accessible Bus” of 2030. Designs must incorporate advanced technologies and accommodate people of all ages and abilities equally.


Abstracts due January 4, 2011. Find Out More >>

 


Implanted chip 'allows blind people to detect objects'

image of an eyeA man with an inherited form of blindness has been able to identify letters and a clock face using a pioneering implant, researchers say. Miikka Terho, 46, from Finland, was fitted with an experimental chip behind his retina in Germany. Success was also reported in other patients. The chip allows a patient to detect objects with their eyes, unlike a rival approach that uses an external camera. Read More >>




Call for Papers on Universal Design in Play, Sport, and Travel

 

inclusive play diagramDesign for All India features articles that apply Universal Design to concrete design problems whether that is in relation to products, space, or policies. The April 2011 issue of Design for All India will explore the issues covered in Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - leisure activities such as play, sports, and travel. Learn More >>

 

 


IPad Opens World to a Disabled Boy

a boy looking at a i padOWEN CAIN depends on a respirator and struggles to make even the slightest movements — he has had a debilitating motor-neuron disease since infancy. Owen, 7, does not have the strength to maneuver a computer mouse, but when a nurse propped her boyfriend’s iPad within reach in June, he did something his mother had never seen before. Read More >>

 

 


Interactive Wayfinding Kiosk now installed at Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Touch Graphics Wayfinding KioskTouch Graphics is testing a new approach to making public way-finding information accessible to people with print disabilities. Two new talking map kiosks at Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired present multi-sensory information in many ways simultaneously. Kiosk users can consult a raised line map that speaks the names of places that are touched. Alternatively, users can scroll through alphabetical lists of departments, and staff members, and then listen to verbal way-finding scripts that explain in clear language how to reach various destinations. Learn More >>


Fall 2010 E-Newsletter Now Available:

In this Issue:

IDeA Center and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Awarded RERC on Universal Design in the Built Environment for Another Five Years

Global Universal Design Commission Approves First UD Standard

Rural Aging in Place Initiative

IDeA Center Offers Two Continuing Education Courses Beginning October 18, 2010

FICCDAT Conference

Design Competition--"The Next Generation Accessible Bus"

Recent Publications

RESEARCH UPDATES: RERC-UD

RESEARCH UPDATES: RERC-APT

GOTO Newsletter >>

 


(Thecityfix.com) Access for All: Transport for the Disabled Poor

Inaccessible streets and transport systems in cities in developing countries can keep disabled people trapped in poverty. Above, a blind man tries to cross a street in Hyderabad, India. Photo via Robin King.

Photo via Robin King

Ten to 12 percent of the world’s population lives with a moderate to severe disability — that’s about 700 to 800 million people, or more than twice the population of the United States. Eighty percent of those people are in developing countries; and among those who are of working age, unemployment hovers around 80 to 90 percent.

It’s not surprising, then, that having a disability makes a person much more likely to live in extreme poverty. Disabled individuals also face much greater challenges to escaping the poverty cycle. While many developing countries report reductions in poverty, and in some cases, inequality, disabled people too often continue to be economically and socially excluded, unable to take advantage of economic growth and new opportunities like the rest of society.

So how can sustainable transport be used as a tool to improve conditions and access to markets, capital and public services for disabled individuals? Read More >>

 

July 26th: 20th Anniversary of the ADA:

ada wheelchair symbol with title Americans with Disabilities  Act: 20th Anniversary July 26th



Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Workplace Accommodations (Work RERC) at Georgia Tech:

Announcement of a new survey about workplace accommodations – technology, physical changes to the workplace, or policy changes that employees have used to help them be more effective in their jobs. We are most interested in the features that help an employee because of a limitation in his or her ability due to a loss of function or disability.


The survey is online and on average, it takes about 25 minutes to complete, though it might take longer depending on the number of accommodations used. You will have the option of saving your survey and continuing it at a later time. Individuals who have difficulty using the computer may also schedule an appointment with us to complete the survey over the phone. Contact information is listed on the survey site.


If you are interested in finding out more about this survey, please visit the link below, where you will find more information and can continue on to take the survey if you desire.


http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/200473/workplace-features-that-aid-function

 


2nd Call for Abstract

Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology

 


UB REACHING OTHERS: Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence

Edward H. Steinfeld, a professor in the University at Buffalo's School of Architecture and Planning received the university's second annual Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence. Steinfeld is a international pioneer in the field of inclusive design and environmental access. President John B. Simpson says Steinfeld's training and scholarly gifts have created a new world of possibilities for the elderly and disabled.

 


Dwell Magazine: An Introduction to Universal Design
101 universal design computer with petals

Illustration by Raymond Biesinger

Mention universal design and see your companions’ eyes start glazing over. Though formally flashy chairs and posh penthouses may reside at the sexier end of the design world, universal design actually affects us all. So pay attention and prepare to learn something - your less hale days aren’t far off; none of ours is. Read More >>

 


Harvard GSD Lunch Box session: Inclusive Design in the 21st Century

inclusive design in the 21st century lecture posterHarvard GSD Student Group for Social Change is hosting a lunch box special meeting on Inclusive Design in the 21st Century featuring IDeA
Center Professor Beth Tauke and Senior Research Associate Susan Hunter on April 19th
.

 

 

 


Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention

Soldiers who've lost limbs in service face a daily struggle unimaginable to most of us. At TEDMED, Dean Kamen talks about the profound people and stories that motivated his work to give parts of their lives back with his design for a remarkable prosthetic arm.

 


Edward Steinfeld to receive UB presidential award

photo of Edward Steinfeld and a student

Edward H. Steinfeld, award-winning professor of architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning and an international pioneer in the field of inclusive design and environmental access, will receive the university’s second annual Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence from President John B. Simpson at 5 p.m. March 25 in 146 Diefendorf Hall, South Campus. Read More >>

 


Olympic Park inclusive design hailed as setting new standard for industry

image of male and female talking

The design of the Olympic Park has been praised for its inclusivity and accessibility, and highlighted as potentially changing the way future developments are designed. Read More >>

 

 


CNN Article on Web Accessibility

visually impaired individuals using computers

Advancement in technology and software enables visually impaired individuals experience the web with ease. Read more >>

Common Syringe is Redesigned by Oxo

Oxo SyringeOxo Syringe parts identification image

The new design helps those with rheumatoid arthritis with the tricky task of self-administered injections. The design gives a level of comfort to patients who need to self adminitster shots.

Read More >>

Emporia delivers simple cellphone:

emporia phone emporia phone, closeup of screen and back cover

Emporia Life has designed a cell phone for an older demographic. The phone’s simple shape, large buttons and large screen text allow users to navigate the features on the phone with ease. Read More >>

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Universal Design discussed on Wikipedia

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Rolling Rains Report

Aging in Place Guide Blog

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