Author Archives: designabilities

About designabilities

DESIGNABILITIES is an open-access journal established since 2009, managed and edited by....

Derrida: Memories of the Blind.

»Ich schreibe, ohne es zu sehen. Ich bin gekommen. Ich wollte Ihnen die Hand küssen. Es ist das erste Mal, das ich im Dunkeln schreibe, ohne zu wissen, ob ich Buchsta­ben bilde. Überall, wo nichts auf dem Blatt stehet, sollen … Continue reading

Posted in art, blind, Literature, philodhopir, philosophie

Experience research live at 4010

Next Week (April 21, 2010 at 7 p.m.) we will present some insights from our research process of the project speechless. Entrance is free; refreshments will be provided We are looking forward to seeing you there! Presentation “Speechless – Researching … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, Capability Simulation, co-design, deaf, design project, design research, design study, event, exhibition, Experience Disability, interaction, research

Reading Chart

Flipside of our latest flyer for a workshop on interaction and visual impairment… [Designabilities // Tom Bieling]

Posted in advertisement, blind, design project, design research, disability aesthetics, visual communication

rhythm impaired – humorous campaign

US employment agencies have launched a national ad campaign to encourage businesses to employ workers with disabilities. “The ads try to challenge misconceptions about workers with disabilities by offering humorous examples of ‘differences’ among people who are already employed. Among … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement, humor

sensory typo

A 2007 edition of ALPHABET magazine presented graphic design approaches to tactile visual styles. Varied custom braille typefaces included beveled typography for a sensory experience. via network osaka

Posted in blind, graphic, typo

The Voder: first attempt to synthesise human speech

“The Bell Telephone Laboratory’s Voder* was the first attempt to synthesise human speech by breaking it down into its component sounds and then reproducing the sound patterns electronically to create speech. That sounds simple in theory and, in fact it … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Rebecca Horn – Finger Gloves

German contemporary performance artist and filmmaker Rebecca Horn, performing her “Finger Gloves” in 1972. The image below shows her performance piece in which she wears long balsa extensions on her fingers, an example of her body-extension creations, which play with ideas … Continue reading

Posted in art, body modification, performance

Seeing beyond Sight – Photographs by blind teenagers.

 Seing the world through blind person’s eyes?! Tony Deifell presents his photography project with blind teenagers on his website. There is also a video about the project 

Posted in blind, photography | Leave a comment

museum of disABILITIES

A nice collection on disability representation in media, as well as related topics linked to disability and medicine, society, education and advocacy we find at the museum of disABILITIES [Foto: museum of disability]

Posted in disability studies

Human Augmentation

John hockenberry and Hugh Herr at MIT world on human restauration and augmentation… watch the full clip here!

Posted in augmentative communication, multimodality, neuroscience, prosthetics

Prototyping in SecondLife – Experiencing Disability for optimizing Accessibility

Lloyd, Birchler and Perry developed a multimedia prototype of a virtual reality application for the NCA (National Center on Accessibility). The application would allow participants to explore issues of accessibility within public parks and recreation areas. The used Second Life … Continue reading

Posted in accessible, Experience Disability, prototyping, virtual reality | Leave a comment

disability and virtual reality

As already mentioned in our recent post disability and virtual reality in our research we lay one focus on the imagery and reprasantation of disability in virtual reality (as well as in the world of mass media and pop culture), … Continue reading

Posted in virtual reality

Accessible Wadden Sea

Mobility in the mudflat… [Picture (now anonymised) found at: buesum24]

Posted in Uncategorized

Music and Deafness

In the context of popular music, there has always been an ambivalent relation to Loudness. On the one hand, certain music needs a certain volume to be fully perceived by the audience (think of live gigs or parties), on the … Continue reading

Posted in deaf, music

Roller Disco?

[picture source: unknown] How might we bring assistive products/technologies and aspects/activities of entertainment to a fruitful and enriching fusion? Let’s take pictures like the one above as a though-provoking source of inspiration.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Pictograms” for the Blind?

[Elevator Buttons – Braille subtitled; Foto: Tom Bieling] Taking the elevator this morning again, i was asking myself: Are there any kind of “non-visual” pictograms or icons for blind people? For me as a non-blind person my life is often … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design research, visual communication

Forbidden Language – Verbotene Sprache

[Forbidden Language – Verbotene Sprache; DVD Cover] My colleague Corinna, just told me about this Swiss documentary about the Sign Language Artist and Poetry Slammer Rolf Lanicca. It has recently been released on DVD. Here is the Trailer!

Posted in deaf, Film, movie

Computer learns Sign Language

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds have been experimenting with a tracking system: simply by watching TV the computer learns to match subtitles and Sign Language… The following short clip is german:

Posted in Uncategorized

Exploring Disability – The hard way ;-/

Rough suggestions for wrong parking offenders on this inofficial traffic sign: via: Ehrensenf

Posted in Experience Disability, visual communication

Man Machine – Fritz Kahn’s Körperbilder der Moderne

Tonight starts the exhibion on Frith Kahn, entitled “Fritz Kahn – Maschine Mensch”, at the Berlin Museum of Medical History of the Charité (university hospital), presenting more than 100 illustrations of this incredible visionary. We are looking forward to see and report … Continue reading

Posted in art, Calendar, exhibition, graphic, research, visual communication

Access Denied – Making a Statement with Sculpture

Interventional 3D Street-Art found through Woostercollective. “My sculptures look at access and disability in the built environment. My aim is simply to get people talking about disability, using symbolism not as a design element that dictates to us what to … Continue reading

Posted in art

The end of “normal” human functioning in sports – Is the world ready for “cyborg” athletes?

