playlist

Designing for disability

Good design -- and smart technology -- should fuel inclusivity. These talks show how tech and design can empower.

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  1. 13:17
    Elise Roy When we design for disability, we all benefit

    "I believe that losing my hearing was one of the greatest gifts I've ever received," says Elise Roy. As a disability rights lawyer and design thinker, she knows that being Deaf gives her a unique way of experiencing and reframing the world — a perspective that could solve some of our largest problems. As she says: "When we design for disability first, you often stumble upon solutions that are better than those when we design for the norm."

  2. 9:57
    Sinéad Burke Why design should include everyone

    Sinéad Burke is acutely aware of details that are practically invisible to many of us. At 105 centimeters (or 3' 5") tall, the designed world — from the height of a lock to the range of available shoe sizes — often inhibits her ability to do things for herself. Here she tells us what it's like to navigate the world as a little person and asks: "Who are we not designing for?"

  3. 11:40
    Chris Downey Design with the blind in mind

    What would a city designed for the blind be like? Chris Downey is an architect who went suddenly blind in 2008; he contrasts life in his beloved San Francisco before and after — and shows how the thoughtful designs that enhance his life now might actually make everyone's life better, sighted or not.

  4. 6:57
    Mileha Soneji Simple hacks for life with Parkinson's

    Simple solutions are often best, even when dealing with something as complicated as Parkinson's. In this inspiring talk, Mileha Soneji shares accessible designs that make the everyday tasks of those living with Parkinson's a bit easier. "Technology is not always it," she says. "What we need are human-centered solutions."

  5. 20:34
    David Eagleman Can we create new senses for humans?

    As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. "Our experience of reality," says neuroscientist David Eagleman, "is constrained by our biology." He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces — such as a sensory vest — to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.

  6. 15:44
    Ron McCallum How technology allowed me to read

    Months after he was born, in 1948, Ron McCallum became blind. In this charming, moving talk, he shows how he reads — and celebrates the progression of clever tools and adaptive computer technologies that make it possible. With their help, and the help of volunteers, he's become a lawyer, an academic, and, most of all, a voracious reader. Welcome to the blind reading revolution.

  7. 21:57
    John Hockenberry We are all designers

    Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue — and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

  8. 19:00
    Hugh Herr The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance

    Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature's own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that's both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.

  9. 9:29
    Chieko Asakawa How new technology helps blind people explore the world

    How can technology help improve our quality of life? How can we navigate the world without using the sense of vision? Inventor and IBM Fellow Chieko Asakawa, who's been blind since the age of fourteen, is working on answering these questions. In a charming demo, she shows off some new technology that's helping blind people explore the world ever more independently ... because, she suggests, when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.

  10. 11:14
    Amos Winter The cheap all-terrain wheelchair

    How do you build a wheelchair ready to blaze through mud and sand, all for under $200? MIT engineer Amos Winter guides us through the mechanics of an all-terrain wheelchair that's cheap and easy to build — for true accessibility — and gives us some lessons he learned along the road.

  11. 9:35
    Neil Harbisson I listen to color

    Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.