6.S196 Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology



Units: 3-4-5

Prereq: see information in subject description

Schedule: MWF1, room 3-333, lab MW3-5, room 32-044

Instructors:  Professor Seth Teller, teller@csail.mit.edu, Co-lecturers: Professors Rob Miller and Nick Roy




This subject has been approved as either an AUS or as a department lab.

This interdisciplinary lecture- and project-based subject focuses on the effective practice of assistive and adaptive technology for individuals with disabilities. Lectures cover: design methods and problem-solving strategies; institutional review boards; human factors; human-machine interfaces; community perspectives; social and ethical aspects; and assistive technology for motor, cognitive, perceptual, and age-related impairments.

Lectures would be given by the course staff and by a number of external participants: colleagues from Boston-area and other organizations and companies developing assistive technology.

Lab exercises give students direct experience with a variety of AT devices and approaches.

Students will work in small teams to identify an individual in the local community with a need for assistive technology, to understand the limitations that individual wishes to overcome, and to construct a prototype assistive device. Both staff and students would network extensively with local AT entities such as user groups, commercial firms, and government organizations to help understand and address the challenge. Regular in-class panels of users and outside experts will give the students frank feedback about their plans and progress.

Prior knowledge of one or more of the following areas would be useful: software (1.00, 6.005, 6.170, or 16.35); electronics (6.002, 6.070, 6.111, or 6.115); human-computer interaction (6.813, MAS.630, MAS.771); cognitive science (9.012, 9.14, 9.65); mechanical engineering (2.007); control (2.004, 6.302, or 16.30); MIT hobby shop, MIT PSC, or other relevant independent project experience.