[Pitorius] Already some time ago, Sentient Developments posted an interesting article on the general discussion of the use of prosthetic help in sports. On the occasion of the example of double-amputeed runner Oscar Pitorius, it raised the question, whether his prosthetic legs give … Continue reading

Posted in prosthetics

Tod Browning’s FREAKS

[Film Poster, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1932] In this fantastic movie, that has been named a “humane-tenderley horrorfilm” (KSTA), the physically deformed “freaks” are inherently trusting and honorable people, while the real monsters are two of the “normal” members of the circus.  Classic, … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies, Film, movie

I can not see my opponent, but i smell his fear!

Paralympics-Campaign for the “Behinderten- und Rehabilitations-Sportverband Hamburg” (Agency: Red Rabbit)

Posted in advertisement, blind

Conference Report: PRESENT DIFFERENCE – The Cultural Production of Disability (Manchester)

Just got back from „Present Difference – The Cultural Production of Disability“, a Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), that brought together academics, writers, artists, performers, broadcasters, film-makers and one design-researcher (;-)) to explore the cultural production of disability.   A … Continue reading

Posted in Conference, disability studies | Tagged , , , , , , ,

One Day blind in Berlin

Check out our video from our Self Experience “One Day blind in Berlin” (we reported from it in november here!): How do blind people navigate in public areas? How do sighted people react on a blind person? How does it … Continue reading

Posted in blind, Capability Simulation, design research, Experience Disability, Film, movie, senses

Dancer in the Dark

Selma (Björk), who is becoming blind, has “seen it all” in Von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark”:

Posted in blind, movie, music, performance, pop culture

Ben X

“In games you can be what you want to be. But here, you can only be a man” says the protagonist in this movie about a authist boy, who struggles with everyday life and flourishes in the virtual world. Here … Continue reading

Posted in movie

Robot People – Super human strength by wearable power assist suits

Besides the questions about hoe environment changes the body and vice versa, we like to ask further questions related to embodiment: What belongs to a body and what not? When does a body stop be be human, and when does … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Body and Environment – Mutual Influence

[Joris Laarman‘s Bone Chair] Since we have been aksing ourselves, how odies and environment influence one another, we are not only looking for evidence of body modification caused by artificial world, but also of  artifacts influenced by body model. Laarman’s … Continue reading

Posted in reciprocal learning

Visual Activism – Disability Rights Movement on the banner

Here is some from our collection of activism graphics around the disability rights movement. As far as we know, all authors are unknown. [“Ich bin/werde behindert” by Dieter Werdel] In Germany, in 1981 (the UNO year of the Disabled), the “Krüppelbewegung” (“Cripple Movement”) started … Continue reading

Posted in activism, advertisement, art


The poster from the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics uses abstract shapes in a rework of the Olympic logo as a celebration of diversity – catchy, nice and simple.

Posted in advertisement, graphic


What a pity, that we missed last year’s electronic art exhibion thisAbility vs. Disability – Looking at Disability through Creative Senses in Seoul. The exhibition presented ten interactive electronic art installations examining themes of human capability through creative transition of … Continue reading

Posted in blind, deaf, design project, embodiment, exhibition, Experience Disability, interaction, multimodality

Disability Embodiment & Performance Technology

[Digitally manipulated still from siren show; woman with outstretched arms] Disability and Embodiment have a long tradition in performing arts and performance studies.  This combination of topics has obviously been increasing in face of the growing implementation of technology.   Interesting … Continue reading

Posted in embodiment, performance

Portrait of a disabled Man – Schönwiese’s Documentary awarded!

[“Bildnis eines behinderten Mannes”*, Maler unbekannt, 16. Jahrhundert; Öl auf Leinwand, 135 x 110 cm; Schloss Ambras, Österreich] Resulting from his research project “Das Bildnis eines behinderten Mannes” (= Portrait of a disabled man), which also included the similar entitled … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies, Literature, movie

Disability Not Inability

This sticker was send to us by a friend. He does not know, where it comes from, and neither do we. However we are consistent with the idea behind it…

Posted in Uncategorized

My hearing-aid. My secret.

