Thinking Through Making Friday, June 8th, 2018

Technology as Creative Tool: Rapid Prototyping Assistive Eating Devices for Children with AMC

Ashley Pigford, Associate Professor, University of Delaware

IxD graduate students at University of Delaware make technology a tool for creativity in the design of assistive eating devices for children with AMC.

Whether applying creativity to a self-initiated inquiry or something outside of oneself, the ability of one’s creative process to physically affect others is the core of design action. In the Interaction Design (IxD) graduate program at the University of Delaware students are applying their individual creativity in altruistic ways: to the creation of assistive eating devices for children with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC).

AMC is a debilitating, muscular condition involving congenital joint contracture and causing extreme difficulty in performing everyday tasks – including feeding oneself. In collaboration with University of Delaware faculty member Michele Lobo, PT, PhD, and Director of the Move to Learn Innovation Lab, IxD students are working to design and rapidly prototype mechanical and electro-mechanical devices that assist children with AMC to gain much needed freedom in feeding themselves. Throughout this process, IxD students utilize creative, heuristic and collaborative practice-based research, drawing on physical computing, 3D modeling and digital fabrication technologies, with iteration and physical feedback fueling creativity.

This presentation will include the results of this research – a process that considers technology as a creative tool, whether applied to personal or societal benefit.