Global Assistive Technology Innovation

2024 ~ Present | We will be partnering with disability organizations in Rwanda.


There are more than 2.5 billion people who need Assistive Technology (AT) to live productive and dignified lives and nearly one billion of them do not have access to the AT they need. Access to AT can be as low as 3% in Sub-Saharan Africa. This VIP aims to enable students to participate in creative problem-solving toward bridging this AT access gap. Students will be introduced to concepts of inclusive design and innovation while ideating feasible ways to collect and present stories of people with disabilities who live in Sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate locally relevant AT innovation.


Issues Involved or Addressed

Disability, Assistive Technology Access Gap, Inclusive Innovation, Locally Relevant Assistive Technology Innovation, Global Development.

During the Fall 2024 semester, we will have two projects: (1) GIS mapping the AT provision in Rwanda, and (2) developing a locally relevant AT in collaboration with our partners in Rwanda. The students will choose and join only one project and work with their sub-team throughout the semester. We will build on the lessons we learned from our week-long student trip to Kigali, Rwanda during the Spring 2024 semester.


Methods and Technologies

  • Working in teams
  • Design Thinking
  • UX Research & Design
  • Prototyping
  • Product development
  • Geographic Information System

Academic Majors of Interest

  • BusinessGlobal Development
  • ComputingComputer Science
  • ComputingHuman-Centered Computing
  • DesignGeographic Information Science and Technology
  • DesignIndustrial Design
  • EngineeringBiomedical Engineering
  • Ivan AllenPublic Policy
  • SciencesApplied Physiology

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Experience with or interest in inclusive design and innovation for people with disabilities. Strong organizational skills, a sense of responsibility, openness to learning, adaptability, and adept communication abilities with teammates, instructors, as well as external partners and collaborators. This VIP welcomes students of all levels, from sophomore level to doctoral students.


Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
214 East Architecture
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Zerrin Ondin-Fraser
  • College of Design
Ellen Bassett
  • College of Design

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

We will be partnering with disability organizations in Rwanda.

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