This german advertisement has recently caused discussion amongst various blogger-communities, e.g. lately in the SOZIALHELDEN blog ““.  The picture is taken from a campaign for siemens hearing-aids. It says: “My hearing-aid. My secret.” The general discussion now is, whether this might force … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement, deaf

Disability prohibited

Poor knowledge about the picture language of german visual guidance systems is shown at Nürnberg Airport. The intention was, to advise the passengers, that at a certain part of the airport there is no possibility for wheelchair-users to change floor, because … Continue reading

Posted in visual communication

i am not disabled

[Bildautor: Datenschmiede] A couple of years ago (2005?), austrian-based Datenschmiede refered to the disability topic with the little signet shown above, which (as far as we know) was published by the austrian Disability Network BIZEPS.  It says: “I am not disabled. … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement

Brussels: Pedestrians support

We just came back from NEXTDOOR in Brussels, where we presented some thoughts from our StreetLab at the design department of  SINT LUKAS university. During our walk through the city we noticed many helping tools for blind pedestrians. Here’s only some impressions… … Continue reading

Posted in blind

SNIFF the dog (Sarah Johansson)

On last year’s IDC, Sarah Johansson presented SNIFF, an interactive, RFID-detecting soft toy for visually impaired children. Every time an RFID-enabled object comes close to Sniff’s nose, the toy gives feedback through sound and vibration. Johansson: “By focusing on non-visual … Continue reading

Posted in blind, playful interaction, tangible interaction, toy | Leave a comment

Human Echolocation

Daniel Kish is specialist in blind Orientation & Mobility, as he is an expert on echolocation.

Posted in blind, echolocation


Francesca Lanzavecchia’s thesis project ‘pro aesthetics supports’ explores the perception of disability through its artefacts. In her project she redesigned common medical artefacts associated with disability such as neck braces, canes, crutches and back braces. [The aid-object grows to accommodate the … Continue reading

Posted in design project, design research, design study, disability aesthetics, prosthetics

USB Finger

Jerry Jalava, after loosing his finger in an accident, has now embedded a 2Gg USB stick in his prosthesis.  Watch more pics of this practical construction on his flickr!

Posted in body modification, prosthetics

Strange Interactions

In her Foto series “Strange Order”, hamburg based Sonja Vordermaier comes with some inspirational new ways of interaction (here: armless, with a teapot). Find more of her stuff at:

Posted in interaction, photography

Braille Interpreter

A majority of blind people (e.g. elderly) can not read braille. Designer Hyung Jin Lim promoted his idea for a braille interpreter… via yanko

Posted in blind, design project

Braille Jewelery

Swiss Jewely Artist Eva K. Bruggmann comes with a collection of braille adaptions for rings. Via Spandow

Posted in art, disability aesthetics, fashion, jewelery

Gary L. Albrecht talks in Cologne

Posted in disability studies

Design Beyond Disability (Eindhoven)

Interim Presentation of the Design Beyond Disability Project at the domain Health of Industrial Design at TU Eindhoven: Watch the Clip here! And here is their final project presentation. See! In the same project (obviously another team) dis some user … Continue reading

Posted in Capability Simulation, design project

Legs and Crutches

Vilnius based Designer Mantas Lesauskas comes with a two topic-related objects. The first one is called JIS IRGI STALAS (engl. = “It’s also a table”), in which he seems to draw a parallel between human and artificial disabilities, or rather shows a … Continue reading

Posted in design project

StreetLab – Documentary (4:59 min)

Laboratorial Design Research goes into the Field. In August 2009 we organized the StreetLab* in Berlin Neukölln. Now, the documentary is ready. Watch it! * StreetLab Background: In an experimental and human-centered design approach we seek to understand young people … Continue reading

Posted in co-design, design research

Lennard J. Davis on OCD

Disability Studies theorist Lennard Davis presenting about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Unfortunately the sound quality is a little bit low, but if you turn up your volume, you can learn some interesting thoughts about different disability models (charity modell, medical … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies, movie

Lick the Sun – Beauty and the body modification

Sydney-based digital artist Brian Walker creates scenes that meld illustration and fashion with an element of surprise. Stemming from a passion for illustration to depict his ideas and concepts of surrealist landscapes and characters, Walker uses photography as a tool … Continue reading

Posted in art, body modification, photography

Sign Language Course – 5th lesson report

We learned some more interesting aspects about sign language in our latest class in DGS (German Sign Language). One aspect was the grammatical setUp of subject-object-verb (in difference to german grammatic). That means, a typical sentence would be built like … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, report, visual communication

Seeing with Sound

A computer based camera tracking system, that converts images into sound…

Posted in blind, neuroscience, senses

Synaesthesia (documentary)

Another (german) documentary on synaesthesia. Amongst others, one whoman describes her experiences of being a synaesthetic person. For example, she learns indian language now, supported by her synaesthetic skillz. Or, listening to certain singers (no names!) makes her sick, because … Continue reading

Posted in synaesthesia, visual communication

Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics

Evan Grant demonstrates the science and art of cymatics, a process for making soundwaves visible. Useful not only for complex and beatifull visual patterns, but also for analyzing complex sounds. For example in oceanography, a lexicon of dolphin language is … Continue reading

Posted in cymatics, visual communication

Bionic Vision

Blind woman, who now calls herself the “robo-chick”, has a lot of cables connected to her body and is able to “see” with her brain…

Posted in blind, neuroscience

Synaesthesia – Perception with fused senses

Short documentary in german about Synaesthesia. Looks like a home-maid documentary (bad video quality), but the protagonists gives a couple of good examples to explain his special perception. E.g. waking up in the morning by a flashy yellow (!) sound … Continue reading

