duPont Hospital for Children and the University of Delaware
Vol. 2, No. 2 -- Winter/Spring 1997

Getting the Dialogue Started

Spring greetings from this, our second issue of The Innovator. In this issue, we have paid particular attention to following our philosophy of emphasizing the benefits of including consumers in research and product design. As you read The Innovator, use it as a tool to challenge yourself in your own activities to offer consumers a greater role in shaping the products and programs that serve them - and then let us know how you did it!

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is a leader in the United States in facilitating a better understanding of Consumer Participatory Research (PAR). Dr. Kate Seelman, the Director of NIDRR, provides her thoughts on PAR.

Our project spotlight this issue is on the ASEL's own Consumer Innovation Laboratory, one of the many models of consumer involvement.

In addition, you'll find a feature on designing products for visually impaired people. Ron Morford, Director of Assistive Technology of Automated Functions, Inc. shares tips on the product design process and how to keep potential customers with disabilities in mind while in the design phase of the project.

! Jim Fee then reviews the article "Design Methodology for Aids for the Disabled" in which the author suggests a design approach that could drastically reduce the cost of design and development for assistive devices.

Please keep the ideas and information coming. Submissions for the next issue are welcome!

Inside This Issue

Participatory Research -- Katherine Seelman, Director of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, discusses a little history of PAR and calls for a dialogue.

Two Perspectives -- Ron Morford, President of Automated Functions, discusses designing products for visually impaired people. Ron offers special insight on this topic because he is blind.

Review: Design Methodology -- Engineer Jim Fee reviews an article from the Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology.

Consumer Innovation Lab -- Applied Science and Engineering Laboratories' own ConLab project follows one model of PAR. In future issues, we'll explore other models.

Design Team Update

* Auto-Vac Design Team * | * Egg Breaker Design Team * | * Pageturner Design Team *

Upcoming Events and Articles of Interest

* Abilities Expo

  1. Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont, IL, August 8-10, 1997.
  2. Capital Expo Center, Chantilly, VA, September 12-14, 1997.
  3. San Mateo Expo Center, San Mateo, CA, November 14-16, 1997.

* Consumer Participation and Outcomes Research by Richard Salcido, MD, in REHAB Management, December/January 1997, pp. 48-51.

* National Institute on Consumer-Directed Longterm Services on the web:

* Productability offers product searching of their databases of over 40,000 commercially available products. They also work with manufacturers to place new products in real living situations with people with disabilities. Find them at:

* Research Paradigm Shift: Participatory Action Research by Janet L. Guerrero, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center of the Pacific, on the web:

* * Web pages on consumer inclusive research and development -- The Consumer Innovation Lab at the Applied Science & Engineering Laboratories has its own web pages. You'll find them at:

* Are you interested in a listserver for consumer involvement ? -- The Consumer Innovation Lab would be willing to maintain the listserver, if there are enough interested participants. Contact ASEL to be on the list.