Digital Helpers: Co-designing AR with neurodiverse clients
It started in Ireland here at UCD and it is gaining traction fast.
Universal Design assumes as 'norm' from which some of us deviate. Inclusive Design assumes no norms and insists upon a 1- size-fits-1 model, invented by Prof Jutta Treviranus (world-renowned found of Inclusive Design, a PhD graduate of our programme).
The Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland @ UCD has been constituted as a research centre to facilitate and promote post-disciplinary action research and scholarship in the domain of Inclusive Design to support the educational and life needs of ALL people with all abilities and assistive technology requirements
The IDRC operates as the main academic Euopean hub for the international network, national resource as well as a main hub of expertise for Europe, to act as a central research support unit to host funded Post-Doc fellows and PhDs. A Masters in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation is also in the pipeline.
The IDRC hosts a set of showcase spaces or 'labs' where researchers, industry collaborators, clinicians and clients can work and play together, to achieve joint goals addressing real-world needs. Some projects use the N=1 model, others start at large scale.
Constituted as a national centre with an all-island remit and a global reach, the IDRC is a locus of research and education, providing postgraduate research training and supervision, and hosting national and international scholars undertaking practice-based clinical and scholarly research in the cognate disciplines of Inclusive Design.
The Centre brought a range of cutting edge technology innovations with SMARTlab when it arrived at UCD in 2010, including Assistive Technology and Multimodal Interfaces equipment and programmes (eye gaze interface systems and tools, gamified apps and early AR tools, performance tech tools, et al) and the SMARTlab’s Virtual World and Games for Learning methods came with us from our London MAGIC lab (Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre) in the London docklands. We partner closely on projects in this space with the Oxford-based charity SpecialEffect, led by Dr Mick Donegan (former SMARTlab Deputy Director, London) creating games with and for kids with complex needs.
An untapped area of scholarship
The Centre lead research activity in Ireland and beyond is significant and growing
The centre provides a national resource of human expertise and material resources capable of meeting the needs of scholars and clinicians studying a range of subjects from Unconscious Bias in Data, XR futures, workspaces of the future, Assistive Technologies to Disability Support, Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs, Higher Education and the History of Health and Special Needs Education, Robotics and Haptics for Inclusive Communications, Sensory Design, Design for more inclusive built environments, Virtual Worlds and Games for Learning, and Social Media tools for empowering SMARThealth systems.
This centre aims to support and include all people as equal researchers engaged in the co-design of more inclusive social and health/education spaces and curricula: not only people with disabilities but also a wider range of people constrained by personal or professional circumstances, or economic or social disadvantage are of particular concern to the extended reach of the Centre, which will not adhere to a simple ‘medical model’ of disability (which tended in the past to see disability as a problem of the person not fitting into the world) but will rather endorse and support a social model of inclusivity (which sees disability, injury, economic or political or personal marginalisation all as symptoms of an unhealthy society, wherein it is society and its systems and structures that require ‘repair’, not people).
A resource for scholars and practitioners in the Health Sciences and Human Sciences as well as in IT and Technology Development and the industries that support these domains, the Centre generates much-needed additional research capacity for a range of disciplines and acts as a centre of excellence for the collection and preservation of digital archives of best practice interventions in this important field.
The Centre hosts regular (bi-weekly) online seminars with global experts (free and open to all) and three annual week-long intensive seminars for the PhD cohort in particular. We provide a locus for inter-disciplinary collaboration in research, digital invention and archiving, and education, and serve as both a national and an international resource for visiting scholars, students, industry partners, and members of the public.
support and include all people
Established December 2013
IDRC@UCD is the local university-approved instantiation of the SMARTlab PhD
(which has run globally for nearly 30 years)
The IDRC provides the national and international framework for interdisciplinary expertise to deliver on major research programmes in Research, Policy and Practice for Inclusive Design, including STEM & STEAM Education, Empathic Computing, Future Forsighting, Assistive Technologies for People with Intellectual and other abilities and disabilities, Gamification for Connected Health, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Performance Technologies, Unconscious Bias/Data Bias, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and multiple interdisciplinary programmes directly supporting the Sustainable Development Goals with our partners in the United Nations and their NGOs and IGOs.
Collaborating faculty, Postdocs and 32 active PhDs (plus 60 successful PhD graduated from our PhD in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation) run projects in all these domains, some in partnership with industry and others co-funded by research councils and philanthropic funds via our SMARTlab Centre for Creative Technology Innovation.
Our 'mother ship' site is the IDRC and linked Inclusive Design Institute at Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCADU) in Toronto, directed by Professor Jutta Treviranus.
Our partner in Asiana is the Centre for Inclusive Design, Sydney, directed by Dr Manisha Amin. South American programmes in this domain are led by Dr Silvia Margarita Baldiris Novarra, whilst European charity partner projects are directed by Dr Eva de Lera of Raising the Floor International: dedicated to 'all boats rising' (rather than some hitting a glass ceiling) when in projects led by women and diverse communities to solve their own issues and to create their own solutions in a co-design process.
The IDRC at UCD was set up and approved by UCD ACCE as a formal research entity of the university, in part to host the academic chair role for the award-winning 8.9 million euro ASSISTID research project: funded by the European Commission as a co-Fund with the charity Respect and the all-island research group known as DOCTRID at RCSI (the Royal College of Surgeons Institute), ASSISTED (Assistive Technologies in Support of People with Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism), for which Professor Lizbeth Goodman of UCD served as Academic Chair and PI of six Postdoc projects for ASSISTID from 2013-17. The projects included partners at CSI, Ulster University Belfast, and the University of Michigan as well as the European network of the Marie Curie Programme, which was its host