Posted in synaesthesia

Plugged In: Hearing, With Help (US documentary)

Us-Documentary oabout hearing implants:

Posted in deaf, implants, neuroscience

Body and mind modifications

[Le therapie de Elodie; Graphic via milkandcookies] This shall only be some kind of visual input to our thoughts on the corelation of “disabilities” and “abilites”, and re-inventing and re-evaluating the body. Both pictures come from the amazing output of the belgium-based … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement, art, photography

How To Cope With Sight Loss

UK documentary about helping devices for blind or visually impaired people: Watch the clip: How To Cope With Sight Loss (14:45 min) via

Posted in augmentative communication, blind

Assistive Vision Technology for the Blind: Recognizing Objects in the Grocery Store

Google Tech Talk about a handheld device to help blind and visually impaired people to locate items in a grocery store: here is the link to the video! <embed id=VideoPlayback src= style=width:400px;height:326px allowFullScreen=true allowScriptAccess=always type=application/x-shockwave-flash> </embed>

Posted in augmentative communication, blind

Sign Language Course – 4th lesson report

We learned some interesting aspects about sign language in our latest class in DGS (German Sign Language). One aspect was the determination of different mimics in different context (e.g. question, doubt, command,…). On the bottom of this post you find … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, visual communication

Disability as a ‘teacher’ to non-disabled society (Interview with Tanya Titchkosky)

“Since each of us is or is going to become disabled if we live long enough, it is vital that notions of disability stay with us.” — Tanya Titchkosky I just listened to this interview with Tany Titchkowsky*. As Disability … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies, interview | Tagged

THINKING AND PROBLEMMAKING (Interview with Paola Antonelli)

Earlier this year i did this interview with Paola Antonelli for the DesignResearchNetwork We talked about the relationship between “making” and “thinking”, and that both these worlds seem to actually grow together especially in design research. We talked about the … Continue reading

Posted in design research, interview | Tagged , ,

Carol Gill on the enlightning influence of disability on non-disabled people

Excerpt of an interview with Carol Gill*: Here is the link to the video! *Carol Gill: Director of Graduate Studies & PhD in Disabilities Center Director, Chicago Center for Disability Research Executive Officer, Society for Disability Studies Office Bio Carol … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies | Tagged

When Need meets technology and graf art

“Eye vandalism” in real elapsed time, using a GRL MBU, two wireless broadband USB sticks, the mytobii eye tracking systems and custom software Zach. Check this out: EYEWRITER Video (from james powderly on Vimeo). Found via CreativeMomentum or this one:

Posted in art


DEFEYES, some call him the world’s fastest sign rapper, does Eminem’s “Loose yourself”, signing to every word and fluently interpreting rap, in this one:

Posted in deaf, music

Tom Shakespeare on arguments

Bioethicist Tom Shakespeare talks about why reason doesn’t tell a good story: Shakespeare underlines that people think in stories, narratives or images, rather than in statistics. Found on newscientist

Posted in neuroscience, research | Tagged

Easee – Concept for a navigation system for the Blind

Students at Hochschule Darmstadt have been devoloping a concept for helping the Blind to navigate: Mit dem Stock über Stein – Ein Navigationssystem für Blinde from Yvonne Lenger on Vimeo.

Posted in blind

Clip by the Disability Rights Commission (UK)

The award-winning ‘Talk’ portrays a society in which non-disabled people are a pitied minority and disabled people lead full and active lives. Jonathan Kerrigan, of BBC’s ‘Casualty’ fame, plays a business executive whose negative preconceptions of disability are dramatically shattered. … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement

Experience Disability to inform interaction design

As we already mentioned, we sometimes use capability simulation in order to think about interaction in terms of disabilty. That means, we try to (make people) experience certain “disabilities” in order to rethink concepts of interaction design. By systematically reducing … Continue reading

Posted in Capability Simulation, Experience Disability, reciprocal learning | Leave a comment

Unvollkommen schön (imperfectly beautifull)

The german newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” published a review on Tobin Siebers’ latest book and on Christian Mürner’s and Udo Sierck’s Book about the “Krüppelzeitung. Here’s the article…

Posted in art, disability studies, Literature, report

Finissage StreetLab (15 September)

[For English see below!] StreetLab Finisage – Eine Ausstellung des Zukunftslabors für mobile Kommunikation Zum allerletzten mal öffnen wir die Pforten unseres StreetLabs für eine große Abschluss Ausstellung. Dort wird es viel zu sehen und zu erleben geben und wir … Continue reading

Posted in co-design, deaf, exhibition, reciprocal learning, social design, visual communication

See no evil, hear no evil!

Nowt wrong with a bit of fun: Haven’t watched this movie for ages, but looking forward to doing so soon. The unforgetable Gene Wilder (playing a deaf guy) and Richard Prior (playing a blind guy) running from mafia and the … Continue reading

Posted in comedy, Film, movie, pop culture


For the 4th time, this june Basel (Switzerland) saw the Cultural Festival “Wildwuchs – Kulturfestival für solche und andere” (which could be loesely translated as “Proliferation – Cultural Festival for such and others”). An interesting festival between Art, Theatre, Media … Continue reading

Posted in art

Webbed Toe Piercing

With interest we recently received a hint on some kind of “trend”, called webbed toe piercing. Some people with who have toes that are fused by soft tissue, do it. Apparently, this area is a very safe spot to pierce … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Sandberg’s “Hairy Children”

Somehow disturbing, but still beautifull: Erik Mark Sandberg sees his illustrations as a counterdraft to glossy picture aesthetics of advertisement and magazines. With the “Hairy Children”, he broaches the issue of uniqueness of ‘abnormal bodies’. The pictures can be seen … Continue reading

Posted in art

No hearing aid for a better concentration

Just saw an interview with a hard of hearing tennis player, who claimed that he sometimes puts away his hearing aid during a match. Exluding noise influence (especially comments by the audience) helps him to deeper concentrate on the sport!

Posted in deaf, reciprocal learning

Sense Parcour (Workshop Review)

In our Sense-Parcour-Workshop (17 august 09), we discussed and experienced the “sense” with kids and teenagers, that actually don’t have visual or accustical impairment. What is it like, when you can suddenly not hear or feel any more? How about … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, design study, education, multimodality, senses, tactile communication, visual communication | Tagged ,

Deaf StreetLab (Review)

Our Workshop with with deaf Teenagers at the StreetLab (13 august 09) was interesting and fun. We had two Sign Language Translators to support us. We talked about specifics and properties of Deaf Life. What are typical problems for Deaf … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, co-design, deaf, design project, reciprocal learning, report, social design, visual communication | Tagged , ,

Lorming – Tactile Signs

[Graphic of the lormhand icluding the touchpoints for the letters. picture/source:] By using their tactile – kinesthetic sense (= through Movement and Touch) blind and deafblind people can train to exchange information with their partners of communication with the … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, deaf, multimodality, tactile communication


Even in Berlin, about 200.000 people are illiterate. Not really as a substitution, but in addition to written language we want to underline the importance of visual communication, symbolic language, alternative/augmentative communication etc. also for the context of illiteracy. One … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, illiteracy, social design, visual communication

Multimodal Communication System

In the framework of our research, we have been doing several workshops with people with different abilities/disabilities (The latest one was with deaf people on august 13, the next one will be with hearing and sighted people on august 25). … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, deaf, multimodality, reciprocal learning, senses, tactile communication, visual communication

Blind Massage

[Foto: T. Bieling] A little bit bored I zapped through the TV today. For a couple of minutes some stupid documentary about massaging got my attention. At least for one aspect: It said, that when giving a massage with covered … Continue reading

Posted in blind, multimodality, senses | Leave a comment

Interview with Graham Pullin

[MITpress] Chris Gondek interviews Graham Pullin, the author of Design Meets Disability. (Besides an interview with Charlie Hailey, author of “Camps”). Listen to the interview!

Posted in Uncategorized

StreetLab Trailer

Yesterday we celebrated the opening of StreetLab. Enjoy the trailer:

Posted in co-design, design project, social design | Tagged

Deaf Music Experience

With his concept for ‘Siento’ (span.: I feel), Design Student Ufuk Yüksel of Fachhochschule Cobur Yüksel convinced the Jury in 2006. We haven’t seen or tested it. And the only information we have, is the german description the design center … Continue reading

Posted in deaf, design project

Sighted Guide

To get a better idea about how blind navigation functions and how blind navigation systems or -interfaces should work, we are also interested in how sighted people people get trained to guide blind people. Certain patterns have been developed through … Continue reading

Posted in blind, education

mobile/audio city guide + tactile map for the blind

Short TV documentary about a project from marburg university. [language: german]

Posted in blind

International Sign Languages and Multi Touch – A playful learning tool

Found this one. Source unknown…

Posted in alternative communication, deaf, design project, design study, education

Navigating blind

Blind Hiker Erik Weihenmeyer tells us about Hiking by Feel, Hiking by Sound and Hiking by Technology:

Posted in blind

Blind learn to see with tongue

Remember the game from the childhood, where you would drew pictures on somebody’s back, who then had to guess what it was? This one here is quite similar…

Posted in neuroscience, Uncategorized

helping tool for blind navigation

Found these two clips about a location based audio-tool…

Posted in blind

Out of norm – products for special needs

In 1978 the vienna based “Institut für soziales Design” developed this construction as a telephone for special needs… [ISD, “Außer der Norm”, aus: wien aktuell, Heft 6, Juni 1978, S. 12, 13]

Posted in design project, design study, social design

Ästhetik der Behinderung: “Psychologie der Hässlichkeit”

We recently found a prior announcement to a lecture course by Prof. Dr. phil., Dipl.-Psych. Dietrich Eggert (Institut für Sonderpädagogik, philosophische Fakultät) at Leibniz University Hannover on the “Psychology of Uglyness”. We haven’t found any further information on content and … Continue reading

Posted in disability aesthetics, disability studies

What is Disability Studies? (and what not!)

Since we are mainly focusing on the correlation, the impact and the relevance of demographic and socio-cultural categories (especially concerning aspects of disability) on form and practice of design (process), as well as its effects on usage and practical use … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, disability studies, german/deutsch

Sign Language Course – 2nd Lesson Report

Almost we forgot to upload Sarah’s report of our second lesson at the sign language course. There it is: We got so far that time, Raoul could tell us a joke at the end of the lesson. It took a … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, report

Deaf StreetLab (13 august)

On thursday, 13th of august, we will do a co-design-workshop with deaf kids at the StreetLab. Together in playfull workshops, we are going to explore the properties of deaf communication. Furthermore we will develop expedient and sensible product- and service … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, co-design, deaf, design project, design study, disability studies, reciprocal learning, research, social design, visual communication

Sharpen your senses! Review of our Co-Design Workshop with Kids from Neukölln(Berlin)

Our yesterday’s kids-workshop on navigation and (mobile) communication by different senses (see post below!) was awesome: We had a full day outdoor workshop with kids between the age of 3 to 12 years. It was difficult to count them, but we guess during … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, co-design, deaf, design project, reciprocal learning, social design, visual communication | Tagged ,

Sharpen your senses – Workshop with Kids

Less than two weeks before we start the StreetLab, we and our colleagues take part at this nice open-air festival in Berlin called PLATZSPIELE, where we provide several workshops with kids (28.7., 30.7., 2.8, 4.8.). On thursday july 30, we … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, Calendar, deaf, design project, reciprocal learning, social design, visual communication

Sign Language Course – 3rd Lesson Report

In our third lesson in Sign Language, we learned some more basic words, we learned how to “mirror” geometrical forms, played “silent post” (”stille Post”) – of course only by signing – which was again pretty fun. We furthermore got … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, report

Dialog in the Dark

After Dortmund on Tuesday (Dialog im Stillen), we went to the “Dialog im Dunkeln” (Dialog in the Dark) exhibition in Hamburg today. Interesting experience and fruitfull discussions – we’ll post some of our impressions here pretty soon.

Posted in blind, exhibition

Unsicht BAR

We are excited to visit the unsicht-Bar (german wordplay between “invisible” and “Bar”) in Berlin tonight, a restaurant where you sit, eat and drink in completely darkness.

Posted in blind

Dialog in Silence

Yesterday we went to Dortmund, to visit the DASA exhibition “Dialog im Stillen” (Dialog in Silence). We will report from that soon! [exhibition flyer; DASA; dialog-im-stillen]

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, education, exhibition, visual communication

Book: Choosing children

We haven’t checked out Jonathan Glovers Book yet. We will soon: Glover, Jonathan Choosing Children: Genes, Disability, and Design Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN (13): 978-0-19-923849-1 ISBN (10): 0199238499 120 pages The publisher describes it as follows: “A philosophy guide … Continue reading

Posted in Literature

A Quote…

 In his talk “Design Barrierefrei” at the Accessible Media 2006 (11 october), tomas caspers stated, that: “Behinderung ist die mangelnde Fähigkeit, mit schlechtem Design umgehen zu können”, which can be loosely translated as: “Disability is the lacking ability to deal with … Continue reading

Posted in quote

Design Apartheid

Tobin Siebers names LeCorbusier’s “Modulor” as an example for a political unconscious architectural theory. Siebers recognizes here a basis of what Rob Imrie (also known as the co-author of the book: “Inclusive Design: Designing and Developing Accessible Environments“) calls the … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, disability aesthetics, disability studies

Disappearing Pictures

The latest SZ Magazin (of Süddeutsche Zeitung) portraits a whoman, that suffers of diabetic retinopathy and therefore is has been becoming blind.  The article hauntingly points out a person’s fear of losing sight. The protagonist in this article describes her wish … Continue reading

Posted in blind

Re-evaluating body and material

[Benetton; Food for Life; Campaign 2003 ] We have been discussing the corelation of “disabilities” and “abilites”, as well as it’s perspectives for practical use, mis-use and re-use of body and material for quite a while now. Well, the picture above, taken from the 2003’s benetton- and world-food-programme … Continue reading

Posted in prosthetics, reciprocal learning

Reinventing the Wheel

[Photo by Juan Carlos Noguera] A social design project on wheelchairs from Guatemala recently caught our attention. Read the whole article on design21…

Posted in design project, social design

Tangible Photography

The korean designers Son Seunghee, Lee Sukyung and Kim Hyunsoo came up with an idea for a camera for samsung, that has been awarded with the 2008 red dot best concept (category: life science). The concept is based on the polaroid … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project

Clackastigmat 6.0

The Berlin based photographer Oliver Möst uses his visual impairment (short-sighted) as an actual visual power and transfers it to a special technique of photography: He reconstructed his AGFA CLACK, by attaching his own eyglass lens (strength: 6 dipotrine), wich … Continue reading

Posted in blind, photography, visual communication

Lip Reading (Commercial for the Foundation for the Deaf)

The agency DDB Nova Zelândia produced this advertisement for a Foundation for the Deaf with a nice and simple animation…:

Posted in advertisement, deaf

Not a Person!

This argentinian print campaign has been sponsored by various companies. It reads: “A person without rights is not a person”. The subtitle can be loosely translated as: “If you are disabled, make your rights count. Get legal advise and denounce”. … Continue reading

Posted in advertisement

Don’t disturb the one who’s working

The Norwegian Association of the Blind aims to make people aware not to disturb guide dogs… [Advertiser: Norwegian Association of the Blind; Agency: Try, Oslo; Copywriter: Oystein Halvorsen; Art Director: Karin Lund]

Posted in advertisement, blind, Film

iPhone as a Hearing Aid?

[picture: soundAMP; AppStore] iPhone’s App Store recently added soundAMP, a hearing aid application available for $9.99. The app basically takes everything that reaches the phone’s microphone, and makes it louder. Manually adjustment and choose from different equalizer settings are possible. It also … Continue reading

Posted in deaf, prosthetics, reciprocal learning

StreetLab features workshops for deaf and blind kids (amongst others).

[StreetLab; Berlin] (German): Neukölln (Berlin) wird vom 10. – 30. August zum Zukunftslabor für mobile Kommunikation – Kinder und Jugendliche gestalten die Zukunft der mobilen Kommunikation gemeinsam mit Design-Forscherinnen und Forschern der Technischen Universität Berlin Ort: Wildenbruchstrasse 88. Im Rahmen der … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, blind, co-design, deaf, design project, education, german/deutsch, research, visual communication

Hearing for all. Solar-powered hearing-aid battery charger.

[by Godisa] Some might know this product from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s DESIGN FOR THE OTHER 90% exhibition. The solar-powered hearing-aid by godisa comes with:   Charge battery with free solar power Fully charged in 2 – 5 hours Recharged … Continue reading

Posted in deaf, design project

Book: Disability/Postmodernity

…well, we do not want to promise too many book reviews…, but anyway: we are looking forward to take a closer look on this one: Disability/Postmodernity Embodying Disability Theory Edited by Mairin Corker and Tom Shakespeare

Posted in disability studies, Literature, research

Disability Aesthetics

In Tobin Siebers’ Paper we mentioned earlier (see also the description of our colloquium’s talk in the dates section) , he gives an introductory definition of Disability Aesthetics: “What I am calling disability aesthetics names a critical concept that seeks … Continue reading

Posted in art, Definitions, disability aesthetics, disability studies, research

disability and virtual reality

As Tom Shakespeare (PEALS, University of Newcastle, UK) mentioned in his talk at Vienna University (9 may 2008), the www offers various opportunities for social integration to bodily or mentlly impaired people. The communication through the internet offers chances of … Continue reading

Posted in design project, design study, disability studies, research, virtual reality

Sign Language Course – 1st lesson report

Since we want to learn more about deaf communication, my colleague Sarah and I attended our first lesson at a basic course in sign language. We will, from now on, report from our experience there: In our first lesson (with our deaf teacher … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, deaf, education, research, team

Deaf Music – Gehörlose Musik (by DIE TÖDLICHE DORIS)

In November 1998, many hearing-impaired people – and an equal amount of those who could hear just fine – made their way to the Prater der Berliner Volksbühne to witness a process as part of a series of events called … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, art, deaf, music, pop culture, visual communication

Berliner Gebärdenbärchen

As a learning- and teaching-tool, the berlin based BGDBB (Berufsverband der Gebärdensprachdozenten Berlin/Brandenburg e.V.) prepared a collection of common and helpfull signs (DGS – Deutsche Gebärdensprache =  German Sign Language) with little Bears as protagonists. A small collection of the … Continue reading

Posted in augmentative communication, education, visual communication

Accessibility – equal rights for everybody

As  a food for thoughts on the general discussion on accessibility, we like to share this poster with you. The poster is part of the latest campaign by AKTION MENSCH (

Posted in Uncategorized

StreetLab – free summer workshops for young kids on communication and design

StreetLab, a summer project of the Design Research Lab,  offers free workshops for and with youg kids and teeanagers from 10th to 28th of august in Neukölln (Berlin). The workshops will contain creative examinations around the topic fields communication, perception, (social) … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, blind, co-design, deaf, design project, design study, education, exhibition, reciprocal learning, research, visual communication

Sound as Sight – Sight as Sound ||| Sound as Vibration – Vibration as Sound

[sound as sight – sight as sound] [sound as vibration – vibration as sound] In the bsd project on designing adaptive environments, the project team base some of their architectural planning thoughts on language and sound communicated at multiple scales.  These scales … Continue reading

Posted in blind, deaf, design study, reciprocal learning, research, visual communication


d-Vision (Israel) comes up with this USB fed Ebook for the blind or visually impaired. As the company claimes, it will “allow scrolling through text and switching between different files stored in it’s memory, as on any flash memory stick.”

Posted in blind, design project

Mediating Deaf Experience

In their project on designing adaptive environments, the Beverley School for the Deaf has collected a series of simple diagrams illustrating the DEAF experience.  These aim to mediate ideas of communication, interaction, education, interface, ethics, etc.  “The first four address … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, deaf, design project, design study, visual communication

Camera outta sight

So far, we have only found articles, that seem to copy the blog-entry on yankodesign aobut this  samsung project for a camera for the blind. So let’s hear, how yanko cites the samsung designer Chueh Lee: “Touch Sight is a revolutionary … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project

Transfering clarity – from deaf communication to spatial realms

[quick/dirty illu + mobile foto: Tom Bieling] The guys from bsd+design have given an interesting thought about clarity on deaf communication, in this short post. “…For example, in a meeting, those with the loudest voices do not automatically dominate the … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, deaf, education, reciprocal learning, research, visual communication

Braille Watch (by David Chavez)

Usually digital clock devices operate with sound to communicate the time, thus inhibiting the user from checking their watch unnoticed. Chavez’s braille watch instead displays a real-time readout in Braille, to be scaned with the fingers to check the time.  more info: dexinger

Posted in blind, design project

The Elephant’s Memory

[Elephant’s Memory – Alphabet] Since we are also interested in altervative and augmentative communication, we still kind of like this KHM project, called The Elephant’s Memory. A pictorial language consisting of more than a hundred and a fifty combinable graphic … Continue reading

Posted in alternative communication, augmentative communication, design study, reciprocal learning, research, visual communication

Redefining what the body can be

[picture: cover of I.D. magazine]   In her recent TED talk, record-breaking Aimee Mullins (paralympic games 1996), who is also known as an actress and model, talks not only about how her high-tech legs are giving her super-powers, but takes … Continue reading

Posted in disability studies, people, prosthetics, reciprocal learning, research

Real-Time Text to help the “Deaf” to speak…

Supported by the initiative Enabling Access of the Internet Society, the Real-Time Text Taskforce (R3TF) is getting started. Refering to the RFC 5194 they are working on a text-over-IP-extension, that enables deaf and hard of hearing people, to experience text communication in real … Continue reading

Posted in deaf

Seeing in the dark.

A blind man shocks researchers with what he sees…. …and Seed Mag wrote an article about it!

Posted in blind, research

Deep brain stimulation – Restoring sight to the blind.

John Pezari brings us the award winning idea of restoring images through brain stimulation: Check this article about it on scienceblog! Or find deeper info in his paper: Pezaris, J. S. & Reid, R. C. (2007). Demonstration of artificial visual … Continue reading

Posted in blind, neuroscience, research

Echolocation – Seeing with sound!

Here’s the first 10 minutes of a documentary called Extraordinary People: The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes. It’s about Ben Underwood, a blind teenager from Sacramento who uses echolocation.  Believe it or not – this documentary called “Extraordinary People” portraits … Continue reading

Posted in blind, neuroscience, research

Blind people are better at finding their way…

…at least, that is what Madelaine Fortin of the Université de Montréal and her colleagues claim: Together with 19 blind participants and 19 sighted controls for their study they have been researching on blind and sighted spatial orientation. Here you … Continue reading

Posted in blind, neuroscience, research

Tank Wheelchair

Thanx to my colleague Fabian i can shut down my computer with a smile now. He just sent me the following pic:

Posted in disability studies

Concept: B-Touch – Mobile Touch Phone for the Blind

  In their design study the conceptioners of the B-Touch claim to develop a feature of a touchscreen display that caters for Braille, thanks to blind touchscreen technology and a combination of voice systems as well as programs to make it fully … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project, design study

Disability Culture

(Picture from Bruce Conner’s video for Devo’s “Mongoloid”) ———————————————————————- “Yes, the doctor told me, boy, you don’t need no pills. Just a handful of nickels, the juke box will cure your ills.” Carl Perkins, disabled rockabilly pioneer ———————————————————————- As in … Continue reading

Posted in art, blind, deaf, disability studies, music, pop culture

Braille Tatoos

Nothing wrong with a bit of fun. That is why we also want to share Klara Jirkova’s (UdK, Berlin) idea of the Braille Tatoos with you. And here is, how Jirkova describes the realization: “implants creating embossed text in braille … Continue reading

Posted in art, blind, design project | Leave a comment

Braille as a concept of multiperspective use, far beyond it’s intention.

Talking about cross-functional concepts, in context of bodily impairment, the Braille system is already a good example: Developed by Louis Braille in 1821, the orginal task was to develop an existing system to enable Napoleon’s soldiers to reliably read documents in the dark without opening … Continue reading

Posted in blind, reciprocal learning, research | Leave a comment

Touch Messenger

Samsung’s “Touch Messenger”, a mobile handset featuring a Braille touch pad, features 12 Braille buttons which enable the user to read and write messages.  The Touch Messenger comes with a 3 x 4 button grid keypad and a lower Braille screen that can be … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project | Leave a comment

“Seeing Shoes” and special glasses.

From Hong Kong Polytechnic University comes a set of shoes and glasses that have an embedded computer, which can locate objects within close range through echo-location followed by a vibrating warning signal that is sent to the one wearing those shoes and glasses. … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project | Leave a comment


 Inventors from Carnegie Mellon have come up wit this glove namede Handtalk, that is intended to convert hand movements into text. The glove senses the movements through the flexor pads which detect dhe different patterns of motion and the way … Continue reading

Posted in deaf, design project, research | Leave a comment


Damian Kozlik (Poland) comes up with “X – watch”, as a universal and integrating L.E.D. timepiece. It can be used by sighted and blind people. The dial is compounded of Leds. The mechanism of the watch (IC board) is placed under … Continue reading

Posted in blind, design project | Leave a comment